By Jessica Paganini, KidsStuff Worship Coordinator @MBCLoudoun
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” ~ Acts 2:42-47
Acts 2:42-47 is a wonderful example of a thriving, Christian community. Notice how the believers are described – “devoted to the disciples teaching…to fellowship…to breaking of bread…to prayer…[they] had everything in common…selling their possessions to give to anyone as he had need…every day [meeting] together.” Verse 46 says they had “glad and sincere hearts.” Verse 47 talks about the way they were received by other people – the believers “enjoyed the favor of all the people.” Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this group? One of the many beautiful things about these believers is that, though they were clearly a unique group – they weren’t exclusive. They had “abnormal” ways of spending their time, but it only attracted others. Notice the result of this group: verse 47 says that the “Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Isn’t that the ultimate goal of our walk with Christ? Yes, that was a unique period in history when the church was designed to grow, but what would happen if we, as a church, adopted their example? You may think that it would be great, but you’re just one person and can’t change the direction of the church at large. Before you conclude that this task is too difficult, look at Hebrews 10:22-25.
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” ~ Hebrews 10:22-25
In verses 22 and 23, there are personal challenges between you and the Lord – draw near to Him, and hold onto your hope. After spending time with the Lord, verses 24 and 25 tell us how we should interact with others: to spur one another on, to meet together, and to encourage. As you look through these “let us” verses, ask God to change your heart first and then ask Him how you can reach out to others. What would your life look like if you applied Hebrews 10:22 and 23? Notice the connection of having a heart sold out to Jesus, and how that effects the church as a whole. Do you have a “glad and sincere heart” when you arrive at church? When you come to church on Sunday, remember the early church’s example and the result, and then remember what the Lord wants us, as individuals, to do as stated in Hebrews. Ask the Lord to add to the numbers of those who are being saved. Ask Him to use YOU to be the one to encourage and spur others on, and “all the more as you see the day approaching.”
What would the family of MBC Loudoun look like if we endeavored to live these two passages of scripture in our midst? Each one of use would be built up in the Lord, we would be thriving, and the world around us would be attracted to what is happening. And then those very same people would be our guests.