The New Testament abounds with lessons from which we can profit concerning the church of our Lord. One of the very best examples we have concerning New Testament Christianity in action is that of the church in Jerusalem. This is the very first congregation established by our Lord upon earth through the apostles (Acts 2). By studying this infant congregation of the Lord's people, we can learn many principles that should be applied today. Growing our faith together makes us strong.
The church in Jerusalem was a church that was concerned. It was concerned in their efforts to do God's will in all things. That concern was so high, that nothing else really mattered. So great was their concern for apostolic teaching, the scriptures show that they continued “steadfastly in the apostles doctrine” (Acts 2:42). They were concerned for the fellowship with their brethren, and in their worship of God. Verse 42 states that they “continued in fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers.”
They were concerned with meeting the needs of others. When there was a need, many sold their possessions and gave what they had to those in need. But most outstanding of all was when opposition to the gospel came, and persecution was upon those good brethren because of their unwavering faith in Jesus, they did not give up. They did not wallow in self-pity and despair. They were scattered abroad and went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4). They grew in spite of persecution. When they were tested, they withstood the trials. James stated, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:3). The church will grow when we stand and pass the trials of our faith. Our concern for truth and one another will add to our strength.
Lessons are of no value unless they are applied. So, let us notice that the early church grew because they were dedicated to the cause of Christ, and were concerned for the lost. They did not simply offer lip-service, but were doers of that which was good and true (James 1:22). If we simply talk about our Christianity, we deceive ourselves and those around us. We may think that we serve Christ, but in reality, we serve Satan when we do not act (James 1:21-25).
Do we want to be genuine in our Christian? Do we really want the church to grow? Sometimes the way is hard, but we can be encouraged by Paul’s inspired word, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). There will be trials, but there is no other life which offers so many blessings and rich rewards. The Lord expects the church to grow. Concern is the way to make it possible. Be concerned for your own soul and for the souls of all mankind. When we really get concerned -- just watch the church grow.
If any man will serve Christ, the way is clear. You begin by taking up the cross of submission and obedience to Him. Then repent of your sins, confess Jesus as Lord, and then be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38). It is now that you will be added to the church of Christ (Acts 2:47).
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