Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Impact of the Early Church - Possible for Today

By generous estimates, there are almost 2 billion people in the world today who claim to be Christians of some sort. What amazes me is that it all began with a small group of 120 people in Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago. As we read about this initial group of believers in Acts chapter 1, by comparison we can say that today’s church has more money, education, and resources. While they were able to turn the world upside down for Jesus Christ, the church in America today is facing a steady decline.

How did this group overturn the entire world? What did they do that we could also do to reach our world for Jesus today?

From Acts 1:1-18, there are four observations about this early church group that led to them having the impact on the world that they had. These four things are all available to us today.

1)    They had a faith that produced obedience. (Acts 1:4) Jesus told them to go to Jerusalem and wait. Jerusalem was the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus, and it would have been the last place the disciples would have wanted to go. Jesus commanded them to go there, and without question, they obeyed. Christ has commanded all of us to share the Good News of salvation with everyone. How obedient are we to His commands?
2)      They had a passion that produced unity. (Acts 1:14) “These all with one mind were devoting themselves to prayer” The unifying key that they wrapped their minds around was "The Kingdom." The Kingdom was the one thing that Jesus talked about for 40 days (Acts 1:3). The Kingdom of God is the church that is being established around the world – and it is something that we must be unified in seeing built.
3)      They had a desperation that produced prayer. (Acts 1:9-11) The text says that they returned to Jerusalem and prayed. In verse 14 they were continually devoting themselves to prayer. Vance Havner said it years ago: "The great tragedy of our day is that the situation is desperate but the saints are not." We must return to praying for God’s kingdom to come to our lost friends.
4)      They had the spirit that produced power. (Acts 1:8) The disciples would not leave Jerusalem until they were sure they had the help that Christ promised them. We also have the power of the Holy Spirit, and we must yield to His power in our lives daily. How often do you pray for the Holy Spirit to empower you to do God’s will?

My prayer is that we can see God use us to bring His Kingdom to our neighbors here in Harrodsburg.

May God grow us, and may he grow His kingdom through us!

- Bro. Dave 

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