People ask: Why is it that today’s Church has so little influence on the world? Some may agree with this observation that the Church is sometimes ineffective and try to explain why churches in general are not doing well, while others may disagree and say that churches are doing better than ever. You likely have your own opinion and observations about the impact of today’s Church, or the lack of it.
Here are a few reasons today’s Church does, in fact, have so little positive impact on the world:
- There are too many spectators and not enough participants.
- There are too many part-time members and not enough committed ones.
- People are more interested in methods, ideologies and activities than in the message.
- People are more concerned about public image than about the truth.
- People are more concerned about themselves and their own comfort than about lost people.
- People are more concerned about their physical needs than about their spiritual needs.
Now let’s look at the New Testament Church, the first body of Christians, and see what made them so different:
1. They believed
When Apostle Peter stood up and addressed the crowd and warned them about the corruption and godlessness of the world, urging them to repent and be baptized, they responded to the message and about 3,000 of them were baptized and joined the church that day.
They believed the message, the Good News of salvation, and they willingly committed their lives to Christ and to His service.
2. They took their faith and commitment seriously
The result was that they enjoyed a time of peace and strength and they grew in number, living in the fear of the Lord (see Acts 9:31).
Peter, writing to the believers later on, said: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and
awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’” (Hebrews 12:28-29)
3. They took Christ’s commission seriously
The disciples had heard Jesus’ last and great commission and they obeyed Him. He had said in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The result was 3,000 converts at Pentecost, because the believers were willing to become witnesses and share the Good News with others, as Jesus had commanded them. Acts 1:8 says: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
4. They worshiped and studied together
The believers continued faithfully in studying the Word of God together, in loving and strengthening each other, in praying together and in worshipping together. Verse 42 says: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
The believers loved one another. They cared for people more than things. They put away things that divided them. They put Christ and His Kingdom first. They served in one accord, united.
Verse 46 says: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”
Why did the Church in those days explode in growth? It was its testimony and commitment. And the public noticed its daily growth.
Why is it that the Church is not doing well today? I believe that believers have forgotten what a real commitment to Christ is.
The early Church was not an organization, it was a living organism! It was made up of Spirit-filled individuals whose desire was to worship God, spread the Good News and have fellowship with one another.
What about us here at Temple Baptist Church? How do we measure up? What or how much are we—are you—willing to do for God and for the Body of Christ, the Church?
Read verse 47 again and see what happened to the early Christians when they took God seriously: “Praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
The same can happen to the Church today, too, if we take our faith seriously.
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian