With the World Cup Soccer 2018 reaching fever pitch level on the excitement scale for many around the world, when I read this passage and read the word ‘devoted’, I am reminded of all those soccer fans colourfully arrayed in their teams colours. Faces painted, hats on, scarves, socks, shirts, tattoos even themed underwear!!!
In moments like this words like devotion, passion are on display in technicolour. In our passage today, Luke uses the Greek word that is translated into English as ‘devoted’. The underlying word means to be earnest towards something, to persevere in something, to be constantly diligent in something, or to continue to adhere closely to something (like with teaching or instruction).
The converts from Peter’s first Gospel message joined the 120 disciples and together they formed the first church on the planet. A church, a new community of faith that had previously not existed, people that did not know each other or even have much in common instantly became a family that together devoted themselves to some things.
- The apostle’s teaching (which is the Scriptures now for us)
- Breaking Bread (Communion)
- Corporate Prayer
Now, we know what a devoted Brazilian, English, French…. soccer fan looks like, they are hard to miss really. So what would a church community that’s DEVOTED to these things look like? And, who doesn’t want to be part of a church like that?
Which reminds me of something Nicky Gumbel said;
“Stop looking for a perfect church. It does not exist. Join an imperfect church and serve in everyday you can to make it nearer to perfection”.
This church we have in Acts 2 is radically wonderful! But don’t go looking for one, rather make the church you’re in like one, because you’re there and because you get it…
These brand new believers kept on meeting (vs44) with one another in the big meetings, all together in the temple and then also meeting in homes (small groups) (vs46), they ate meals together (vs46), they had their view of personal finance transformed by their faith.
So much so, that these devoted Christ followers ensured that no one amongst the family of faith had any need because they provided for another through sacrificial giving to the church by liquidating assets and investments to provide in abundance (vs45) for God’s church.
This was a worshipping (vs47), glad, supernatural (vs43) community who were also in awe and reverence of God (vs43). A church where reverence, wonder and amazement is dead will also have worship that is dead. That’s because wonder, reverence and ‘strong affections for God rooted in truth are the bone and marrow of biblical worship’. – John Piper
So, let’s believe God for churches like this saturating our cities and towns just like this church started to impact Jerusalem with its devotion as the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved (vs47).
- Pray that you would be freshly filled with the Holy Spirit like these believers were.
- Pray that you would be full of awe, wonder, thanks and praise
- And pray that you would be devoted to Scripture, Fellowship, Communion & Corporate Prayer like they were
- Pray that your whole life would be transformed by the Gospel including your finances, your view of your time, resources, relationships…
- Pray asking God to ‘do it again’, to cause churches like this one in Acts 2 to fill your city!
- Don’t look for a church like this one, make one!
- Live the change you desire!
- Be devoted!