October 29, 2016

Acts 2:46-47 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

What pastor wouldn’t love for this to be an accurate description of their church! We know from the rest of Acts that problems did arise, and fairly quickly, but this is the base pattern established at the start of the Church. The NIV doesn’t include this, but the Japanese specifies that they met in the temple “with one heart.” That is to say, they were so overwhelmed at the grace of God in salvation that they didn’t quibble over small stuff. This sort of unity is not difficult when the focus is on God by His Spirit, but it is only possible when that is the focus. It’s pretty well a binary situation, either on or off. We let all sorts of things get in the way, and then wonder why we don’t have unity! This is all the more true when, like these early believers, we spend a lot of time together. That of course creates more opportunities for fellowship, but it also creates more opportunities for friction, as the early Church discovered soon enough. The thing is, when you do have this kind of unity it is enormously attractive, and that is one of the most powerful forms of evangelism. Many churches labor at evangelistic programs, when active, genuinely Christian lifestyles will pull people in automatically.

These two verses are part of the message the Lord has given me for tomorrow, under the title of “Daily.” I earnestly desire this to be a description of this church! For many years I have sought to impart this vision, this concept of the local church, to believers, but with less than stellar success. I’ll have another chance tomorrow! I’ve got to remember that I can’t do it by my strength, wisdom, or force of personality; I’ve got to depend on the Holy Spirit. The Lord has been working in very encouraging ways recently, bringing people back who had been separated and bringing people in who haven’t been involved. I am to rejoice in that, but not presume on it either. I am to keep my focus on Christ and His kingdom, His righteousness, or the focus of the church as a whole will be off as well. Genuine fellowship cannot be forced, but it can be enabled and encouraged, and I am to be instrumental in that. A couple came by yesterday, and the Lord did something good. I’m not sure exactly what, at this point, but I trust it will bless them and us. I am to anticipate, and teach the believers to anticipate, God working in and among us daily, so that we may greet each day with joy and commitment, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this confirmation of what You have placed in me for tomorrow. Thank You for everyone who is to be here. May our fellowship be in and by Your Spirit, in all depth, richness, and joy, so that we may be transformed more and more into What You created us to be, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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