This week we continued our series 'Devoted'. We jumped ahead this week to look at the last part of our focus verse for this series, Acts 2:42, which focussed on how the early church devoted itself to prayer. (Next week for our Easter Sunday service we will consider how the early church grew by devoting themselves to the breaking of bread which in turn helped them to remember Christ!)
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
As a church we know that God is at the centre of our community and prayer is our way of communicating with Him. Key to this communication is that we know we have shared goals underpinned by loving relationship.
Matthew 18:20 tells us that:
Where two or three people gather in my name, I am there with them.
As we pray we are speaking with God and the one whom we love and who loves us. As we keep this principle central to our prayers lives, it ensures that our prayers are expressions of love, appreciation and praise. Whilst we can certainly pray and ask God to act on our behalf in different ways - if our prayers are focussed on only wanting things from God and complaining to Him this is not the basis for a true relationship. Prayers of gratitude, thanks and praise should flow from the nature of our relationship with Him.
As we ask God for help in times of need, we acknowledge that He is sovereign over all. We recognise that we don't have all the answers or power to deal with every situation but we know that He is the one who is able to make changes happen and is always ready to offer the forgiveness we so deeply need.
As we live our lives in a constant cycle of Prayer - Listen - Respond - Act/Obey by the power of the Holy Spirit we move beyond anxiety to peace and freedom in Christ.
Join us next Sunday at 10am for our Easter services as we finish our 'Devoted' Series. There will be an encouraging message, a kids program and a time to feel welcome and connect over a coffee and morning tea.
Last week we kicked of our series called ‘Devoted’. Over the next 4 weeks we are looking at a passage in Acts 2 that talks about the growth of the early Christians and the early church – and which contains some really important truths us as a local Canberra church today. It gives us some insight into how, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, the early church experienced such incredible growth. It tells us here that:
“they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.”
The message last week considered the first part of this passage – their devotion to the apostles’ teaching. This second part in the ‘Devoted’ series is focused on the next part– being devoted to fellowship. The Message paraphrase uses the words ‘life together’ as a way of describing this approach to community.
I’d suggest that we live in a society that doesn’t really value ‘life together’.
20 years or so ago, a local church near where I lived decided that they would try a new approach. Their church was located on a reasonably main arterial road into the city where lots of people worked. Each day thousands of people would drive past their church, often on fairly long and boring commutes through traffic to get to work. So the church decided that they would offer a ‘drive-through’ church. On a Monday morning, you could swing off the main road, up the driveway, grab a cassette of the Sunday sermon and a coffee and then drive back down into the traffic, without ever getting out of the car.
I think unfortunately many Christians have adopted a ‘drive through Christian’ mentality. Church involvement has become a “show your face, but don’t stop the car activity”. For some it has become an activity that is all about grabbing the sermon but not engaging with others. Many Christians, quickly fall into the pattern of attending church when it suits, or when they don’t have anything better on – and in the process they deny themselves the richness of being connected to a community where ‘life together’ happens.
So how do we have an Acts 2:42 perspective? How do we live lives where we are devoted to life together?
Listen to the message to as we explore the importance of being connected with a vibrant church community.
Last week we launched our theme for the year 'Grow' from Colossians 2:6-7.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Over the next month we are exploring as a Church the things that we can be intentional about to see each of us grow in our Christian walk and grow as a church. Our focus passage for this series 'Devoted' is from Acts 2:42 which gives us insight into the growth of the early church
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
This passage tell us that the the new believers devoted themselves to certain things. The word devoted in that verse is often translated as continued steadfast and can also mean - to join, to adhere to, to be ready, to give attention to, to be faithful, to be fully committed to, to continue to do something with intense effort, to keep on, to persist in. This devotion was something that affected and governed their whole life, it wasn’t a quick or casual act.
The first thing they did was that they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. They were eager to hear the things that Jesus had taught and which the Holy Spirit was now instructing the apostles to share with the people. They listened over and over, they memorised this teaching and they shared it with others around them.
We too will grow by devoting ourselves to the word of God. As we do this we will discover a clearer picture of who God is and how He has revealed Himself through scripture.
In this message we explore the importance of reading and meditating on the Bible and the need to be systematic in our studying of it. We are challenged too that ultimately, we need to do more than just study - we need to obey, and to put into practice all that God tells us through His word. And we need to share God’s word with others. In this way we will grow spiritually and God’s kingdom will grow as we lead others to Him.