And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
If we are going to rekindle the movement that was once called Christianity, we too are going to have to learn how to love. It's not enough to simply say we are Christians. The Christian life is a life of evidence. When we examine the evidence in our world, we eventually understand the reality and nature of God. And when we surrender our lives to Christ, there is to be evidence that we are now children of God. The "fruit" of a transformed life is a love that the wordozenesn't understand; a love that few of us have ever truly lived; a love that was evident in the lives of the earliest believers. Tertullian (a church scholar who lived in North Africa c.160-225AD) had this to say about the way that the early Christians were described by non-believers:
"But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. 'See', they say, 'how they love one another', for they themselves are animated by mutual hatred. 'See', they say about us, 'how they are ready even to die for one another', for they themselves would sooner kill."Over and over again, the scriptures describe the early Christians as people who gave a significant portion of their wealth and time to the cause of the needy. This desire to love others enough to care for them with our time, our talent and our money is simply an expression of our love for God. We know that we cannot say we are Christ followers if we are not concerned with the plight of those who are in need:
1 John 3:16-17We too want to be able to use our resources to bless those who are less fortunate. For this reason, we are hesitant to spend our money on buildings or on staff. We understand that a movement of God can easily become an institution of man, and we are careful to dedicate our money to the care of the needy and to sharing the truth. We recognize that the earliest Christians were able to spend 100% of their contributions on the cause of those in need, and we too want to be able to give with this kind of unbounded love.
But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
We need to look for those in our community who are in need. We need to be sensitive to their situation and refuse to walk or drive past them any longer. Serving the needy needs to become an integral part of our lives and our faith. We know that we will be known by our love for one another and for those who are in need. For this reason, serving the needy is something we plan for, make time for and integrate into the fabric of our lives and the nature of our relationship with God.
Please visit us at www.PleaseConvinceMe.com