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The Normal Church

In the book of Acts we read about the growth and spread of the early Christian church, driven by the power of the Holy Spirit. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit:” (Acts 2:4; NKJV). We could call the early church the “normal” church and nothing in scripture indicates that the church today should be any different. What did this church, as described in Acts, look like? (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35; 5:12-16; 9:10, 13,14). It was characterized by a great unity; everyone was in one accord. Wealth and belongings were shared such that everyone’s needs were met. It was a loving, caring community or fellowship. The word for fellowship used here is the Greek word, koinonia. This describes an intimate, spiritual communion between Christians and between Christians and God. Time spent studying the Apostles’ doctrine, which we find in our Bible, was a priority, as was prayer, praise and Holy Communion. In the early days of the church the apostles were the primary ones sharing the gospel and this was accompanied by signs, wonders and miracles and literally thousands of new converts were added to the church. As the church grew and spread many new local churches were established by apostles such as Peter and Paul and these apostles provided oversight, guidance, mentorship and encouragement. Small teams of elders were appointed to oversee, shepherd or pastor and care for each new local church (Titus 1:5). When we think of the growth of the early church above it is truly exciting to realize that we as Christians are part of that same normal church today! “For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Mal 3:6a).

The Fullness of God

John 1:16; (AMPC) “For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received (all had a share and we were all supplied with) one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favour upon favour and gift (heaped) upon gift” Wow! It doesn’t get any better than that does it? The Greek word for “fullness” is pleroma which means complete and full to the brim, filled to capacity.
Paul prays for the Ephesians in chapter 3:19 that they would be filled with the fullness of God. What is this fullness? The Amplified Bible expands on this verse saying it is, “the richest measure of the divine presence.” I believe the “fullness of God” would include all the attributes of God, which would include His love, mercy, peace, joy, goodness, forgiveness, power, ability and the list could go on and on. This lines up with 2 Peter 1:4, “we are partakers of His divine nature.” It is almost too much to fathom!
In Ephesians 1:23 Paul again talks about God’s fullness, “And the church is His body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with Himself” (NLT). (See also Col 2:9; and Col 1:19). The fullness of God dwells in Jesus as we see from these verses and it is not only intended for us as individuals but also for the church body as a whole. The fullness of God is made available to us through our relationship with Jesus. Meditate on His fullness today, receive it by faith and enjoy the blessings.

The Power of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit was present and involved when God created the earth (Gen 1:1-2). The prophet Zechariah told God’s people who were re-building the temple that they would not achieve it in their own strength “but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts” (Zech 4:6b; NKJV). In the New Testament we read, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20; NLT). In Acts 1:8 Jesus told the disciples that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit; this infilling with the Spirit is described in Acts 2:4 and is available to us today (Acts 13:52). The Holy Spirit empowers us to walk in, “all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 1:3; NKJV). That same Holy Spirit will reveal God’s word to us and guide and direct us (John 14:26; Rom 8:14).
So often we can devise our own plans and try to carry them out in our own strength only to wind up frustrated when things don’t succeed. While Jesus was on trial before the chief priests, elders and council, the apostle Peter sat in the high priest’s courtyard and denied he knew Jesus 3 times (Matt 26:69-75). However, after he was filled with the Holy Spirit, he preached a powerful sermon about Jesus and salvation (Acts 2: 14-40). Wow, what an amazing transition. Do you get the picture? Let’s humble ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to change, guide, empower and use us, the results will be supernatural!


There are 2 kinds of patience mentioned in the Bible; one of them is in relation to people and one in relation to situations. Colossians 3:12 tells us to “clothe ourselves” by wearing various attributes, one of which is “patience (which is tireless and longsuffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper) (Col 3:12b; AMPC). This is obviously referring to people and the Greek word used here is makrothumia and it means being patient with those people who try us and offend us, being longsuffering and slow to get angry. This word is used for patience in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. (See also Heb 6:12, 1 Cor 13:4, Eph 4:2, Col 1:11, 2 Tim 3:10, 4:2 and 1 Thess 5:14.) Lord, help us to exercise this kind of patience with our families and friends.
The Greek word used for patience in dealing with adverse situations is hupomone which means not caving in when in trying circumstances. An example is found in James 1:2-3, “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (NKJV).
It is interesting that patience goes hand in hand with faith; when we don’t get the answer to our prayers immediately, we need to wait patiently, in faith until the answer comes. It is patience that holds our faith steady. “So that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb 6:12; ESV).


It is clear from the Bible that God’s word is truth (John 17:17b) and life (John 6:63b). In John 8:13b-32 (NKJV) we are told that “If you abide in My word you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:13b-32; NKJV). “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36; NKJV). What are we freed from? Jesus freed us from satan’s plans for us by defeating him and stripping him of all power and authority (Col 2:15). Satan’s plan has always been to cut off God’s blessings from our lives, to destroy and to kill (John 10:10a) but Jesus came to give us a fulfilled and abundantly blessed life both now and forever (John 10:10b).
If God’s word makes us free we need to make it the very foundation of our lives, just like the wise man who built his house on a solid foundation of rock (Matt 7:24). His house withstood all the storms that came against it (v 25). We need to get onto God’s word, make it a priority and get addicted to it because it has the power to change us (Heb 4:12). We cannot grow and be all God wants us to be if we stay focused on the world around us, we need to renew our minds with God’s word (Rom 12:2; Eph 5:26). God’s word is infallible, the answer to all the issues and challenges of life (Titus 1:2) and will never change. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Mark 13:31; NKLJV). We need to line up our lives with the word alone, then we can live a power-packed radical Christian life for Him!