Times are rough and getting rougher. The entire world is facing horrendous turmoil, but Christians have answers. Or, should I say, we have access to the answers. Scripture is filled with prophecy, but too many Christians don’t bother to study. We seem more concerned with denominational teachings than what Scripture teaches, and we forget that we have a bond that is far beyond human understanding. We are bound together with our love for Christ. More importantly than that, we are bound by His love for us.
At first, there were just a few believers, but the numbers grew quickly. It was Peter who stood up on the day of Pentecost and gave a sermon that brought 3,000 men to faith in Jesus. Peter didn’t tickle any ears but spoke truth, and the results were amazing.
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).
What would you tell them? This was all new ground for the Apostles. None of them had attended a denominational seminary, so they hadn’t been taught how to twist Scripture to make everybody happy. Peter and the others had been taught by Jesus, and now that people wanted to join the group, Peter needed guidance from the Holy Spirit. Peter’s words would set a precedent for generations to come.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38-39).
These were the first of many who have come to faith in Christ over nearly 2,000 years. Those years were filled with much persecution and turmoil as well as joy and hope.
The early Christians coped with difficulties because they pulled together more than modern Christians. “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread and in prayers…. And all that believed were together and had all things in common. And sold their possessions and goods and parted them to all men as every man had need” (Acts 2:42 & 44-45).
They needed each other, and modern Christians could learn from them. Many Christians in this world are facing tremendous persecution. Their lives are in danger, and they have great need of our prayers. Even if we live in relative safety, there are still needs. There are brothers and sisters in your congregation who have lost loved ones and need someone to show compassion. I can tell you that from my own experience when my husband died. He knew how to repair the roof and fix the plumbing, but I’m unable to make those repairs, and it would be helpful to have a Christian step in and help. There are many others with similar problems. To many, just a friendly smile would mean a lot.
The first Christians truly cared for each other, but we seem to have lost the agape love that they had for one another. What has happened to make us stop caring? Life is very busy for most of us, and we don’t have time to think of other people. If we look at the above verses, we see that they didn’t stray from the truth. There were no best-selling books with new ideas that contradicted what the Apostles taught; no purpose-driven or new-age teachings infiltrated the congregation. Those early Christians lost a lot by embracing Christ. Many were shunned by family and friends, and their businesses failed because their customers wouldn’t use their services. Their fellow Christians made sure everybody had what they needed to survive. We need each other today, just as our forefathers in the faith needed each other.
Most of those early believers came from the Jewish community and had heard Jesus speak, saw His miracles, and had also seen Him crucified; they couldn’t un-hear or un-see what He had done. Some had seen the risen Christ.
“And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:5-6).
Paul wrote those words many years after the day Peter spoke on Pentecost, so those listening to Peter may have witnessed the risen Christ. The testimony the first believers had was tremendous, and their faith was unshakable. Those first believers learned directly from the Apostles. Peter had risen to leadership of the believers, and life was challenging for all who chose to follow the new Christian faith.
The Temple had been the hub of life for the Jewish people. Friends were there, business deals were made, and widows and orphans were cared for. Once Christ was embraced, they were no longer as welcome in the Temple, and many were rejected by family and friends. What could they do? Persecution was making life unbearable for anyone who professed Christ for salvation. Many were driven out of Jerusalem, but whether they fled or stayed, they needed each other.
How did they survive? They depended on each other. They took care of each other, and if there was a need, they made sure it was taken care of. Do we see that kind of brotherly love today? How many people in your congregation are hurting from the loss of a loved one? Do you take care of widows and orphans? If you sit in a Baptist church, do you care about the needs of people who sit in a Lutheran church? We are all one in the love of Jesus.
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
As Christians, we all belong to the family of God. Most people will help their own family members because they love them. That’s not a bad thing, but Christians are family, and we need each other. I’m not promoting that we continually help someone who doesn’t even try to help themselves, but a smile will cost you nothing financially and just might help a lonely Christian feel as if someone cares.
Looking back to Acts 2:42, we see that the Christians didn’t deviate at all from the Apostles’ teachings. This is a huge problem today. How many times do you hear someone say, “My Jesus wouldn’t…” or “My Jesus understands why I….” There is only one Jesus, and His words and actions are found in Scripture. There isn’t a Jesus for me and a different Jesus for you. Those early Christians didn’t “go to” church. There was no church to go to! They met together daily and at home and prayed together. Since they were steadfast in following the Apostles’ teachings, there were no denominational issues. There were no liberal congregations, and not even the Apostles were lifted up above laity. Only Christ was worshipped.
No, Peter wasn’t a pope, and nobody was venerated more than anyone else. Early on, there was concern that some people weren’t cared for equally. “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration” (Acts 6:1).
Believers were multiplying, and it seems there was some neglect. It was decided that seven men would be chosen, men who were full of the Holy Ghost and were wise, to be sure all were treated equally and received the help they needed. There had to be organization, but it was all done only after praying for guidance. I’m not sure how often today a pastor will pray about a need in the congregation and seek God’s guidance. Do they first seek their denomination’s blessing, or do they seek God’s will first? I’ve also seen that many congregations spend much time and money caring for non-believers while fellow Christians are left in need.
In this day and age, much of the needs of people are turned over to the government. Welfare, food stamps, and other government programs fill the physical needs of people, but the spiritual needs are sorely neglected. Christians shouldn’t have to depend upon the government for care, but Christians should also be the example of working for what we have and helping our brothers and sisters who are in need.
Christians need to exhort one another to be steadfast in following Scripture. In order to do that, we must fellowship with believers. Too many Christians think church on Sunday morning is enough fellowship with fellow Christians, and the really pious believers even attend Sunday evening and Wednesday services. That’s only man’s traditions. If you re-examine the verses in Acts 2, you’ll see a better picture of their fellowship.
“And they continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (Acts 2:46).
They did go to the Temple, but they stayed together and weren’t drawn back into old ways. They needed each other. The writer of Hebrews addresses this issue.
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (for he is faithful that promised:) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is: but exhorting one another and so much the more as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
Assemble together with fellow Christians. Instead of spending your time with secular friends, share a meal with brothers and sisters. Instead of fellowshipping with CNN or ESPN, fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ. This verse says, “as ye see the day approaching.” What day? The day we will all be called Home. That day is approaching quickly.
Things will continue to become more wicked, and it will become more difficult to remain steadfast in our Christian walk. Public schools are the devil’s playground, and it’s becoming illegal to voice a Christian point of view. That day is approaching, and we need each other more and more.
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
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