01/21/16 ~ Midweek Meditation - The Corporate Witness
"And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." (Acts 2:42-47 ESV)
Have you ever been awed by something? The Grand Canyon, the sunrise or sunset, the look on a husband’s face when he sees his bride for the first time, a baby’s birth, a whale breaching the water? All these things are awesome – though some may be more awesome than others. In Pastor Joe’s sermon on Sunday he pointed out that when the believers in the early church (all 3,120 of them) devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer something pretty spectacular happened. Their church was so amazing that everyone around was in awe of it. What was it about the early church described in Acts 2 that was so breathtaking?
Community is a pretty incredible thing: a group of people working together for the betterment of a whole society, seeing past differences for the purpose of achieving a higher good, getting past short-comings in others, and acting as one unit in overcoming problems. The thing is that community wasn’t new. Rome was the super power at this time because of their ability to assimilate other cultures and implement some sort of unity among them. The difference was the intensity of their unity, and the great lengths that they went to on behalf of each other. People were selling their possessions and giving the proceeds to those who were in need, eating together, and attending the temple together on a daily basis. And through this awe-some unity the Spirit of God was at work adding daily to their number.
What does this description of the Acts 2 church have to do with us today? How can we apply this depiction of organic Christian living to our own lives? Can we find the time or the energy to meet with people from the church every day to eat and study the apostles teaching? Can we commit to holding each other accountable (a part of fellowship), and praying diligently for each other? Can we commit to work together to supply the needs of others in our congregation? The short answer is “yes” – but the truth is that it’s not easy. We have busy lives, working, raising children, feeding families, walking dogs, and doing household chores and about a quarter-million other things. Here is another issue, if one person starts and others don’t show the same commitment, that individual will grow tired and burn out. We all have to commit at the same time in order to actually make a difference in each other’s lives. Not to mention that people’s lives are messy and require a lot of attention.
Here is my challenge to us as a body: let’s commit together to make time to meet frequently with others in this church, let’s give sacrificially of ourselves and our resources for the needs of others, and let’s commit to studying together the teaching of the Apostles found in scripture. We all have a role to play in this masterpiece that God is creating called the Church; let’s play our part together and pray that God would cause “awe to fall on every soul.” Let’s move together, and affect the world together.
"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV)