Jesus Christ was the most incredible man in history and the first movement of the Christian church has to start with him. Jesus was a man of impact, drawing crowds wherever he went. As the promised seed he walked with a plan which he declared was written in the book of Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised,
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. [Luke 4:18-19]
The gospels are full of his fulfillment of this mission. He healed many, including noblemen and peasants, the lame and a man born blind. He raised people from the dead. He turned water into wine, calmed the sea, and walked on water. Jesus taught the coming of the Kingdom of God. He taught like no one before him. He taught people how to pray, live, and how to love both God and man.
According to John, with all the marvelous things in them, the gospels are incredible but they are just a small part of what Jesus accomplished on earth:
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that should be written. [John 21:25]
Jesus fulfilled the Law by being the perfect sacrificial lamb. He was severely tortured, died, and on the third day rose again.
Then Jesus walked on the earth in his resurrected body, ascended into heaven, charging the disciples to wait for the promise of the Father
That promise of the father appeared on the day of Pentecost where the Holy Spirit began pouring out to the believers. The outpouring of the spirit marks the beginning of the Christian church and is a primary focus of the first church.
So, the first Christian movement started with Jesus and then transitioned into the Christian church as seen in the book of Acts.
The Book of Acts shows that a key component was the receiving and manifesting of the holy spirit. It not only marks the beginning at Pentecost but was crucial to the working of the church. Right after Pentecost Peter and John are in the temple area and the lame man is healed, i.e. the power of the spirit was seen.
In fact, the holy spirit was the guide in all things. Look at this progression of records through the Book of Acts and pay attention to the mention of the spirit:
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders, [Act 4:8]
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness. [Act 4:31]
But he(Stephen), being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, [Act 7:55]
who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit [Act 8:15]
And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing. [Act 8:39]
So the church throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, being edified; and, walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, was multiplied. [Act 9:31]
And while Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. [Act 10:19]
And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be a great famine over all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius. [Act 11:28]
And as they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. [Act 13:2]
So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. [Act 13:4]
But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fastened his eyes on him, [Act 13:9]
And the disciples were filled with joy with the Holy Spirit. [Act 13:52]
For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: [Act 15:28]
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden of the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; [Act 16:6]
and when they were come over against Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia; and the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not; [Act 16:7]
and he said unto them, Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed? And they said unto him, Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given. [Act 19:2]
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. [Act 19:6 ]
Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood. [Act 20:28]
And having found the disciples, we tarried there seven days: and these said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not set foot in Jerusalem. [Act 21:4]
In these records we see that the holy spirit was given as a matter of practice, not just to the Apostles, but to the believers. The spirit guided meetings. The spirit comforted and guided the whole body of Christ. The spirit emboldened and empowered people. The spirit communicated directly to people, and through prophets, those with the office to speak for God.
The work, ministry, and leading of the holy spirit was at the core of the first Christian movement and it was what Jesus made available by dying for our sins and going to the Father on our behalf.
The time of Jesus and the original Apostles as written in the New Testament accounts are the standard for the church for all time. All other times and movements come under the scrutiny of this standard.
© copyright 2010 Mark W Smith, All rights reserved.