Won’t we do the same? If we are to believe the statistics, our “take it or leave it” approach to devoting ourselves to “the apostles’ teaching” has left us with a generation that is impassionate about the things of God. And maybe we are too.
Our faith needs to be fanned into a flame. Paul tells us how that happens: “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ” (Romans 10:17). We need to hear the message about Christ. Not once. But again and again.
That’s what the early church did. They met in the temple courts and in houses to hear the message about Christ. They believed the resurrected Christ was worthy of their attention. They believed the resurrected Christ was worthy to teach them how to live life.
They believed that “…All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
And so they devoted themselves to hearing it as often as they could. If we were to do so today, how might the church look? I have a hunch it would look something like this:
- We would see a crowd in all our churches every Sunday, not just on Easter. And sure, you can hear other teachings these days online and in books, but the pattern given to us in Jesus’ teachings is that of a community of people hearing the word together.
- Groups would meet in homes and open the Bible and talk about their faith and encourage each other on to love and good deeds. We’d help each other live out the words of Jesus.
- Families would make their plans around the gathering of believers and make other things fit into that pattern. Our children would come to see that our belief can be seen in our habits.
- We would have good answers for our children when they ask why the church and hearing teaching is so important to us.
The church would look devoted to the things our lives depended on.
A few weeks ago I drove my Miata to the movie theater. My Miata is a stickshift. I pulled into a space near a light pole. My Miata is so small it is often hard to find in a parking lot. I thought this would help me find it after two and a half hours in a movie after which I’d have no recollection of where I parked it.
When the movie was over I walked out to the parking lot to find my Miata. I was looking at the light pole but did not see the Miata there. I did see it sitting in the row between the parking spaces. The row you drive down to get to a parking place.
Apparently the stick shift had not been placed in gear well. Now I’m pulling up the hand brake every time I park. It was good advice I heard from my father many years ago that I am now finally putting into practice.
That’s what the church does. It devotes itself to the teaching of the Apostles. They taught Jesus. Not a list of do’s and don’ts. Not who’s in and who’s out. They taught Jesus. His words. His ways. And they were devoted to that teaching. They stuck with it.
Will you do that? Will you stick with the teaching until it sticks with you? It might help you stay in a good parking spot for your life.