No matter how good Sunday is, the next day is always Monday!
It was no different for the early church. And it was no different on the first Pentecost Sunday. Monday was the next day. The Spirit might have been poured out. Three thousand people might have been saved and baptised. But eventually the day of Pentecost came to an end.
So what was the church to do? Was Pentecost now just a memory in the spiritual scrapbook of the early church? Would it become little more than something to reminisce about when the disciples grew older – “do you remember the time when the Holy Spirit came and we all spoke in tongues and three thousand people got saved?”?
Did they try to maintain the experience that they had? Can you maintain the Pentecostal experience? In short, is it possible to keep the fire? And if so, how?
I think it is. And I think Acts 2 tells us how.
Most preaching about the day of Pentecost ends at verse forty-one of Acts 2. This verse records that three thousand people were baptised and added to the church. Seldom do preachers venture into verse forty-two on Pentecost Sunday. (I am as guilty as anyone of this, so please do not hear this as a criticism of fellow preachers).
Often Acts 2.42 is presented as what the church starts doing when the Spirit stops moving.
Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. What happens 2.42-47 is what happened because of the Spirit moving!
So what did they do?
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Firstly, they developed a pattern of life around the Word of God, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer.
If the church wants to keep the fire it must develop a pattern of life centred around those four components. Those four things will ensure that the church is hearing what God is saying, growing in community, Jesus-focused and bringing the rule of God into every -day life through prayer.
Secondly, they devoted themselves to these things.
Devoted themselves translates a word that is used in other places of a servant waiting on his master. It’s how Luke describes the faithfulness of Cornelius’ servants in Acts 10.7.
In other words, this is the language of strong commitment. We might say that they made the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer their priority.
The result? Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles (v.43).
The early church kept the fire. We can too.
And they kept the fire because they developed a pattern of life and devoted themselves to it.
If we will embrace their pattern of life and devote ourselves to it, we too will keep the fire.
Perhaps the Monday after Pentecost isn’t looking so bad after all.