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MAINTAINING UNITY WITHIN THE BODY OF CHRIST
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42And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord's Supper] and prayers.
43And a sense of awe (reverential fear) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were performed through the apostles (the special messengers).
44And all who believed (who adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus Christ) were united and [together] they had everything in common;
45And they sold their possessions (both their landed property and their movable goods) and distributed the price among all, according as any had need.
46And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose, and in their homes they broke bread [including the Lord's Supper]. They partook of their food with gladness and simplicity and generous hearts,
47Constantly praising God and being in favor and goodwill with all the people; and the Lord kept adding [to their number] daily those who were being saved [from spiritual death].
The church in these early chapters of the Book of Acts, was in it's purest form.
It was founded through the powerful preaching that happened on the Day of Pentecost.. it was Spirit filled, Spirit led and anointed by the Holy Spirit.
It did several things that made it grow, now if we replicate these in our modern church's, then God will bless them.. amen
Let us look at these.
It steadfastly persevered, the church was not easily put off. The disciples would have probably warned these new converts, that there would be a cost in following the Lord.
We need to warn and tell the people who we are sharing the gospel with, that there will be a cost in following the Lord, it means taking up your cross, it means going through persecution. Jesus warns in the parable of the sower, that many will fall away when persecution comes, it is time to stop preaching a soapy gospel and tell people the truth my friends.
Many Christians in today's day and age, say that they can exist without going to church, that church does not matter. The local fellowship is the agent, where christian fellowship can be activated and where it can grow. Believe me, when I first came back to the Lord in 2003, I tried to exist by reading Christian messages on the net, it didn't work.
My dear believing friend, you need to be involved within a church environment. It is where Christian service can happen. Let me share this, although I write on here and am active in doing that, I also am active in my own church and also under a shepherd.. my dear Pastor Mark. It is the place, where I sit under teaching and where I am a full member of the fellowship.
Please get involved in a Bible believing church.. and don't just be a pew warmer.
The principles of finding a good church are outlined in verse 42.
It Must preach the true Gospel.. Jesus Died and rose again and Is seated at the right hand of God.
It Must Practice the Lord's supper and Baptism.
It Must encourage Christian principles such as fellowship, Bible reading and prayer.
In a truly Spirit filled and anointed church, there is a sense of the awesomeness of God.. he alone is the one that is worshipped. Reverential fear is a thing, we need today in the church.. why?
Because if you have this, we are careful not to grieve our Father by sin.. amen. The fear of God, is the beginning of wisdom, it is where wisdom starts. We need a new vision of who God is.. when we have this..then we can progress.. we need to bow the knee at the awesomeness of God.. his glory , his majesty.
Many miracles were done by the apostles, but they were done in the environment of there being a deep fear of the Lord upon the whole church. They saw the power of God in action day after day and this fact, made them shudder with wonder. When we see the power of God in action.. what is our reaction?
Please note, that out of the awe and worship of God, came the miracles. Not the other way round, so often, we want to see miracles, before worship. Out of all our worship, flows everything including our service etc. When we are in awe at the power of God, like the early church were, God will show himself in miracle working power.
Church is difficult..when I look at my church.. different people from different backgrounds.. but with one thing in common.. saved by the precious blood of the Lamb.. amen
Unity within the body of Christ, is so powerful. That is why the devil spends so much time seeking to destroy the unity of the church, that is why it is crucial to keep unity in the bond of peace. It is essential, if God is ever going to work in your church, that unity is kept. It says earlier in the Chapter, that there were Jews from all over, hearing this sermon, but they were so together, no wonder the Lord worked in glorious power.. the church was living in Unity.
Maybe God can't work in your church, because it is not living in Unity. Unity in Christ = Blessing By GOD.
Unity in the early church, was not just about being together in person. It had it's practical outflow and so it must be for us. Many times in scripture and you know the places, we are told to help our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Indeed if we see, a brother or sister in need and send him/her away, with a nice prayer, we are in sin.
When was the last time, you helped one of your brothers and sisters in Christ?. If I/you, have the resources to help someone in your church, who needs help and you don't give it, then sin lies at my /your door my friend.
The Lord takes this very seriously, indeed if you look further on in Acts to Chapter 4:32-Chapter 5:11. If the Lord looks on it seriously, then I think, we should also .. amen
Two things here strike me:
Firstly, they loved being together worshipping God and sharing with each other, it was a source of amazing joy. They could hardly wait to praise and worship God. I wonder do we have the same attitude? Is Sunday fellowship or bible study or whatever you attend, a time you looked forward to with anticipation and joy?
Secondly, there was no pride within the church. They ate their food with simplicity, there was no one lording it over anyone else. There was no one saying.. look at me. They had real humility and care for one another. Do we in our church, have the same attitude?
By continually praising God, the church were only obeying the word of God as it states in Psalm 34:1. A church that is continually praising God, will have no time for backbiting, strife and gossip.. because praise to God, will be a never ending stream of blessing.
If your church, is in strife, is backbiting each other and full of strife.. God is saying to you today, that it is time to repent and stop doing these things and to start praising Him.. amen.
Praise pleases God.. he will give your church favour..in two ways.
Firstly with Man. Do you wonder why many church's have problems with secular agencies over many issues, maybe if they had a praising attitude, then the world would sit up and take notice. The world will take notice of the church, when the church stops complaining, about what it hasn't got and starts to be what it should be.. one body that praises God.. whatever the circumstances.. amen
Secondly with Himself. He will bless and increase your church and add to the church. He will expand your territory and grow your ministry.
Finally, you may think, that is this, cant and won't happen in today's world. You can't produce a formula for church growth.. but you can put strong principles in place.
There are many books out .. the Purpose Driven Church etc.. and these are good up to a point.. I am not knocking them.. but they need to be subject to the Only book that matters and that is the WORD OF GOD - THE BIBLE.
We can do all things and still we need the Holy Spirit.. to move in Power. Because it is God and Him alone that brings about revival through His sovereign Will.. but we can help by giving Him the opportunity to work in us.. amen.
I have only scratched the surface in this study and I would encourage you to delve into this passage in more detail.
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