Gods household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15 NIV)
I am glad to be a part of a local church community because in spite of all the issues that arise when people join together it is Gods household. The church is not mine or anybody elses; it is the church of the living God and is to be a place that is underpinned by and supports the truth.
As I considered Pauls words it gave me a much greater respect for my brothers and sisters alongside me who comprise the household of God, and made me keenly aware of the need for the church to be a beacon of light in a dark world.
What should the household of God look like if it is to be this light?
The passage in Acts 2:41-47 gives us a fascinating glimpse of the early church from which we can glean several identifying marks, that ideally ought to be present in every local assembly of Gods people.
Worship In everything they were doing, the members of the early church were praising God (Acts 2:47) When Christians attend their local church it should be in the spirit of the Psalmist who said Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. (Psalm 95:2,6–7)
Sound doctrine They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching (V.42) which centred on Jesus Christ. As Paul said, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1–4).
Prayer They devoted themselves to prayer. (V.42) The church will only move forward on its knees. To miss the place of united prayer is to miss where the action is.
The Lords Supper They devoted themselves to the breaking of bread (V.42) which is a symbolic meal reminding us that our fellowship with God and with each other is based entirely on Christs death on our behalf.
Fellowship They devoted themselves to fellowship. (V.42) In the deepest sense, Christians belong to each other; they are joined together in the common life they draw from Christ and they are to show it by the sharing of that common life with the other members of the church.
Mutual care They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (V.45) As Christians we should be identified by caring love and loving care. To see where a brother or sister is in need and aim to meet that need where we can.
Evangelism And the Lord added to their number daily. (V.47). No church should be inward looking but should be acutely aware that there are people who need to hear the gospel message and need the warmth, protection and love of a church family.
How does your local church measure up to that picture?
Or, perhaps more pertinently, how would you measure up to being a member of such a church?
Its something to think about isnt it?
Father, search me and know my heart. See if there is any offensive way within me and lead me in the way everlasting.
Have a good week in the household of God.