Communities of Transformation
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46-47)
Strangers who become Family
This freshly birthed church was unusual in that most of them had just gathered from across the Roman world and had just given their lives to Christ. Most of these new believers would have hardly have known each other, yet they gave themselves wholeheartedly to God, the apostles teaching and to each other. This level of faith and commitment attracted a powerful and clearly manifested blessing of God. These believers grew together rapidly developing in their identity in Christ and living out their new life. There is so much we can learn from this first church of the New Testament.
Real love and generosity
Whilst ‘sharing all things in common’ (Acts 2:44) was unique to the Jerusalem church and does not appear to be copied by other churches in the New Testament, it reflects the real love and honour with which they held each other. Church was never meant to be just a Sunday service, it’s a family of believers working out their salvation together in relationships that love and inspire each other to grow more and more Christ like. Our relationships are a direct reflection of our love for God. As we move into this new season in God together let’s ask the Holy Spirit, how can I specifically love others, how I can I be generous, how I can build others up, how I can promote unity in His body.
Big and Small
Many in the body of Christ only value the small group setting, others only value large corporate settings neglecting more intimate relationships. The Jerusalem church clearly valued both. Their large gatherings together in the temple courts enabled people to worship powerfully together and directly hear the apostles teach. They also broke down into small groups meeting in homes and ministering to and encouraging each other. We believe both are a vital part of church life. As we move ahead together we’d encourage everyone to be fully committed to our corporate times on Sunday and to growing in relationship in a Life Group or ministry group.
Signs and Wonders
Initially it was the apostles who moved in signs and wonders (Acts 2:43), however in this empowering church, it didn’t take long before others saw the same signs following them. Stephen became full of faith and, ‘did great wonders and signs among the people.’(Acts 6:8) Philip went to Samaria, ‘And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.’ (Acts 8:6) This was clearly a church that had developed a go for it mindset, equipping and releasing and encouraging each other to develop their ministry and calling.
Transforming a City and Region
The Jerusalem church always reached out and ministered the good news to those outside. They were never an introverted group, growing spiritually but ignoring the outside community. So significant was there influence that even their enemies said, ‘you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine.’ The whole city felt the impact of their life and testimony. So powerful was the impact that people poured in from the surrounding cities receiving healing. (Acts 5:16) They went on to impact a whole region sharing the good news across a whole region this time through the ‘normal’ believers who had learnt to confidently minister and share their faith. (Acts 8:4) In all the tremendous input we’ve all had here at CCC, let’s always keep asking the Holy Spirit to lead us to minister to those who haven’t tasted any of the goodness of His Kingdom that we have so abundantly received.
Let’s move ahead afresh in commitment to our loving Father but also in fresh commitment to each other.
With our love and prayers
Pastors Phil and Caroline.