Most of you know that I am 100% committed to expository preaching as the normal pattern for Sunday morning worship, which generally means working through a book of the Bible from start to finish. However, there are appropriate times to take a short break from a longer expository series. This Sunday is one of those times.
As we prepare to elect new elders, deacons, and deaconesses and approve our general budget and missions budget for 2017-18, it is a good opportunity to be reminded of the fundamental commitments to which the church is called. And there is no better text for showing us these commitments than Acts 2:42-47. In this description of the early church we learn that they devoted themselves to four things:
1) The apostles’ teaching – They were committed to studying, preaching, and living out the Gospel message in the world around them.
2) Fellowship – They were committed to deep redemptive relationships with others in the body of Christ. They understood that being the church meant doing life together.
3) The breaking of bread – This refers both to an aspect of their fellowship (they ate together…A LOT), but also to the formal observance of the Lord’s Supper (which happened at least every Lord’s Day).
4) The prayers – There were set times that the early church devoted specifically to corporate prayer. Praying together was an essential part of the rhythm of life in the early church.
What would it look like for us to devote ourselves to these same things as a church? Would it lead us to add in more activities on top of an already full calendar? Or would it lead us to perhaps do fewer things, but with more intentional and effective focus? There are a lot of things that present-day churches give massive amounts of time and energy to that are not mentioned as part of the early church’s devotion. That doesn’t mean those things are bad or insignificant. But it does mean we should always be examining ourselves to see if we are keeping the main things the main things.
Lastly, as we prepare for our next budget year, I want to commend you for your sacrificial giving over this past year. With fewer people, you have given 2% more than in our previous budget year. You have given generously and joyfully. I want you to know that we (the elders) do not take that for granted.
I also want to say a huge thank you to those who have given sacrificially of their time and energy, by serving the various ministries of our church. There are many in our church who have carried a much heavier load this past year. While we don’t say it often enough, I want you to know that your service does not go unnoticed and is not unappreciated. Thank you so much for your service to Christ and His body.