by Charmain Hibberd
Marketing Assistant (Writer), CBN Europe
The Early Church
There is a passage of scripture that I just can’t seem to get away from lately.
Do you know the feeling?
You read something and it stays with you, irritating your subconscious and demanding that you consider it over and over again.
The passage in question is talking about ‘A Generous and Growing Church’, found in Acts:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.
Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:42-47 CSB)
I think that the reason the passage haunted me was because I felt there was something lacking in my own walk with Jesus. It didn’t look like what I was reading in Acts, especially around the word ‘devoted’.
Twice the word ‘devoted’ is used in this particular translation of this scripture.
The word ‘devote’ means this:
‘To give all or most of one’s time or resources to a person or activity.’
It got me thinking…
If this is the way the early church operated, and the wonderful result was that they held all things in common, gave generously to each other as needed and the Lord added to their number daily, devotion needs to be carefully considered.
They Will Know Us
People must have been so drawn to the way of life that the early disciples displayed that they could not help but want to know more. I can imagine that their love for one another proved to the world that they were Jesus’ disciples, just as John 13:35 encourages us.
I imagine that people were drawn to that kind of love.
I can’t speak for everyone but my devotion to Jesus can be so fractured at times. Distracted prayer time, neglected communion and half-focussed attention on my leader’s teaching can at times better describe my kind of ‘devotion’ to God. And then I wonder why I am not bearing fruit in my witness to those in my life and sphere of influence who do not yet know Jesus!
I can’t speak for everyone but my devotion to Jesus can be so fractured at times. Distracted prayer time, neglected communion and half-focussed attention to my leader’s teaching can at times better describe my kind of ‘devotion’ to God.
My prayer for the church is that we will be a people so devoted to Jesus and to each other that the world is drawn to salvation.
I pray that we will love one another as the early church did in the book of Acts, devoting ourselves to our leaders’ teaching, to meeting together, to communion and to prayer. From this place of devotion may we become mature disciples of Jesus, not so that we can lord our maturity over others, but so that we will be humble and level-headed enough to know how to prioritise devotion.
Let’s be the church that God had in mind when He called us His Bride – spotless, without wrinkle or blemish. Holy and without fault.