The effect of the Apostles on the first century landscape was incredible. They were able to see 3,000 people come to know Christ on Pentecost. Everywhere they went they saw people following them, coming to Christ, and creating churches.
What is the difference between our time and theirs? Well, there are few things that they did differently that come to mind, and I’d like to share these observations with you and see if you have some others.
They Spent A Lot of Time in Prayer
After Christ went back to Heaven he gave the Disciples a command to wait for the Spirit. So, what did they do? They went back to the Upper Room and prayed. They did this constantly until the Spirit came on in power– but they didn’t stop praying. In fact, we see through out Acts that when they were captured, they went back to where everyone was praying. They realized that they would only be able to do what God wanted them to with His strength.
Today, we spend a whole lot more time doing than we do praying. We come up with our plans, and start to carry them out. We do a lot on our own strength and in our time rather than in His strength in His time.
They Lived Like That Day Could Be Their Last
There were a couple of things that the Apostles were told by Christ before He left that contributed to how they lived their lives. One was that He would come back. This was real to them– they weren’t skeptical, and they truly believed it would happen in their lifetime. Secondly, they were told that they would suffer and could die for their faith. As they followed Jesus, they could expect the persecution that they faced.
Today, we don’t live like this day could be our last. We live like we have plenty of time to pray for someone, to witness to someone, and to do the things that we know we should be doing. We don’t truly expect to do anything that would get us real persecution. To some degree we aren’t seeing a lot of physical persecution here, so we think it doesn’t exist.
They Focused Their Message
Whether they were healing the sick, preaching or creating churches everything was of single purpose– the Great Commission. When they healed, they pointed people to Christ. When Paul walked in to give the sermon on Mars Hill, it was all about bringing people to Christ.
I think that there are times where we can get so focused on our doctrine (which is not wrong considering it’s part of the teaching and making disciples aspect) and defending our beliefs that we forget that we’re supposed to be about seeing people saved and making disciples. It’s never wrong to have an answer for those that have something against the faith– and therefore it’s not bad to do research and think about Biblical things, but we need to be all about one thing when we’re talking to the unsaved. We need to see them saved.
Can you think of some others?