(Click on link to access audio blog)
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
As time goes by and most things change, it is wise for us to realize that some things must not change. New technology and improved methods of production do not necessitate a change of purpose in most cases. Automobiles are certainly produced differently today than they were 75 years ago, but the basic purpose of the automobile has stayed the same. There may be more comfort and convenience in them today, but they still provide simple, basic transportation from point A to point B.
The same must be true in the church. Society has changed, and methods of ministry have certainly changed, but the primary purpose for church must not change. REAL church exists to glorify God by reproducing disciple-making disciples. The church is the Body of Christ, chosen and called out from the world to be people of God’s possession who are zealous for doing the good work of the Gospel. The fundamental activities of church people should be the same as when the church was established.
Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Our Scripture passage for today tells us the four things that are foundational to the REAL church:
1. A devotion to the teaching of God’s Word
2. A devotion to the fellowship of God’s people
3. A devotion to the cross of Jesus Christ
4. A devotion to prayer
Notice first of all that “they devoted themselves” to these things. Who were “they”? The context begins during the Jewish feast of Pentecost. The 125 faithful believers in the resurrected Christ were together in a prayer meeting. The Holy Spirit came upon them in fulfillment of Jesus’ promise, and Peter began to preach. As a result of his sermon, 3,000 people were saved, baptized, and added to the fellowship of the first REAL church. A total of 3,125 people now devoted themselves to the foundational principles of the church.
Notice that they devoted themselves. They were not asked to sign a document that stated their specific doctrinal position on any topic nor were they forced to obey a set of rules and regulations to conform their behavior. They simply responded to the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives to produce the character of Christ in them and they devoted themselves to the things that produce that character.
My friends, in response to an ever-changing world system, the church has been tempted to change its foundational principles to seemingly add more security. For some reason we feel safer surrounded by more rules and stricter control, but that is a deception of Satan to keep us from a walk of faith. Everything about the new church in Acts was about faith in Christ, and everything built on the foundation of faith will stand. There is nothing we can add to the four fundamentals of Acts 2:42 that will make the church more productive or more holy.
In the devotion to God’s Word comes an honest surrender to its teachings, producing holiness of lifestyle. In devotion to the fellowship of God’s people comes accountability for spiritual growth and production. In devotion to the breaking of bread comes a constant reminder of the death of Jesus Christ for our sins, which produces the humble spirit of unity. In devotion to prayer comes surrender to the authority of Jesus Christ over the church and a serving spirit of accomplishing His purpose.
Every aspect of church life is covered in these four fundamentals of the REAL church. Twenty-five years ago our church chose to make these four fundamentals our CORE values.
Committed to truth
One in the Spirit
Rejoicing in redemption
Energized by prayer
But for core values to work, we must devote ourselves to them. We must not be satisfied to just be able to state them, but rather we must live them. Let’s evaluate our lives today in light of these four principles, and set a course of devotion to them, so we can truly have REAL church.