Thursday, December 18, 2008

From The Book of Acts

I'm currently reading through the Book of Acts. It is an exciting time in the history of Christianity. Christianity is in its infancy and isn't even called by that name...yet. Early believers simply referred to themselves as followers of The Way or disciples of Jesus. The church today looks to the Book of Acts to learn about church growth. Several different church planting organizations use the word "Acts" as a part of their name.

One of the things that stood out as I was reading was found at the end of the second chapter.

The Fellowship of the Believers
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.
(emphasis added)

Why do we miss this part? It's not like this is a new teaching or a new way. If we really want to see the church grow today like it did 2000 years ago, why not follow the model?

1) Devote ourselves to the apostles' teaching.
Today we have the written word to study along with countless commentaries and studies.
2) Devote ourselves to fellowship; to the breaking of bread.
Hang out with each other. Support one another. Take care of each other. Eat together.
3) Pray.
Pray together. Pray alone. Pray a lot.

This passage goes on to say that they met in public. They met in their homes. They ate together with glad and sincere hearts. They praised God and they enjoyed the favor of all the people! When was the last time that the church of today could say that it enjoyed the favor of all the people? When was the last time your local church could say that it enjoyed the favor of all the people? Why not make it more personal? Do you, as a believer, enjoy the favor of all the people?

I know. I know. Even Jesus had enemies or at least, those that didn't like him. And we'll have people that don't like us, too. Jesus even said so. But let's not give them a reason by being hateful, hurtful and judgmental. There is a real attraction to wanting to be around people that are joyful and enjoying life. If we are not causing people to want what we have, maybe we don't feel that it is worth having or worth sharing. Maybe we are not all that happy about our salvation.

...enjoying the favor of all the people.
It was just one of those lines that jumped out at me. Thought I'd share.



Sicilian said...

John . . . it took me many years to realize that the #1 thing Jesus did when he was here on earth was to break bread with people. He sat and ate with people, and imparted wisdom.
Once I figured it out. . . . and realizing that I was not an evangelist. . . . I knew that my calling is feeding people. I never looked at it as a ministry or an outreach, however I am convinced that FOOD and the act of entertaining is a spiritual gift.

Mike said...

"Even Jesus had enemies"

That's an understatement.

Claudia said...

You and Sicilian are both right. I expect to use material from Acts in a paper I have to write tonight about Holy Communion. Eating is such a major theme in Christianity, but it's so basic, really to everyone, and especially the people of those times. Their whole lives revolved around finding or growing food and transporting water from wells to their homes.