“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:41-47
Today many Americans are concerned about the condition of our nation. Our people are out of work and our deficit is the largest in history! Politicians in each party continue to put forth plans and ideas that will turn our nation back around. Some ideas may help us, and some will certainly harm us. As a nation we have tried to STIMULATE our economy by infusing it with money we don’t have … and it has failed!
The problems we face are not just fiscal problems, they are SPIRITUAL ones! The financial calamities are just a byproduct. We can continue in our attempt to stimulate our economy and fail, but why not stimulate the spiritual lives of our people and let God bless us again?
In the Book of Acts, the disciples of Christ faced tragic times. Their Lord had ascended to Heaven in chapter 1, and the church was still in its infancy. God had done a great work on the day of Pentecost, but you will notice that the disciples did not sit idle and let God do ALL the work! They did what every good servant does; they became busy serving. They engaged themselves into the ministry and God blessed them greatly! In fact, the more they invested themselves the more God blessed.
We can see in verse 41 that those that “… gladly received his word were baptized”. They were eager to identify themselves with Christ and testify that God had indeed made them new creatures. They continued in doctrine, fellowship, and prayer (v42). And they also continued “daily with one accord in the temple” (v43). It is not difficult to recognize that they were investing their lives in the service of Christ, and “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved”.
This pattern repeats itself throughout the Bible and throughout history. Whenever we invest in the spiritual things, God blesses. We’ll find that blessing when we’re on our knees longer and when our attention is focused more in God’s Word. We’ll benefit greatly when we win more souls to Christ, walk closer to Christ, and live our lives bringing him honor and glory. THIS IS THE STIMULUS PACKAGE THAT WILL ALWAYS WORK!
Where will we see the results of a spiritual stimulus package?
IN OUR LIVES
We must never forget one of the most important principles found in the Bible; the principle of sowing and reaping.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:7-9
God’s Word is very clear about this principle. If we sow corruptible seeds we reap the corruptible fruit. But if we sow spiritual seed, we reap spiritual fruit. God has promised us that “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not”. This principle is repeated over and over in the Bible … and it is illustrated over and over in the lives of people. When David sowed spiritual things, he reaped spiritual fruit. But when he sowed to his flesh, he didn’t like the fruit it produced!
I’ve discovered that when I stimulate the spiritual things in my life, my life is much better. I am closer to my Lord, have more joy, and my service is much more effective.
IN OUR CHURCHES
In the Book of Acts, we see what God wants to do through the local church which has stimulated the right things. Even though they faced stiff opposition to the Gospel, they were steadfast in their service and even advanced their efforts!
The disciples were commanded in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”. Within weeks, the church at Jerusalem would number several thousand people who had been saved, baptized, and serving. 3,000 souls were saved on the day of Pentecost and 5,000 more received Christ in chapter 4:4. These were not people who simply said a prayer and lived life as though nothing special had happened. They fell in love with Christ and shared their faith with everyone they could! They fervently fed on the spiritual and it showed. It wasn’t long before the gospel had travel throughout the city. Soon it would spread throughout Judea and Samaria. When heavy persecution came and the believers were scattered, they shared the Good News wherever they went, even as far away as Antioch!
Souls were saved and more churches were started because these new born believers became engaged in their new life for Christ! This is God’s method. The new church that was established at Antioch became the place Paul’s missionary journeys start and end. But this church would have never been started if the disciples in Jerusalem had not sowed spiritual things.
Too often we try to energize our churches with a new promotion or program. A new ministry will not jump start our churches, but stimulating the spiritual things we’ve neglected will! I’m afraid that many of our churches have duplicated the characteristic of the Church at Ephesus in Revelation 2, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love”. They were busy, but they had neglected the most important side of the ministry, the spiritual side.
IN OUR NATION
When God’s people are spiritual, our nation cannot help but to benefit from it!
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
God said he would heal the land, but only if certain conditions were met. None of those conditions included any new government policy. Nor did it include any new financial strategy. They only included God’s people doing what they should have been doing all along! America needs a stimulus package … a stimulus of SPIRITUAL THINGS!