I have been reading through Acts over the past week.
Acts is the accounts of the apostles. It is written historical documentation of actual events that took place during the time that the early church began. As I've been reading through Acts what I've found are actions, thought patterns, mindsets, lifestyles, that if we truly lived them out today, we would be considered radical extremists. How sad that we find that, we the church no longer live even close to the standard that was set by those who were trusted to START THE CHURCH. Jesus called Peter the rock on which He would build the church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). Many of the things I will talk about involve Peter. So what does this tell me?
Jesus called Peter to be the rock on which the church would be started. Acts documents what was done by this early church. A + B = ? To me it equals that we the church now should be modeled off of the Acts church. I'm not talking about we the church as in 4 walls with a roof. I'm talking about me as an individual and along with other Christians should be living in this "radical" way of living. It's scary to me to think that if we stepped out and began to live as they lived in Acts, the church of today would probably cast us out. Let's take a journey through the Word.
We'll start with one specific passage.
38Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39“For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
First we see Peter with an extreme boldness to witness and speak the truth of Jesus Christ. How long has it been since you've used extreme boldness? The truth is Peter didn't know what persecution was about to come from what he was saying. He wasn't inside a church building. Peter proclaimed without hesitation the truth of Jesus Christ.
Next we see direct result... "added about three thousand souls" ... How long has it been that your boldness led to people being saved. I'm not talking about getting someone to sit in a church pew. I'm talking about a radical boldness that proclaimed Jesus Christ and led to salvations? The Holy Spirit does His work, He is the convictor of the hearts of men, but we have to open our mouths and speak the truth for them to hear and be convicted!
I could go on about verse 42, but I'll allow you to read that and examine your own life as I must do as well, but I will say it sounds like the early church found it important to be TOGETHER and hear the Word TOGETHER and to pray TOGETHER.
Verse 43. Why were they feeling a sense of Awe??? The apostles were led by and full of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit led them to do the same things that Jesus did as He walked on the earth. These mere men were simply believers and God used them to heal the sick, cast out demons, perform signs and wonders, lead people to the cross of Christ, and begin a RADICAL movement of showing the world who God is.
Verse 45. I'm sure you're thinking oh please don't go there!!! But that's right. The early church talked about money. ouch. They discussed who had need and they gave unselfishly of themselves to make sure that everyone's needs were met. This was not just the leaders, it wasn't just the followers, it wasn't just the apostles, and it wasn't just the pew setters. I hardly see this at all in our body today. Those who have need are to ashamed to admit it and those who have abundance are too selfish to share it.
46 & 47. The body was in unity. There wasn't strife and division or argument and tension and debate didn't split them apart. They were in unity with love for each other and Jesus Christ. And we see the result in verse 47. They praised God, they had favor, and many began to be saved.
Verse 47 is true because verses 38-46 took place. I know that Christians want to see salvations, but unfortunately they want to see them without the discomfort or sacrifice in verses 38-46. We've lost our boldness, we choose not to use our authority that Christ gave, and we don't live sacrificing self.
I write this because as I read Acts I am more convinced than ever of changes that need to take place in my own life so that I can be the contributor to the body of Christ that I am called to be. My prayer is that a few of you will share my thoughts.
The plan was for this to only be one blog, but we're only one passage in and there's so much more to go. Keep checking back.