38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
-Acts 2:38-47, NRSV
“In the closing verses of the second chapter [of Acts], Luke provided a brief sketch of the life – the principle features – of the early Christian community in Jerusalem. [Subsequently] the disciples found favor with all the people…[and] the community grew as God added to its number.” (Charles Yrigoyen, Acts for Our Time, p. 28)
You have survived the pandemic and all the craziness of the unprecedented prior six months…and you have discovered that our God is faithful! Share a God-sighting from the life of your congregation…some testimony of remarkable success and kingdom-victory from the recent past…in each of these vital “practices” evidenced in the vibrant, contagious, God-pleasing early Church of Acts 2:38-47:
- Teaching (v. 42) – How have you continued the discipline of Bible Study…of “Christian conferencing” around contemporary (or classic) books…of catechetical instruction…in these times?
- Fellowship (v. 42) – Lately there hasn’t been much time together, nor glad and sincere meal-sharing from house to house! (v. 46). Nevertheless, how have you held together the fellowship of your congregation during social isolation – or maybe even strengthened it?
- Worship – Spending time together in the temple (v. 46), praising God (v. 47), repenting of sin (v. 38 & 40), the breaking of bread (v. 42, cf 20:7) – sounds like Sunday worship! What new victories do you celebrate in your congregation’s worship life?
- Prayer (v. 42) – What have been the best resources for promoting private prayer? How has your congregation continued to be a praying congregation?
- Signs & Wonders (v. 43) – Luke’s use of this phase so often refers to physical healings (cf. 4:30…and the prominent tales of healings in chapters 3 and 4). In the midst of the pandemic, how has your church supported the medical community or otherwise been an agent of healing for those who are sick?
- Financial stewardship – The early church held all things in common (v. 44) and sold assets (v. 45) in order to care for needs in the community. Were there any pleasant surprises in your church’s financial health during Covid 19? If so, what do you think contributed to that? What benevolent efforts in the community were you able to accomplish because of folks’ generosity?
- Outreach/Evangelism – As the early church committed to these spiritual disciplines, the Lord added to their number daily (v. 47). How did Covid 19…or the public demonstrations around racial divide…or any other nightly crisis in American life help your congregation to see & receive a wider array of God’s people into your fold – those who perhaps used to be far away in your thinking & practice (v. 39), yet apparently those whom the Lord our God calls to him? (v. 39)
From North District Superintendent Steve Morton
We have so much to celebrate, church! After all:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
Want to know more?
- Learn about our church and its ministries: https://wesleychurch.com/
- Make a gift to support our mission: https://wesleychurch.com/giving-2/
- View our recent messages: https://wesleychurch.com/sermon-message-on-video/
- View previous devotionals: https://wesleychurch.com/pastor-candys-devotionals-2/