Five Marks of a Spirit-Empowered Disciple

Before Jesus left the planet, He promised His followers that they would become Spirit-empowered disciples pursuing His mission.

When the promised Spirit filled them on the day of Pentecost, He turned ordinary fishermen into extraordinary fishers of men.

Simple Galileans began preaching the Gospel in the languages of the nations. Peter, who had denied Jesus three times preached a powerful message of the Gospel and 3,000 people were added to their numbers.

A movement began.

The next day, and the next, and the one after that, the new believers committed themselves to one another and to God.

Acts 2:41-47 is a record of those first few days and weeks of the movement. These verses reveal some key traits or marks of a Spirit-empowered follower of Jesus.

1. Wholehearted Worship

Then fear came over everyone…

Wholehearted worship is active. Worship is sacrifice. Whether “in the temple complex” (large gatherings) or “from house to house” (smaller, more intimate gatherings), when we are together with other believers, our worship should be filled with energy and praise.

Worship is both ritualistic and relational. A spirit-empowered disciple will dedicate himself to the celebration of communion, to prayers, and to other elements in a consistent way with other believers. On the other hand, worship is also spontaneous and from the heart. There ought to be a holy awe that permeates our corporate worship and our private worship because God’s Spirit is on the move.

2. Radical Obedience

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…

These Spirit-empowered disciples in Acts 2 were committed to “observing all that [Jesus] commanded” (Matthew 28:18-20). As the apostle’s taught the Word to these new believers, they devoted themselves to it. They sought to know it, understand it, apply it, live it, and share it.

A devotion to learning and living that is based on Jesus’ commands is an essential mark of one of  Jesus’ followers.

3. Deep Community

And they devoted themselves…to fellowship

The word “fellowship” has almost as little meaning today as “community” but what these early followers understood was that they were on a mission and they needed each other to fulfill that mission.

A meeting without a mission is boring. And a mission without a meeting is lonely.

Deep community forms, not because it is planned that way but because our koinonia is deepened when believers are on mission together.

4. Captivating Generosity

So they sold their possessions and property…

Nothing is more important to the Spirit-empowered disciple than loving God, loving people, and fulfilling God’s purpose. Possessions and property are evaluated according to their usefulness for the mission. Luxurious lifestyles are traded for simpler lifestyles to free up more resources to care for those in need.

The generosity of a Spirit-empowered disciple is captivating to others. Those early followers had “favor with all the people” primarily because of their selfless compassion and generosity for their brothers and sisters in the faith.

5. Viral Witness

every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.

People can’t help but notice a life that is marked by wholehearted worship, radical obedience to Jesus’ commands, deep community, and captivating generosity. A Spirit-empowered disciple’s witness is validated by his or her actions. Word and deed go together. It’s important not only to live the life but to speak the Truth. The Gospel is a message and followers of Jesus are messengers. That message goes viral when all of the marks of a Spirit-empowered disciple are evident to others.

Defuse any one of these traits and there is a danger of slipping into fake worship, disobedience, counterfeit community, self-centered greed, and a weak witness. Taken together, these qualities are explosive.


Nathan is the pastor of City Life Church in Ridgewood, NY. He and his family are committed to making and multiplying disciples in the most diverse county in the US. Read more about Nathan here. Visit the City Life Church website here.

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