Acts Two Congregation
©May 2, 2010 Asher Intrater
We just finished a conference for Ahavat Yeshua, our congregation in Jerusalem.
We spent the weekend at kibbutz Nachsholim to strengthen our relationships
and reaffirm our vision for an Acts Two community. Let’s look at some
aspects of that first congregation.
- Jerusalem - They met in Jerusalem.
The first will be last. The re-establishment of a Messianic community in
Jerusalem is part of God’s purposes in these end times as we approach Yeshua’s
return to Jerusalem. While the principles of Acts Two are applicable everywhere
in the world, the location of Jerusalem does have strategic biblical importance
(Matthew 23:37-39, Isaiah 2:1-4, Joel 2:32).
- Holy Spirit – The congregation
started with the group experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
This event marked a turning point in God’s dealing with mankind. From before creation, God’s intent was
to dwell in a group of human beings by His Spirit. God’s dream had
its initial fulfillment at that moment.
- Power Experience – They not only
received the Holy Spirit, they were also baptized in fire. They spoke in
tongues and began to preach, praise, and prophesy. There could be no congregation
without that experience. Although they appeared somewhat “strange” to those around them, they obeyed
Yeshua’s instructions to receive power from on high.
- Pentecost (Shavuot) – While true
believers can receive the Holy Spirit at any time, this first outpouring
happened in a certain setting. The holy day of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks)
was the “appointed time.”
We celebrate the biblical feasts as an opportunity for a breakthrough in
revival, evangelism, and teaching prophecy.
- Balance on Jewish Tradition – How much Jewish tradition
to be included in our congregations is a hotly debated subject among Messianic
Jews. People tend toward polemic reactions, totally for or against. But the
biblical New Covenant view is one of balance. The early apostles lived within
the culture of our people, yet were not submitted to all rabbinic laws (Acts
4:19, 15:10, 21:20; Romans 11:28).
- Bold Evangelism – Shimon (Peter)
and the other disciples did not hesitate to preach about Yeshua’s crucifixion and resurrection.
There is spiritual opposition to proclaiming Yeshua’s name here in
Israel, but He will always be the center of our message: "Yeshua
of Nazareth (2:22), this Yeshua whom you crucified (2:36), in the name of
- World Vision – The early disciples saw their message as
the beginning of world evangelism (Acts 1:8) and their experience
with the Holy Spirit as the beginning of world revival to be fulfilled in
the end times (Acts 2:17). We share that vision and hope
that the Messianic community in Israel can be a spark of revival and an encouragement
to evangelism for believers in every nation.
- Hebrew Language – The apostles addressed their people
as one of their own (Acts 2:14, 22, 29). They spoke to them
in Hebrew (Acts 6:1, 21:40, 22:2, 26:14). Our worship, teaching
and community activities are conducted in Hebrew. The Hebrew language, like
the State of Israel, died almost 2,000 years ago and has come back to life.
The restoration of Hebrew is parallel to the resurrection of Yeshua. The
gospel is received much more readily here in Hebrew. The use of native language
and the training of young leaders represent a transition from a colonial
mission to apostolic breakthrough in any nation.
- Local Core and Immigrants – Israel is a nation of immigrants.
Most believers in Israel today are still immigrants. Yet that is beginning
to change. The Acts Two congregation started with a core of 120 local disciples.
To them were added a new group of 3,000, who were mostly immigrants: "devout
men from every nation under heaven" - Acts 2:5. In their community,
the majority were immigrants, while the local disciples represented the core
- Community Life – The early disciples
shared their lives in complete partnership. They saw everything, both material
and spiritual, as a common possession. They did not “attend an assembly,” but rather “participated
in a community.” Their relationships went beyond the meetings. They
saw one another as family (John 19:26-27, Mark 3:33-35).
- Covenantal Relationships – To reach that level of shared
living, the early disciples lived by principles of covenant, loyalty, and
integrity. They knew how to build trust, communicate with one another, confront
sin in love, submit to authority, and commit themselves to long-term relationships.
- Large and Small Meetings – There is much discussion today
about whether to meet in large meetings or small meetings. The early believers
did both (Acts 1:15; 2:1, 41, 46). The larger meetings had
a dynamic power expression, and the smaller meetings allowed for intimate
relationships and accountability.
- Supernatural Giving – The early disciples gave money radically,
even selling their possessions. The first stage was to help fellow members
stay out of debt. The second stage was to promote a world vision as directed
by the apostles. They literally "laid the money at the apostles'
feet" - Acts 4:35, 37, 5:2. This supernatural generosity demonstrated
provision, not for their lust and comfort, but for the kingdom of God.
- Apostolic leadership – The early communities
of faith were led not only by pastors, but by all of the 5-fold ministry:
apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Acts 1:11;
2:42; 4:36; 5:18, 29; 8:14; 11:1; 13:1; 14:14; 15:6; 15:32; 16:4; 20:28;
21:8; 21:9; Ephesians 4:11). The variety of these leadership offices
allowed for multi-dimensional growth in the kingdom of God.
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