The Model of Our Faith: Early Church

The following comes from Solid Joys, the daily devotional app from the ministry of John Piper. View online, or download the app on Google Play or iTunes.

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And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47)

What human factors did God ordain to bring about this amazing spread of the Christian faith? Stephen Neil (A History of Christian Missions) suggests six.

1. First and foremost was the burning conviction which possessed a great number of the early Christians.

2. The solid historical message which Christians brought was indeed good news, and a welcome alternative to the mystery religions of the day.

3. The new Christian communities commended themselves by the purity of their lives.

4. The Christian communities were marked by mutual loyalty and an overcoming of antagonisms between alienated classes.

5. The Christians were known for an elaborate development of charitable service, especially to those within the fellowship. Emperor Julian, writing in the early forth century, regretted the progress of Christianity because it pulled people away from the Roman gods. He said:

Atheism [i.e. Christian faith] has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead. It is a scandal that there is not a single Jew who is a beggar, and that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them.

6. The persecution of Christians and their readiness to suffer made a dramatic impact on unbelievers. Neil observes, “Under the Roman Empire Christians had no legal right to exist . . . . Every Christian knew that sooner or later he might have to testify to his faith at the cost of his life.”

Here we are at the end of the second millennium. May God raise up hundreds of thousands of super-ordinary Christians and Christian communities with this kind of passion.

Inspired by the Incredible Early Church

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This message from John Piper may have been said about 20 years ago, but I find it is still relevant for our era and I find that I myself have not really been doing it in my life.

How many people – the non-Christians – have we told about the Word of God? Have we kept our lives pure? Have we become peacemakers among our community?

God is teaching us to live as lights that never fear of the darkness and He is encouraging us to do it like the early church, who did it with their eyes set to become like our Lord Jesus Christ.

May Lord Jesus blesses you through this devotional!

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