The Early Church

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 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, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved—Acts 2:42-47

This is a rather long piece of Scripture for a brief devotional thought, but it is a beautiful picture of what the early church was doing and what it was committed to. The beginning of this section mentions what people call the “Big 4” of the church. These are the 4 things that should be central to any church: (1) the apostles’ teaching, (2) fellowship, (3) breaking of bread, and (4) prayer. These were central to the early church and its mission. Also, in the verses following a picture of unity, love and care is seen among the early church. They genuinely cared for the people that God placed in their lives. They were selling their possessions and helping those in need. They did not even think twice about seeing someone in need and helping them. The section then closes with mention of their sincere hearts and praising God. People were watching these early believers, watching their lifestyle and desired to meet this Jesus that was changing lives; God added to their number daily those being saved.

We live in a very different world than the early church, but the “Big 4”,— the unity, the love, and the care—remains unchanged. We are to be devoted to the same actions as the early church. Committed to God’s Word, committed to fellowship with His people, committed to Communion, committed to prayer, and committed to unity, love, and care for believers, and unbelievers. At Faith, we want to provide an environment where people can learn about God but also develop a desire to be a follower of Christ.  And then out of that flows love and a desire to reach those who don’t know Christ. What would Faith look like and what would our community look like, if we took these passions of the early church and made them the central focus of our lives today? What priorities would change? Who can you help? What do you need to change to make these important in your life?

The Vine and Branches

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him; he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5
In John 15, Jesus is in the middle of one final moment of instruction to His disciples. In a couple chapters, Jesus will be betrayed and turned over to the Jewish leaders. He will then be sentenced to death on the cross. But before all that takes place, Jesus is encouraging and challenging the disciples. Jesus will die, rise again, and go back to heaven and the disciples will carry on the mission of spreading the Gospel.

In this section, Jesus tells His disciples to remain or some translations say abide in Him. He uses the picture of a vine and branches. If a branch is cut off from the vine, it dies and does not produce any fruit. However, Jesus is telling them to remain in Him and see all that God will do through them.

It is now 2017. I cannot think of a better resolution than to remain in Christ. Seek to keep Christ as the most important relationship in your life. We need to remain connected to our source of life. If we fail to stay connected we lose track of all the great promises of God. Believers often ask “what does God want for my life?”  The simple answer is in this passage- remain in Christ. Draw near to Him, deepen your relationship and then see what God will bring into your life. In Matthew 6, Jesus says “seek first His Kingdom and his righteousness”. When we are properly seeking and remaining in Christ, then we will see all the good things Christ has for us.