What is a church? And what should it do?
Acts 2:42-47 in the bible give us a snapshot of what the first church was all about. This is the first in a series of five short articles on those fundamentals.
There are many things in the world which people use to base their life on. Some base their life on the culture they find themselves in, others choose a teacher, or a philosophy, a book or whatever pops in to their head on a minute by minute basis. Most Christians have based our lives on something like this in the past but have come to realise that these ways of doing things really don’t satisfy. Instead we believe we have a better way of life, something better to base of lives on!
We believe we have found the person who showed us how to live and who died and rose again so that we could have the 'slate wiped clean' and start to live this new life. This person was Jesus Christ; but Jesus lived two thousand years ago. So how do we go about following this God-man today?
Well Jesus prepared for this by choosing twelve men (‘Apostles’) who would live with him and whom he would teach, so that after he had died, risen and gone to heaven, they could stay and teach others about this amazing good news. So its no surprise that when we look at Acts 2 we find the first gatherings of Jesus' followers listening carefully to these men, and being ‘devoted’ to their teaching. They wanted to know what Jesus' life and death had meant and how it affected them.
As the church grew and the apostles got older it seemed wise for them to write down what they witnessed and what they had been taught so that future generations could benefit as well. When the writing was done, all those letters and books and visions of the future were eventually collected together and form what is known as the New Testament. This is the completion of all God has to say to mankind until he comes again. That’s why Christians, including the church at Wellfield, devote ourselves to it to this day!
We do this in a number of ways: we read the Bible by ourselves; we read and study in small groups; and we listen to someone explain it every Sunday. But if this is all we did, it would be a good start … but it wouldn't really be devotion - because knowing what the Bible says is only the first step. So the real challenge is to help one another to live out the teaching and example of Jesus on a day to day basis. It affects our conversations. It means we want to spend more time together. It means we care about each others’ lives. Because we know that the apostles’ teaching is life to us.