I get a fire lit on the inside of me whenever I read about the early church, in the Book of Acts. They were small at first, but they made such an impact. Everyone was excited, active and involved. They saw life with Jesus as an ADVENTURE instead of just an accessory in their lives. They were hungry to know Jesus on a personal level and to be used by Him. That’s why the early church grew by leaps and bounds. People could literally FEEL the Spirit of God on the lives of the early Christians.
Another thing about the early church is that they really didn’t care too much about what other people thought about them. All they cared about was what other people thought about Jesus.
So, the Believers in the early church would openly and boldly talk about their new life in Jesus and that’s what created a hunger and a thirst in those who heard them.
Form what I read in my Bible, there was a sense of caring, deep caring about other people. The early Christians CARED that people who were lost in life would remain miserable and unhappy without Jesus. And, that following the pain of a life of being lost on earth comes the pain of being lost in eternity.
You can’t read the Book of Acts without being touched by the Holy Spirit’s dynamic Presence in the lives of an enthusiastic and lively people.
Think about their outreach. There were more than 3,000 converts on the Day of Pentecost alone! 3,000 converts – people who gave their lives to Jesus Christ!
Was it a BIG church that won the 3,000 converts? No. It was a SMALL one. One with the only 120 in attendance. It was a small church, a church of only 120 people who did something simple. THEY OBEYED GOD! That’s all!
We have so many books available on the kinds of programs that a church needs if it’s going to grow. Seminars are held here in the Washington are several times a year, to teach churches how to grow. Hundreds of “Church Growth Consultants” sell their services to churches who want to grow.
There are marketing wizards and demographics experts who guarantee fast results if you buy into their plan and market your church to the proper segment of your targeted audience. You can even hire experts to just give you “ideas” on how to make your church alive and vibrant.
How many of these things did the early church have? None! They did a couple of simple things.
First of all, they each fell madly and totally in love with Jesus Christ. They lived to please Him. They committed themselves to do anything that He asked.
Jesus was the number 1 driving force in each of their lives. That’s why they were out there boldly speaking His words and winning people to their Savior. They simply told people about Him like He told them to do!
You know, that’s something that the modern church seems to have forgotten all about. We have books about sharing our faith and training seminars, but we can’t do it with techniques and training. It has to come from the heart. And, the only way to get witnessing for Jesus to come from the heart. And, the only way to get witnessing for Jesus to come from the heart is to first get that heart full to the top and overflowing with the Spirit of Jesus!
In fact, not only are most Believers absolute foreigners to witnessing about Jesus, but most churches don’t even hold evangelistic services anymore! From what I understand, the Worship Center is one of the few churches that gears it’s message to winning people to Jesus…and then gives them the opportunity to come to Him right there during the service!
No, instead of concentrating on winning people to Jesus, the modern church has settled for stirring up people to vote a particular way, or to join different political and social interest groups.
One day, I was approached by a representative of a candidate for U.S. Congress. He wanted me to lift up the candidate’s name in the church. To “educate” our people to vote for this man. He assured me that the candidate believed in the same things that I believe in. (How this total stranger knew what I believe in is still a mystery to me.) I told him frankly that there is only name that I am authorized to lift up, he was somewhat taken aback, and not sure how to respond.
I don’t blame him. What he was asking for is absolutely normal and common in the modern church that has drifted from its first love. What the world needs isn’t a bunch of different names in the government. What the world needs is the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ!
We need to give the world what it needs, not what it wants. People want to feel good. Jesus can help people to BE good…and THAT’S the best route to feeling good!
Another trait of the early church that we’ve allowed to slip through our fingers is dynamic worship. They worshipped from the heart. They were sensitive to the Holy Spirit. They WANTED to be used by Him. They WANTED to yield to Him. They WANTED to hear from Him. And they did!
They studied the Word constantly, searching the Scriptures and increasing their knowledge of God. On the other hand, most of us don’t read more than a couple of chapters in the Bible from week to week. No wonder we’re missing the target!
They had a sense of urgency in prayer that just wouldn’t quit. When they were faced with decisions and difficulties, they KNEW that they could go to prayer and things would change – that answers from Heaven would come!
Their singing was hearty and zealous and their praise was unrestrained. Even when problems came, the early Christians released strength, power and deliverance by singing to God! Singing even brought angelic visitations!
There was a LOVE among the early Believers that drew them closer than family. They cared for each other, gave to each other and were available to each other. When one Believer had a problem, the others responded according to their abilities. They put away divisions and accepted each other even as Jesus accepted them!
The early church was in agreement; they were all in one accord. They knew what they were about and they knew where they were going. They knew what their job was and they committed themselves to doing it…no matter what the cost or sacrifice! What a difference there is between these dynamic Believers and the half-hearted sluggish and pampered 20th Century “Christian.”
They could wholeheartedly pray the prayer of agreement, and receive mighty answers and outpourings from Heaven. And that’s why they grew.
They had FAVOR with all the people, the Bible says. They weren’t at odds with the rest of the world – they LOVED everybody! And, the Word says that they were well loved in return! The Bible says that the public noticed the church’s rapid and steady growth…and wanted to get in on it!
I believe that God is calling the Worship Center to study and to seek Him to become more like the early church in the New Testament. The only way we can do that is for each of us to become more like the early Believers.