Examples of the Kingdom#2 -- The first congregation
|Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 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, 47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts2:41-47 )|
The key to growth and mission is thus to figure out ways for our society to participate in a process of acceptance. It is for us to take time to look into ways in which a skeptical, highly individualized society can participate in the act of taking and receiving what is offered in the gospel. How do we find favourable reception in a society that is somewhat disappointed in leadership and skeptical that Jesus is the answer to all their woes?
I am sure that the 1st generation Christians had equally as many dilemmas about accepting Christ's message as we do today. The difference is that the early church were hungry and when they were fed, they understood and accepted, but today we have a generation of people who satisfy their hunger by either living in a virtual world or by satisfying themselves with material things to feed their emptiness. Control of self has become all important. Little time or energy is given to what others, let alone Jesus thinks. What if we begun to show how to have more than a narrow self-controlled world and embrace a broader and more encompassing Godly world?
What would happen if we LISTENED to why people are rejecting or ignoring the message of Christ? And why there is such a need for self-control today? And what would happen if we comforted those who are itching and hungry more seriously and spoke of the way in which God's is far greater than the present trend of self-control?
We also have to ask ourselves : Are we willing to listen to the rejecters, or are we simply happy to stay in our own happy environment and only preach to the converted? Are we willing to sacrifice more time for those who are in need, that they indeed are comforted and wish to take on the power and gifting that acceptance brings. And for those who are presently receiving the gifting that comes with acceptance of Christ, let us delight and enjoy it forever and of course share the enjoyment with all whom God puts before us.
Pat Baxter, Ministry Secretary, Seeking to Serve You as best I can
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