I love it when I feel like I’m living life like I am supposed to. I know I can deceive myself and that’s the problem with self-directed lifestyle. We naturally lean into what we want to do. We think that our will must be God’s will. In the words of the popular 70s song, “how can it be wrong when it feels so right.” But when I am doing what God has commanded, I know I’m doing His will.
When you serve in your local church, fulfilling both your purpose and God’s purpose, you are living a double purpose. So, from the early church (Acts 2:41-47) we can discover 5 purposes of our life lived through the church.
“…they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41)
According to the book of Acts, the Jerusalem church grew by 3,000 the first week, 5,000 the next week, a multitude the following week, and multitudes the 4th week. Even conservatively, this means that the group of 120 in the Upper Room numbered 18,120 in one month. That is a growth rate of 15,100% in one month.
This passage emphasizes the value of corporate evangelism – in mass. It was at the conclusion of a sermon that 3,000 were saved. Yet, we also find that people came to Christ daily. Reaching the unsaved is a command to the Christians as individuals and the church as a community. You and your church can partner together to reach people for Jesus.
“and they continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
As the church grew bigger, it grew deeper. People were taught doctrine. They were presented with eternal Biblical truths.
We live in an information age. More Bible study tools are available on your cell phone than most pastors and seminary professors had in previous generations. Yet, many believers today are Biblically illiterate.
A recent Gallup Poll revealed that while Americans revere the Bible, they don’t read it. Fewer than ½ can name all four gospels. 60% can’t name 5 of the 10 Commandments. 82% believe “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse. 12% believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.
It takes personal commitment to grow in your Christian life. It takes humility, hunger, a desire to be more like Jesus and less like the world. It takes someone who is dissatisfied with life they way you’re living. I still say, “Jesus deserves better Christianity that I’m giving Him today.”
“…and all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” (Acts 2:44-45
These new Christians took what they had and leveraged it to help others. Several sold all they had so they could distribute it to those who needed it.
How this plays in today’s world may be difficult. But it begins with the realization that what I have (money, possessions, time, experiences, talent, abilities) were given to me. I need to be grateful and use what was given to me to help others. Service is not just helping in the nursery or giving to missions. Service is the act of using what I have for others.
Five minutes after you die you will realize that most of the things you spent your time, energy, passions, and money in was a waste of time. They were fun while they lasted, but they didn’t last that long. But what you did for Jesus and used what you had for His kingdom and His church, will go on forever. It’s been said, “You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.”
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” (Acts 2:46)
Every day these Christians interacted with each other. Every society fights Christians getting together but these believers made it a priority.
We live in a different world. Life is busy. Please consider meeting with other Christians to encourage them and receive encouragement. Maybe you can’t do it every day. But find a group to share fellowship. You cannot have a balanced Christian life if you are not faithfully investing in the lives of other Christians.
“Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47)
I wonder why praise and worship came last in the long list of what Luke’s records about the early church. Could it be that when the church was reaching out in evangelism, reaching deep in discipleship, reaching a hand in service, and a heart in fellowship that they could then, and only then, truly praise God?
Most of us accept the value of praise and worship of God. He deserves it. We are commanded to do it. But you can talk about how your life pleases God and you can share a Facebook post about how much you love Jesus, but until your life is involved in your local church, you will never truly live your life in praise of God.
These 5 areas were not private actions. They were part of the ministry of a local church. When you became a Christian, you were not saved just to believe but also to belong. You were not just brought into God’s family, you were expected to be part of a local church family.
What value do you receive from your church? How has your church helped you fulfill God’s purpose in your life?