“And day by day, the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47)
This description of the early church demonstrates the ideal for which all our churches should strive. The early church was more of a family than an organization. There was a stark absence of selfishness, gossip and church politics. The central focus was on worship and the word of God. There was Love, harmony and peace. Everyone not only got along with their neighbors and fellow believers, they shared their wealth and food with one another and with those in need with grace and mercy. In addition the Apostles performed miraculous works such as Jesus had done, healing the sick and infirm. These also demonstrated God’s kindness and love for all mankind.
Such compassion, generosity and love were lacking in ancient times. Only the Jews practiced kindness and charity as they were aspects of God’s Law. Yet throughout the history of Israel such laws were generally ignored or reinterpreted. Yet these very characteristics of the early Christians demonstrated the power and presence of God Almighty with them, The loving behavior of these believers is what attracted other people to them and enabled the church to grow.
In our day churches are suffering from dwindling attendance as many, especially young people, desert the Christian faith. Churches, church leaders, publishers and parachurch organizations spend much time and resources on trying to figure out why people leave the church and ways to keep them or bring them back. Yet here we find a solution. The people of our day are seeking fellowship, compassion and love but in all the wrong places. The Church should be the right place because our God is Love and He wants to have loving fellowship with all people. We believers are called to be His instruments of grace. We must extend the love of Christ Jesus to everyone.