Thursday, January 25, 2007

For the next few days, let's take a look at the key ingredients to the success and growth of the early church. I believe that we will see there, key ingredients that will work for us too. Let me know what you think, I value your comments. Jim

Acts 2:42-47 "42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

What an incredible passage! The truth is, it's hard not to look at a passage like this and get a touch jealous. Can anyone else relate to those feelings? It's not that you didn't want the early church to experience these things. It's just, well, you yourself want to experience it too! I mean, look at verse 43. "Everyone was filled with awe, and many wondrous and miraculous signs were done by the apostles." Or how about verse 47? "Praising God and enjoying the favor of all people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Now this is good stuff! Sadly, it's something that the church as a whole today, only experiences through the pages of the Bible. We don't get the privilege of walking in those shoes. I suppose there are many out there that believe this was just simply unique to the early church. While there may be some validity to that, I believe that the uniqueness is not the result of God reserving it for that specific time and place. Rather, the uniqueness is there because of a unique price being paid, a price far too few Christians today are willing to pay.

Do you understand what I am saying here? What I am saying is exactly this; these things happened largely because the early church had a strong devotion in 4 basic areas.
1. "They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching." Simply put, they were devoted to the learning and application of the Word of God. Now, for the early church, this meant that they needed to meet together on a daily basis; "every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts." At that point in Church history, the main way to receive the Word of God was from His chosen servants. In this case, that meant listening to the words of the apostles. These folks had a great hunger for God's Word. As a result, a vital part of their schedules was devoted to heading to the temple courts to listen to the apostles. You and I are far more fortunate. Our daily devotion to His Word takes no more effort than to sit down in our favorite chair, open up the Bible and read the very Word of God. You absolutely will not have the success God wants you to have in the Christian life, if you aren't willing to devote yourself to the reading and application of His Word, and simply listening to the servants of God a couple times a week is not enough. It is absolutely imperative that we have as an important, even the most important, part of our schedule, time in God's Word. According to Acts 2:46, the early church did it daily – I can't think of a single reason why we shouldn't follow their pattern.

I need to be honest with you for a moment, the times in my life where I struggle the most with sin, are those times when I have neglected this important area in my life. When you think about it, doesn't that make sense? Often times the Word of God is compared to bread and bread basically represents food. In your physical life if you don't eat on a daily basis, you become weak and vulnerable. Things that you could normally do with ease are very difficult, if not impossible to do. Why? Because we need food to sustain us! It gives us strength and energy. The same is true of our spiritual life. It is our regular times in God's Word that gives us spiritual strength and energy. As a result, our spiritual life is marked more by victories than it is by defeat. Do you want to have a victorious spiritual life? Devote yourself daily to the Word of God.

Hungering for more,

Jim

1 comment:

Darla said...

Keep up the good work.

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