An Awakening Lesson from the First Congregation

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:41-47

Reflections

What if a brand new local church congregation suddenly grew by 3,000 new believers, most of whom were visiting from other countries that had no churches of any kind yet?  Would it be wise for us to send them all back to their homelands quickly without any time spent for their genuine discipleship?

These kinds of questions relate to what happened with the first church in Israel; which the Lord Jesus had been preparing for over three years.  Who were these very first church members and what could they bring to the table to help disciple and provide for 3,000 new believers – from out of town – so they could have time to grow in the Lord’s ways?  From the Gospels, we know that Jesus had 11 well trained apostles (i.e. after Judas checked himself off the list), most of whom were not from Jerusalem where the first congregation would be gathering.  We also know of 70 trained witnesses that The Lord had sent out to minister two by two.  Then there were the 120 men written about in Acts 1 who were probably also part of the 500 eyewitnesses to His resurrection, mentioned earlier; as well as His earthly family, Mary and His sisters and four brothers.  Short story shorter, the first congregational members were no doubt compromised of folks mentioned in Luke 24:52-53, who were “continually in the temple praising and blessing God” until the day of Pentecost came.

Being Hebrews who valued the Scriptures, their culture no doubt greatly helped to expedite the discipling process. With that being said, none of this would have happened for long without the first church members learning to really lay down their lives for one another and the new believers. I am sure there were often times of great inconvenience.

We can learn from this congregation’s story in Acts without too much guessing as to how they lived communally for eight years; that is until persecution scattered the membership, forcing many to return to their homelands.  They took the Gospel with them and no doubt planted more new congregations around the Empire. 

How would we respond if such a great harvest happened here in Granbury?  Would we willingly lay down our lives for those whom some may want to label as “foreigners”?  Such questions are sobering but the answers may be related to why “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”  This church was a safe place for them.  May The Lord make us the kind of people whom He can trust to add lots of lost folks to.  In the meantime, perhaps we should begin by asking what can we do for one, two or few?

Written by Alan Latta
Senior Pastor of Generations Church of Granbury

Questions

Am I ready to be used by God at the expense of my own convenience?

Is there any prejudice in my own heart towards unbelievers of any race or persuasion?

Why wait on a book-of-Acts-harvest when there are needs all around that I can help meet?

Let's Pray

Father,
Show me my self-centered ways that would make me unsafe for You to add people to. Open my eyes to see an unbeliever or a new believer I can serve for your purposes. Restore my love for serving people where I am distracted by loving my own conveniences. In Jesus’ mighty name.
Amen!

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