by Meg@bluffparkbaptist.org | Thursday, March 30, 2017
Our last two sermons came from Acts chapter two and addressed the two most important questions a person will ever ask: How can I be saved? and after we are saved, How should I live? An interesting phrase occurred twice in that chapter. It is stated that they “added to their number”. It seems that the phenomenon we now call the “church” grew at a very rapid rate. That is amazing for several reasons.
First, they had no facilities for a church; they had no sanctuary, classrooms, play area for kids, or family life centers. They had nothing except the Gospel. Also, they didn’t have proven ways to grow a church. No one had done any studies to see what people were looking for in a church or how to make their experience more pleasing. I get mail almost daily from some form of “church growth consultants” who, for a fee, will be happy to instruct us in the ways to grow our church. Imagine how many more people could have been reached in Jerusalem if they knew what they were doing (that’s sarcasm).
They had no worship style to attract people. For the life of me I cannot imagine anyone leaving the teachings of the apostles thinking “I didn’t like the music” or “the service just didn’t move me”. They didn’t go to be edified, they went to learn and to fellowship with other believers.
Now, it wasn’t long before they had some “human nature” problems within the body of believers. My daddy taught me a very important truth: “With growth comes conflict”. It happened then and it happens today. In the 6th chapter of Acts there was some complaining about favoritism. The believers gathered, handled the problem in a Godly manner and the Gospel continued to result in new believers.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating us selling all or goods and moving into a commune so we can have all things in common. I know we can’t meet on a daily basis and all eat together (though that does sound appealing). We live in a different culture. In the first century world there were no 9 to 5 office jobs, no 24-hour grocery stores and factories, and no daily entertainment (TV shows, movies, professional and college sports).
Family time was different because no one had to pick children up at school and get then to gymnastic practice or ball practice or band activities. Children’s activities weren’t the center of family time. There certainly didn’t have the modes of transportation that allowed for week-end getaways and quick trips out of town.
But, we DO have all those things now and our task is to minister in the culture around us. How? By strengthening our own relationship with the Lord, preaching and teaching the Gospel where ever we are, loving and caring for each other, and exercising our spiritual gifts within the church.
Will we struggle with worship styles? I’m afraid so. Will we have to make our sanctuary appealing to guests? Yes we will. Will we miss folks in our worship and fellowship times because of vacations and extra-curricular school activities? Absolutely. So let’s just raise Jesus up in our lives and in our church, preach Him crucified and raised from the dead, and then do the best we can in those other areas. I've got a feeling that the same Holy Spirit that moved in that day and time can, and will, move in this culture, too.
Say good things about your Savior and about His church here.