Why Isn't My Church Like The Church In Acts?

 
R. Albert Mohler | March 13th 2018

It’s tempting to imagine that the early believers represented a golden era of the Church: their care for the vulnerable, their boldness in evangelism and their faithfulness under sometimes violent pressure from outsiders. When we reflect on the state of our local churches it can be easy to feel envious or discontent  and ask the natural question - why doesn’t my own church look like this?

The Early Church had problems too

The amazing thing about the book of Acts is that it presents the early Christian churches with incredible honesty.

There are some great moments detailed in Acts; Saul’s conversion from the arch persecutor of the church to the Apostle Paul, and Stephen proclaiming Jesus’ Lordship even as he faced a brutal martyrdom. Yet Acts is equally candid in showing the persecution, weakness, and hardship; when Priscilla and Aquila must correct Apollos’ teaching, when Paul and Barnabas part ways, or when James is killed.

From this, Christians should gather that the people living in the book of Acts, like Christians today, had their moments of failure and their moments of faithfulness.

A Common Calling

One thing that unites us with the early Church is our same calling to the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are called to be faithful - just as they were- and one of the practical demonstrations of this is the very real challenge and responsibility of caring for widows and orphans.

In fact, this concern predates the early Christian Church. While this led to the development of the role of deacons in the church, this calling wasn’t new to the New Testament. We see this persistent theme going all the way back to the earliest years of Israel; God tells the Israelites to be concerned about the widow, the orphan, and the alien in their midst.

Later in the New Testament, James, the brother of Jesus, goes on to tell us that the care of widows and orphans is what he considers the definition of true religion. In the church today we need to understand this: where we see a need, we have a responsibility in the church to do everything within our power to meet that need. Meeting these needs begins first of all in the church, but that spills over into the community of Christ, and is inseparable from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It can be tempting to compare and contrast. But at the end of the day, the church throughout the generations has always had the most important thing in common: the same Jesus Christ is Lord of our churches today, just as He has been since the early Christian Church, and will be so forever.

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Albert Mohler is the author of Acts 1-12 For You, an expository guide which takes in the ascension of Jesus, the coming of the Spirit, the birth of the church, the start of persecution, the conversion of Saul, and the divine call to world-wide evangelism. There is no more thrilling part of the Bible than the book of Acts, and no better guide to it than Albert Mohler.

R. Albert Mohler

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is the President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Time.com called him the "reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S." A prolific author and council member of The Gospel Coalition, he is married to Mary and they have two adult children.

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