The first-century church, despite its faults and challenges, was fervently committed to Christ, studying His Word and evangelizing the world. The church also demonstrated a spirit of fellowship and practical kindness unparalleled in any social group the world had yet known (Acts 4:31-35; 11:28-30; Rom. 15:25, 26). All this was especially true in the years immediately following Calvary.
What was the secret of the church's vitality and success? Acts 4:9-13.
Being with Jesus. "Our life is to be bound up with the life of Christ; we are to draw constantly from Him, partaking of Him, the living Bread that came down from heaven, drawing from a fountain ever fresh, ever giving forth its abundant treasures. If we keep the Lord ever before us, allowing our hearts to go out in thanksgiving and praise to Him, we shall have a continual freshness in our religious life. Our prayers will take the form of a conversation with God as we would talk with a friend. He will speak His mysteries to us personally....
"In those who possess it, the religion of Christ will reveal itself as a vitalizing2. pervading principle, a living, working, spiritual energy. There will be manifest the freshness and power and joyousness of perpetual youth....
"This experience gives every teacher of truth the very qualifications that will make him a representative of Christ."--Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 129, 130.
As the church grew in size, it was natural for difficulties to arise. The apostles, through their letters preserved for us, counseled the young church regarding controversial matters. How did the churches generally receive these messages and with what effect? 2 Cor. 7:8-16; 1 Thess. 2:13, 14.
The churches' acceptance of God's Word spoken through His messengers gave them strength, unity, restoration, and maturity. Thus they were instilled with a moral stamina not easily corrupted. The apostles did not act as tyrants, but as loving guardians and guides of the flock (2 Cor. 1:24; 1 Peter 5:1-3).
Do you welcome words of correction from God, or do you treat such correction as an insult?