EDIT: Okay, since no one is interested in my thoughts on the church, would anyone care to make some musical recommendations to me? I have a trial subscription to Rhapsody which lets me listen to and download as many songs as I want, so this is the time to try and impose your musical tastes on a willing guinea pig! Fire away! I’m especially interested in artists who write their own stuff or aren’t mainstream.
I’ve been reading through Acts, and it’s been so instructive and enlightening for me. It had been a while since I’d systematically gone through the book, and in a lot of ways it seems all new to me. I’ve been in chapter four this week, and yesterday these verses really struck me: “And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. For there was not a needy person among them…” (Acts 4:32-34a). After reading and thinking about these verses, I wrote in my journal, “What does it mean to be of one heart and soul? What would the Church look like if that were the case? And how can we achieve that, when it’s difficult even to get members of one church to agree on the color of the carpet in the sanctuary or what kind of music should be played during the service? Are we lacking abundant grace because instead of preaching the gospel with power, we’re arguing and complaining?”
Today I read into chapter five, and I found an answer to my question of what a church who is of one heart and soul looks like. Verses twelve and following speak of how the apostles performed many miracles and healings, and people were attracted to them and believers were “constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed” (Acts 5:12-16).
When the Church is of one body and soul, miracles happen. People are drawn to this, and they are added to the number of believers. A church that is unified is attractive, and a church that is unified is anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit. These verses say that people even from other cities were seeking out the apostles and the church because they saw that the church offered what they needed. If we want those who don’t know Jesus to come to know Him, the answer is not in flashy sermons or up tempo music; the answer is in Jesus. And when we quit making the church about satisfying ourselves and our desires and make it about glorifying God, then that’s when the miracles happen.