With the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, the world changed forever. Even in the moment, the lives of those that joined the followers of Jesus were made new. These were conversions that altered the lives of those that converted. They devoted themselves not just to God, but to the church. And because the Spirit guided them and they gave themselves to it, the church began to accomplish its purpose.
1) The church is meant to help us grow spiritually.
They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching... to the breaking of bread and to prayer. -Acts 2:42
The Body of Christ is uniquely set up to provide accountability, encouragement, and a forum to worship. Sure, we could praise God by ourselves; but the collection of testimonies and stories in the Body gives us fuel we would not otherwise have. Even the structure of a worship service provides focus. We could pray by ourselves, and should; but the budding church did not miss out on the power of gathering to pray. We at Crossroads have seen the fruit of it, too. Certainly, we can gain insight in our personal Bible study time; but the church provides teachers who are called and trained specifically to study the Word and listen for God in order to preach and teach.
· Has churchgoing become mechanical us? Do we need to re-train our hearts to seek God in our religion?
2) The church is meant to be a family.
They gave to anyone as he had need. -Acts 2:45
God has been more generous with us than we could ever account. He has lavished patience, forgiveness, and acceptance on us, along with innumerable other blessings in our day to day lives. The early Christians displayed that generosity to one another, and we are called to do the same. They saw that their brethren were in need, and stepped up. It doesn't say if they sold their surplus goods, or gave sacrificially. Either way, they gave what they had to take care of their family. Fellowship is not only about the mutual feelings of togetherness, but the community itself. It is a community in which everyone has a share: the Body of Christ. It's the nature of the church to be a family. The Church is meant as a source of strength for us all, and a means for God to deliver His grace to us.
· What are we doing to reach out to our "brothers and sisters" to make them truly like brothers and sisters?
· What needs do you see in your church friends that you could help address? How can you help the church nationwide, or overseas?
3) The church is meant to multiply.
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. -Acts 2:47
Is it any wonder, with a community that loving? With a people that self-sacrificial? The new Christians were defying the status quo not only with their controversial beliefs, but with their uncommon devotion to one another. Miracles surrounded them. They were generous, joyful, and bold. They gained a reputation that drew people in. Note also that even for the early church, worship was not confined to the temple. Praising God flowed naturally into their homes, and their daily lives.
· How are we modeling Jesus and the Church to the world? What impression do we put forth in our daily lives and our worship services?Do we make room for God to meet and move us in our daily routines?