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Thursday: A Picture of the Early Church — 11 Comments

  1. Adrian Plass tells the story on one of his books (Evidence of old age: I cannot remember which one.) of visiting a church to preach when he noticed that right in the middle of the church where everyone could see it was a hideously ugly cross. It was so bad that at the pot-luck after the the service, he asked the head deacon about it. The deacon agreed it was ugly and then asked if Adrian would like to hear the back story.

    Apparently, an old man appeared at one of their services some time ago and in spite of him being a bit of a cantankerous old codger, the church welcomed him and invited him to the pot-luck after the service. He came back again and again then one day asked if he could join the church. After baptism, He did not come to the next service but arrived for the potluck with this ugly old cross that he had made himself in a wheelbarrow, and told the congregation he would like to say something. He told them that he knew he was a cantankerous old codger but they had always been so welcoming and went out of their way to spend time with him that he felt he wanted to be part of the church. In recognition of all that they had done for him, he was donating this cross to the church.

    And the church accepted it and put it in a place where everyone could see it. A few months later the old man died and in due time the church board met and there was some discussion about what to do with this ugly old cross. The board decided that the cross had to stay there as a reminder of why their church was really in that community.

    The interesting thing about this story is that the Gospel is threaded right through it without any religion jargon. Living the Gospel is the best way to add members to the body of Christ.

    • Hi Maurice 🙂

      The story you referred to is the one about (a mid-seventies man named) Eric Carter starting on the bottom of page 82-85 of The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, Christian Speaker, Aged 45 3/4 (I did a Google Books search with the key words : "ugly old cross").

      Lovely testimony. Thank you for recounting it for us.

      It has these potent words from Eric (as quoted by Daniel Bissett, the elder-in-charge of the Wopsley Community Fellowship Church) on page 85:

      'Eric talked about how lonely he'd been before he started coming down to church do's, as he called them, and how surprised he'd been at the friendliness, not just towards him, but among the rest of us.

      He said how he'd been taught as a kid that you keep yourself to yourself in church so as not to interfere with anyone else, and he'd been afraid it was going to be like that.

      I can still remember what he said:
      " "You all seemed to be lookin' after each other," those were his words, "an' makin' sure each other was 'appy. It made me want to be in it. An' now I am. I didn't know it was Jesus doin' it, but I do now."

      Brigitte Humphery has said in Monday: Our Excuses: False Views - Daily Lesson for Monday 30th of October 2023:

      "Exclusivity breeds contempt, inclusivity establishes fellowship!", Brigitte Humphrey

      Thank you Maurice & Brigitte 🤗 🙏

      • Thank you for filling that one in Brendan. I owned a lot of Adrian Plass’s books but I have loaned them to folk who have forgotten that loan means give it back when finished.

      • Thank you for looking up the story about the ugly old cross. This was very inspiring and will pass this on to my church family.

    • Wow thank you Maurice for always sharing. May the Lord help us with the application of these lessons and most importantly the lessons from the early church.

  2. I may tend

    to dissociate

    my spoken word

    from the living practice,

    but this is nonsense.

    I live what I believe!

    How can I





  3. While I can agree with the Arthur in the second and last paragraph of Thursday"s lesson in that example of Christian living plays a significant role in the life of new believers.I am convinced that believers can only live the truth taught by the power of the holy spirit.It is the Holy Spirit which will enable believers to practice ,to enpower and to live the Christian life. I believe that this portion or thought was left unsaid in the lesson.Mimicing has a part to play bur the real power to live the Christian life comes from the Holy Spirit of God.

  4. Can you imagine birthing a baby and then once the infant comes home, forgetting about him or her …..not feeding, holding, clothing, or nurturing the newborn? Instead of taking on this responsibility, you go to work with your partner to make another baby. The whole focus is on adding more children to your home without caring for any of them. Or minimal care. Just the excitement of growing in numbers without any interest in helping each precious person thrive.

    Today’s lesson talks about discipleship. This is so important. If we are going to partner with God to bring His children into His fold and into our church family, then we also need to partner with God in nurturing the newborns in faith. It takes effort, sacrifice and planning to care for a growing family member. Who can I team up with to nurture and encourage, study and pray with, maybe someone younger or weaker in faith? Who in my faith community models for me a more mature faith and encourages me?

  5. In reality that was the conditions of the early church to the Jewish converts.

    We must accept the facts that the gentiles had issues with conforming to Jewish customs. The apostle Paul was the apostle to the gentiles.

    See Acts 15, Galatians 2

    Is in it the same today, there are many Christian denominations...
    May we have understanding and patience in the salvation message !

    Shalom 🙏

  6. Acts 1:15-26 mentions 120 believers were assembled in the Upper Room. Why might this number be important? The website ‘Berean Insights’ attaches significance to this number. The writer of this article suppose three answers to the questions: ‘Is there any significance to the number of 120 people gathered in the Upper Room?’

    1. Option One:- Some feel there is no significance in the number 120 because Luke has recorded for us that there were ABOUT 120 believers gathered in one place. Because the number is an approximation then we should not make much significance from it.

    2. Option Two:- The standard Bible Numeric interpretation is that the factors of 120 are 10 x 12, where 10 represents ordinal perfection and 12 represents the tribes of Israel and therefore Governmental order. Thus it was important for one more disciple to be added to The Eleven so that governmental order was restored. Especially so, as The Twelve were to be the prime witnesses and the backbone and Apostles of Christ’s entire ministry. Jesus chose twelve apostles as his inner circle of disciples to demonstrate that his mission was to shepherd all of Israel. The twelve Apostles represented the twelve tribes of Israel.

    3. Option Three:- This was the number which the Jews required to form a council in any city; and it is likely that in reference to this, the disciples had gathered together. Thus they formed a complete council for the important business of electing a person to replace Judas. 120 was a number pretty famous among the Jews; the Sanhedrin of Ezra, called the men of the great synagogue, consisted of an “hundred and twenty elders”. Such a number was prerequisite for a Sanhedrin in any place. They established a Sanhedrin in every city in Israel, where there is an “hundred and twenty”. In a city where there was not a hundred and twenty, they placed three judges. There are 120 members in the modern day Israeli Knesset who govern Israel.

    I know that our God moves in mysterious ways, and the answers contained in number 2. and 3. would shed light on the subject of the importance and purpose for/of 'discipleship'. The heavenly kingdom of God was to be established here on earth. To my understanding, the called-out-ones - the Ekklesia - was to be the instrument to establish and consider themselves to live in God's kingdom.

    The Holy Spirit is this government’s Master Teacher from whom all learn that God's Love is the foundation of the New Way. It is the essence of all that Jesus Christ taught and demonstrated for the benefit of the apostles and the disciples through them. Everyone was learning to apply and become established in this 'New Way' to live their daily lives.

    As an aside - Acts 9:26 - “Paul, after he was converted, went into the desert, then after three years went to Jerusalem, then after 14 years, he went back to confer with the apostles, at which time they laid hands on him, which is really when Paul becomes an apostle. (from WordPress.com) We can come by ourselves or when being invited. In any case, all are drawn to Jesus Christ because they have heard the Father first – Acts.2:41.


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