The Christian life is exciting, engaging, encouraging and extreme. It’s not dull, lazy, routine, or boring. Christ wants your life to be way better than average, He wants it to be an adventure. The early church understood this and they passionately followed Jesus' teachings and, in turn, lived a better life. Acts 2:42-47 reveals what this better life looks like:
“42They (believers) devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising 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 NIV
What did Jesus' followers do that enabled them to live a better life? Here are four traits.
1. They engaged with other Christians at church (vs 42). The church played a central part of everyone’s life in the early church. They spent time together, learned together, ate together, and prayed together. In general, today people’s lives primarily revolve around three things: their home, their career, and a third place they spend their time. For many people, that third place is a bar, sports events, the shopping mall, a friend's garage, or church. We want Freshwater to be the third place that people revolve their lives around just like it was in the early church. Why? Because Freshwater is full of life. Good friends are made here, ministry is done here, prayer takes place here, and positive values are taught here. We want to be like the early church because the early church was a light in Jerusalem and we want to be a light in our region.
2. They witnessed God move among them (vs 43). What happened when the people lived Jesus' commands? What happened when people prayed together and ate together and hung out together? God moved among them. I can hardly explain the feeling I get when I witness God move among people and the best part is that he moves here often. What does it look like when God moves? Well for starters, people get healed both physically and emotionally. It is a miraculous and fulfilling thing to witness Him move.
3. They were generous with everything (vs 44). Christians should be generous because of God’s generosity to us. One of the most talked about subjects in the new testament is generosity and the opposite- greed. When we are generous it unlocks the grip that money can have on our hearts. A lot of people have no problem giving their heart to Jesus but they have a big problem giving him their finances. The Christians in the early church were generous with everything they had and it was attractive to the world around them.
To this day, it’s Christians who care for the poor and destitute around the world. Christians run the Salvation Army. Christians organize Operation Christmas Child. Christians deliver hope through Compassion International. Christians adopt needy children through World Vision and feed them through organizations like Feed My Starving Children. Christians are the light of the world and generosity makes that light burn bright. People who are not generous are not fueling the light nor are they very spiritually mature. Imagine how brightly the light of Christ would burn if everyone was generous with everything they had just like the early church. It would change the world. God wants Freshwater to be a generous church because God wants Freshwater to be a bright light in this community.
4. They watched God’s movement grow (vs 47). The church in Jerusalem was several thousand people strong but it didn’t just keep getting bigger and bigger. What happened was it got wider and wider. As the word of God spread more and more, churches sprang up in the communities where people lived.
Freshwater is a place where you can engage your faith through serving, sharing, and caring. It’s a safe place where you can be you. It’s also a place where the light of hope and peace burns brightly. Let’s build better lives by building them on Jesus Christ and encouraging others to do the same. Let’s be like the early church. Let’s engage with our faith. Let’s witness God move. Let’s be generous with everything. Let’s watch God’s movement grow in our region. Let’s make a difference right now and raise the spiritual climate of our community.