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Friday: Further Study – The Experience of Unity in the Early Church — 5 Comments

  1. When I was growing up, my mother and grandmother made the flower arrangements for our church. This consumed a fair bit of Friday afternoon and was much more than just poking a few flowers into a vase of water. The arrangements were a work of carefully crafted art. We kids were involved on Sabbath morning because we had to hold these arrangements on our laps as we drove the 10 miles to church (kept us from fighting with one another anyhow!). Collectively my grandmother and mother probably did this for about 40 years. The flowers were not simply thrown out at the end of the church service. Other folk took the flowers to the local hospital where they visited the sick and left the flowers with them.

    This spirit of involvement was something that was a feature of the church where I grew up. My father built the church building in my late teenage years - a substantial building that seated about 250 people. He did that entirely voluntarily over a period of about 4 years.

    It is that sort of involvement that provides the glue that sticks the church community together. When we work for and with one another, we can learn to share and love one another. This is the sort of involvement that was a characteristic of the early Christian Church

    I don't think the spirit of involvement has disappeared from our churches. I still see people looking beyond the discussion of doctrine and belief to actually practicing Christian involvement. We need to encourage that spirit because that is one of the things that makes the church a place where we and others want to be.

  2. You hit the nail on the head, thus avoiding a contused thumb. It is often said a church that prays together stays together, I do believe a church who works together grows together. Bickering, backbiting, arguing, disunity alway goes to the back burner when we are busy working together helping those in-the community and those in need among the church community.

  3. We can start doing things ourselves, as individuals. And soon we can be involved in a broader collective work. Such as "Love others as yourself". The work for others can help to restore the love for self, in the right way. But love for Jesus is something we need to develop more. Just look around. Nature is calling. Things are clearly demonstrating that Jesus is soon to come, before men destroy the entire planet. We need to watch for that, and we need to be ready, with the right 'equipment'. We need to be sure that every single thing that we have does not belong to us, it's a gift from God, every breath! We are here just to learn how to manage all. What are we doing with all the gifts we were given? Mind, body, time, family, friends, work, neighbours, pets, nature, money, properties! In order for us to fulfil God's plan for our lives we need to ask for wisdom, and this wisdom comes from God alone. While Jesus is the most sure hand to help us in our frustrating attempt to achieve good in our own!

  4. 1. The root cause of the unity in the early church was individual repentance and transformation of the life in oneness with Christ. If truly converted, we will act as He did. If we lack oneness with Jesus, we lack conversion, most likely lacking repentance and faith.

    2. Our closest ties will be with fellow believers as with Christ, who said: "whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother". In becoming involved in social work there must be the exercising of wisdom, and being “not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is”(Eph 5:17). The church is to be about the work of the gospel, but individuals, as moved by the Holy Spirit, can take up social causes, and this kindness may act as an opening wedge to the hearts of those needing their help. This is something any member can do for those near them that they are able to help and encourage in some way. Like Jesus, we can go about "doing good" for our fellow man, thus following the Lamb of God wherever He leads.

    3. If we have God's law written in our heart, we will choose not to covet, steal or lie. The lesson is to have a genuine experience of faith in accepting Jesus' invitation to “take my yoke upon you and learn of me...”. Receiving the Gospel is the remedy for selfishness, greed, and the lack of unity in the church today, for the gospel is: “the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes”. Without this sanctifying power, we will live and act as the fallen creatures we are, and honesty, generosity and the unity Jesus prayed for will not be found in our experience.

  5. A comparison of unity in the early church Acts 1:14 with our church today has many contrasts. Some are more applicable than others. Sharing their blessings was the method of subsistence that worked well. There is a much different approach used in some of the churches that I am familiar with. The agenda is packed with meals and events to keep one occupied so that boredom does not set in. Sabbath church services use a liberal amount of time to list activities for weeks and months to come. I have criticized this amount of activity more than once. Excess is wasteful for some, rather than for unification.


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