By: Heather Abenti, Communications and Immersion Groups
Acts 2 was an exciting time. The church was growing. The Holy Spirit came down to be the Helper Jesus had promised (John 14:26, 16:7). The people were quite literally on fire for God (Acts 2:3-4)! People were repenting and being baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39).
You might think that with all this excitement, all this repenting and baptizing, that the leaders would sit back and be satisfied in the exponential growth of their church. That the leaders could take a break or kick it into auto-pilot since clearly just preaching to the people was enough to grow the numbers of the church.
But you would be wrong.
The leaders of the church in Acts 2 didn’t sit back and congratulate themselves on their big numbers. They didn’t tell everyone that as long as they came to a Sunday service, it was enough. They didn’t boast about making a list of the fastest growing or largest churches. They understood that the conversion and baptism experience was only the BEGINNING of the faith journey and not the end.
Before we go any further, we need to define a few words that are important to understanding the Acts 2 journey.
Salvation: the process of repenting, believing in Jesus, and becoming more like Him until we are perfected in Heaven. This happens in three distinct stages.
Justification: the moment of salvation where we have repented of our sins and been forgiven and justified before God.
Sanctification: the process of becoming more like Christ while we are here on Earth.
Glorification: the moment that we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus in Heaven and stand before Him in our glorified heavenly bodies.
A pastor friend once told me that if justification and baptism were the only goal, we would all die and be taken straight to Heaven in glorification at that moment. But we don’t. We are left here even after our justification. Why? Because salvation is not just a one-time justification. And it isn’t just glorification in Heaven. It is also sanctification.
Let me say that word again – sanctification. This is the work of salvation about which Paul wrote to the Philippians (Philippians 2:12). And the leaders of the church in Acts 2 had a plan for how people would work out their salvation – regularly meeting in small groups!
Acts 2:42-47 tells us that believers met together in two places: the temple courts (church) and homes (small groups). And in these small groups it wasn’t just a mini version of church. They ate together, they prayed, and they did life together (called “fellowship” in the Bible).
At Watermark, we call these small groups “Immersion Groups.” And beginning Sunday 8/28 you will have the opportunity to sign up to be part of an Immersion Group. Options include groups for men, groups for women, open groups, groups that go deeper into the sermon topics, groups that focus on accountability, groups that study a specific curriculum, groups that are open for families, groups that are just for adults, and even a group for students (A shout-out to all the Tsunami students!).
After service on Sunday, we will have Immersion Group Leaders and Volunteer Crew Leaders available so that you can sign up to be part of a small group or volunteer team. Take the plunge and dive deeper!