By Not Known
I grew up questioning and struggling with ‘church’. “Why would I go to the same place, sing the same songs, meet the same people week after week? Surely there are better things to do on a Sunday morning than attending church?!” It was after being taught the book of Acts that I realised I had grossly misunderstood what ‘church’ is. Have you ever stopped to think “What ‘church’ is?” Is it just a building? An event? A weekly occurrence? It is important for us to be really clear about understanding of church, as it impacts the way we are to be church. If we treat church as such, our view of church isn’t any difference from going to a market or a shopping mall – a place where we go to satisfy our needs or wants.
What is church? Our answer lies in Acts 2:42. The early church didn’t talk about just attending church, they lived out the church! These characteristics show us that church is something we live out.
‘Church’ was to be a reality where we live out every single day of our lives! Church is a community of believers gathering to do the great commandment (God uses to draw us closer to him in love and worship), and carry out the great commission (God is at work among us to save people). There is an inward working of our hearts as we recognise our need for his grace, an outward manner where we see and participate with God at work in people’s hearts to draw them to salvation. That’s Church!
In today’s passage, we see how that works out in a believer’s life. Let us have a look at it.
1. They know what the main thing is.
Notice Peter’s attitude in his reply to the cripple, ‘I have no gold, no silver, but this is what I have” he went on to describe the Jesus who he has. He knew Jesus, and that was enough.
How about us? Regardless of material blessings, we recognise that our main thing is Jesus. While pursuits like bigger buildings, better facilities, more assets or even more programmes can be good things, but they are definitely not an end in itself. We should not celebrate or treat it more than what it is. Rather, let us work hard towards making the main thing, the main thing!
2. They shared what they had.
1 John 1:3 reads, “Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” The most precious thing we share in together is our connection with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” This is what drew the members of early church (Jews, Gentiles, free men, slaves, male, female, rich and poor) together, who devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.
But they did not just share in that, but as Acts 3:12-26 reminds us, Peter went around to share out of what he knew. Jesus is reason enough that we should be sharing and sharing! Are we?
3. They were available.
Apart from having informal meetings at homes, Christians attended formal services at the temple. Both meetings were a vital part of their daily lives. Peter and John were on their way to the temple for a mid-noon prayer service, yet they were willing to be ‘interrupted’ and avail themselves for the miracle that was about to happen. How about us? Are we a church that readily avail ourselves to others? Are we sensitive to the needs of others?
Church is not a spectator sport where we sit back and rate the performance of those in the front. It requires us to get off our seats and avail ourselves to be used by God.
Don’t just attend church. Be the church. Live the church!