Place this Stethoscope from Scripture to Your Church’s Heart


Stethoscope

Place this Stethoscope from Scripture to Your Church’s Heart

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47

The first church was, “devoted to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayer; and everyone was filled with awe.”

This stethoscope is used to hear heartbeats from your church devotion, teaching, fellowship, and breaking of bread, which means community and doing it all in love.

What does the stethoscope “hear” from your church?

What is your church devoted to?

What and where is your awe and wonderment?

These will be the questions, and if answered honestly, will be the measuring rod to the health of your church. This passage in Acts gives us the purpose, vision, and call of the Church, both as a whole and individually. Not just a certain church down the street, but your church, and all churches together as one body. The healthy church looks like Acts 2!

This means we look like we are devoted to Christ and His callwe are teaching effectively, we are in fellowship and community with one another, we are forgiving and honoring of one another, and doing all we do in love. We also look like people who are focused on prayer and our growth in Him. It is not just what we look like, it is because we are. And we do this, with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. The healthy church can be your church; perhaps it already is, or maybe it needs to be reformed. So, strive to catch that AWE, that passion and devotion to our Lord and the reason for our being!

            Most churches that are failing did not wake up one day and just decide, “Hey, let’s fail.” They did not start off with “me first” intentions, ignoring our Lord’s call.

They probably did not choose a purposeful direction of being critical and condescending to one another, and especially not with non-Christians. They did not write their mission statements with a “how to do a disdainful disposition,” or hold seminars on modeling attitudes of puffed-up pride! Or let’s chase a meaningless trend and forget about God’s Word. There was a process that led up to the point of decline and apathy from a starting point of new birth and excitement. There was a point where the first love became clouded, and other dispositions took over the role of the church. Just as the divorcing couple did not go into their wedding with the vision and plan for the divorce, or say in their vows, “say, in five years, let’s become so miserable that we will divorce and live frustrated and disillusioned lives.”

Here, too, was a process that went from the love and excitement of newlywed bliss to bitterness, criticism, patronizing, defensiveness, and withdrawal, and finally, the decision to end the relationship.

How? By losing focus on Christ. By not being in the Word. By weak and irrelevant teaching with no Bible or application. By leaders who are not growing in the Lord. By tracing trends and not Christ as Lord. By accepting the ways of the world and not His Way?

What We Need to Learn for Today’s Church

In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? Psalm 56:4  

Now we need to learn why we should strive to be our best for His glory, He is the answer so we can start to build an effectual church of faith. Why? Because, people can be elusive and intolerant of Christians being stupid, we must strive to always be our best. Not judgmental, not prideful, not condescending; rather, listening with real faith, respect and the power of the Holy Spirit flowing Fruit of the Spirit in and through and out of us for His Glory. Then we can do church right!  

We cannot just jump in and grab; we need a way, and that way is His Way. We need a pan from God’s Word in which to be contagious with and for the faith, pointing others to Christ. We are not catch by force or manipulation, but show others why the Christ is better, why He is the answer. That is why we accepted Him, because He first came to us. When we have real capable faith a exhibited in Galatians 5:22-23 and know how to use His Word, we are better able to be used by the Spirit to explain Jesus to others.  

Most people are afraid to share their faith because they do not know what to say or how to say it. What to say is determined from the building of our faith and just live it out, be the product demonstrator of Christianity; the character gained will help make us ready to say it with love and care.  

Do you realize it is purely by Christ’s acceptance of us that we are saved in the first place?  

The Disciples were directly called and empowered by Jesus, just as we are today. We are given such incredible gifts and opportunities, which are not of our doing or earning. There is nothing that we can add to our salvation, such as good works or clean living, but we can and should respond to it. Justification means that God’s righteousness is covering us, protecting us from His wrath and punishment much like a blanket. It is like getting a speeding ticket, going to court, and having the judge declare you innocent, even though you were speeding. To God, you are clean, covered by what Christ has done for you. This creates our reconciliation to God. We were in perfect relationship to Him before the Fall, and now we are again in harmony. Because of justification, we can take great comfort and assurance in Christ. But, our response to what He has given does not happen overnight.  

Our faith has grace attached to it, but we also have responsibility with it. We will make mistakes and have setbacks, but He is there for us, carrying us through. Allow Him to do so. Do not have presumption; rather, pursue your decision.