Five Lessons We Learn From the Jerusalem Church

Last night we concluded a meeting with the Northside church in Hillsboro, Ohio. It was special to return where we first began full-time preaching 47 years ago.

Our theme was WHAT MATTERS MOST based on Acts 2:41-47.

41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

The priorities of the Jerusalem Church ought to be our main focus today. The thrust of the Hillsboro meeting was the five lessons we learn from these first century Christians.

#1 Worship Matters. From the book of Acts we learn that they assembled on the first day of the week to take communion. To praise God. To worship as Jesus taught “in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:23-24).

There is an inborn urge in each person to worship. If we don’t worship Jehovah God, we will find something else to worship. It might be a job. Family. Money. Sports. Or even ourselves! But God wants us to worship Him.

In genuine worship, God is honored. Our spirits are ennobled. The saints are edified. And unbelievers are enlightened.

#2 Discipleship Matters. To be a disciple is to be a learner. A pupil. And a follower of Jesus. God wants every believer to grow up and become like Christ. Peter penned “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:22).

While learning is important to spiritual growth, maturity is measured more by lifestyle. Character. Integrity.

#3 Family Matters. There are many metaphors in the Bible for the Christian. We are called Sheep. Soldiers. Servants. But none is more understandable or more accurate than the idea of family.

God wants to be our spiritual Father (2 Cor 6:18). Jesus Christ desires to be our elder brother. We are called to be family (Eph. 1:19). And we are born into this family through a spiritual birth (John 3:3-5; 1 Pet. 1:22-23).

We enjoy community and communion. We share a special relationship with God and each other. And we find a place to belong.

#4 Ministry Matters. God expects us to use our gifts, talents and opportunities to benefit and bless others. The Bible says, Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (I Pet 4:10).

In Bible times every member was a minister. The idea of just THE MINISTER in a church is not really Biblical. Elton Trueblood once wrote, “If you are a Christian, then you are a minister. A non-ministering Christian is a contradiction in terms.”

#5 Evangelism Matters. Just as Jesus commanded the apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mk. 16:15), we seek to follow their divine example.

God wants us to share his message of life, light, and love with the world. Through the blog, our local preaching efforts and in meetings wherever we have the opportunity, we “preach Christ” as the only way to the Father. And the only means by which one can be saved.

Some things matter more than others. Some things have a greater priority. And take precedence over secondary considerations. These 5 principles should direct the life of every church and every Christian.

What matters most to you?

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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