I have begun writing my second Bible study. This one is on the book of Acts. My first study on John is a for new believers and those who are new to or intimidated by studying the Bible through a look at the life of Jesus and his followers. I chose Acts for my next study because I wanted a continuation of the lives of Jesus’ followers. They were new believers and Jesus was adamant about their love and devotion to one another after he was gone. (John 13)
New as well as seasoned believers need to surround themselves with other Christ followers. God never intended for us to walk our journey of faith alone. In Acts 2, the new believers: “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42 ESV The believers learned from the apostles, those who had a strong faith and relationship with the Lord. They knew this was vital to grow in their own faith. There have been times in my life where I have not been connected with a local group of Christian believers. Moving to a new area makes you feel lost where no one knows you or can connect with you through your faith. After moving to our current home a couple of years ago, I had to be intentional about finding a church home, Bible study group, or small group to connect with. It was not easy! It took time to find a church home to settle in and get involved with a group. It takes perseverance and consistency to find the right fit for you.
Through the devotion of the believers they grew in their faith: “And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.” Acts 2:43-47 ESV
The more time the early church spent together they became in awe of God because of the work they were witnessing in one another’s lives. Through my time with fellow believers, I have seen friends healed, broken lives regenerated, and destroyed marriages reconnect. I have seen fellow believers whose faith in God has carried them through the darkness of divorce and the death of a child. I am in awe of God as He works in my life and those around me.
The early church also became more connected as they spent time together. Their common belief and faith bonded them greater than anything else. I have friends in my life who I have very little else in common with, except for our faith in God. I am in a Bible study with ladies in a completely different season of life from me, but its their love for God that keeps me coming back to each meeting. I feel connected to them because our common faith.
The more time the early church spent with one another, the more generous they became. They saw the needs of one another and did whatever they could to meet them. When we are devoted to fellow believers, we spend less time focusing on ourselves and more time on the needs of others. I have four children. After the birth of each child, my church family provided meals for 2-3 weeks for us. As a church we have raised money for the needs of members who were struggling financially as well as given an abundance of baby items to a newly single mother of four.
Some of you may not be a part of a church because of negative past church experiences. I have had plenty of dealings with fellow church members that could have made me leave and never return. BUT I DIDN’T. We are all growing in our faith. You can not allow the behavior of one person to take away from the heart of a church as a whole. While it may not benefit you to remain in that particular church, find another group of believers who share the same heart for God as you.
All churches are different. In my lifetime, I have been a part of five different churches. Every single one of them differed greatly from the one prior. Our current church is drastically different than all of the others put together. I can not say one church is better or worse than the other, but I can say each church met my needs for fellowship and spiritual growth for myself and my family at the time we attended. If you are not growing where you are, visit another church. Find a place you can become devoted to teaching, fellowship, and prayer. This was the mission of the early church. It should still be our mission today.