They were 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 (Acts 2:47, NASB1995).
I would love to be a part of a church that praises God in all circumstances, that has such a powerful witness in the community that those outside the church become so desirous of the life lived by followers of Jesus that…
they just show up!
Michael Green, from Oxford and Cambridge (think superior intellect), wrote a book in the early 1970s entitled Evangelism in the Early Church.
I know, I’m quoting a scholastic book written almost 50 years ago in Interruptions today. But Green’s research on the early church is still relevant today, in fact more so, because…
We all want to be a part of a church to which the Lord can add numbers daily!
Green gives three distinctives of the early church:
First, there was personal transformation in their character as the Holy Spirit was welcomed into their lives.
Second, the church had qualities unparalleled in the ancient world. Nowhere else would you find slaves and masters, Jews and Gentiles, or rich and poor, engaging in table fellowship and showing real love for one another.
Third, the capacity of Christians to face criticism, hatred, persecution, and death with joy had tremendous impact!
Living in the Spirit… transformation… integration… racial equality… generosity between rich and poor… and joyful suffering.
The early church excelled in all of this, while most of our churches today don’t. And the Lord doesn’t add to our numbers daily.
We might give the excuse that things are different today. We could think that the growing irrelevance of the church in our culture exists because of the unified attacks against Christians by the forces of evil.
Michael Green comments…
We sometimes think that relativism and pluralism are peculiar to our time. We feel it politically correct to adopt them. Not so the early Christians. They lived in a world more relativist and far more pluralist than our own. And yet they would not make any compromise on this issue.
The early church made no compromise with the world of its day – and grew quickly. The church today compromises and recedes.
The early Christians would only acknowledge one divine Lord. They demanded repentance and faith in response to a proclamation of the gospel. They were very bold about it and there was not a trace of compromise in their preaching. They looked for nothing less than total surrender to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The church today could become like the early church; the formula is still the same…
Living in the Spirit… transformation… integration… racial equality… generosity between rich and poor… joyful suffering… and total surrender.
Then the Lord will add to our numbers daily – right now!