Author: P. D. Mathunny
The Church is not the work of man, but the work of God. He made the Church. He constituted it and put it together. If you will look at Acts 2:41, 47 you will see that it was the Lord who prospered this infant Church in Jerusalem by adding to it those who would be saved. In other words, the early Church was spiritually constituted by Christ. It was openly committed to Christ, and was gloriously united in Christ. Above all it was dynamically empowered through Christ.
We have to adopt many things into our lives as a scriptural pattern of the Church. Notice the word “together” in Acts 2:44. They were different in age, background, and temperament, but now having trusted in Christ and been added to the Church, “all that believed were together.” They were “all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28). Unless we are in Christ, we can not maintain unity in the Church. This is why so-called “churches” fail in ecumenism. The early Church maintained unity in diversity. They grew together. They fed upon the Word together. They spent much time together. They remembered the Lord’s death together. They prayed together. They shared spiritual and material things together. They rejoiced together. (Acts 2:42-47). It is a pattern for us today. The greatest need today is for God’s people to copy the pattern of the early Church.
I do praise the Lord for those who are following the example of the early Church, even in this modern world. But the sad thing about certain churches is that they keep the pattern only inside the church, therefore the Lord cannot add anyone to the Church. We are not getting new souls born into the Church. Many churches exist because of biological birth, not by spiritual re-birth.
Let us go back to the early Church. The record does not end with chapter two of the Acts of the Apostles, it goes on to the next chapters. We learn that believers are saved to serve. Their service consists of taking life to lame and helpless humanity. Take a look at the man described in the third chapter of Acts. In him we see a picture of humanity without God, for he is lame, he is helpless, destitute and more concerned about material needs than spiritual needs. He is near the temple but outside it. Peter and John took the gospel and offered salvation to this man. That is the job we have to do. That is the mission of the Church in this world. That is the eternal purpose of the Church in this world. This was Jesus’ program. (Luke 4:18-19). It should be ours as well. (John 17:18; 20:21).
“Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, Lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.”
The method of the mission of the early Church was going out and making contact with the world. This was what Peter and John and the apostles did. Jesus’ command was to go out to the world. It was a military command. If we are faithful to Jesus, we have to obey this. We are to take the gospel, the message of love and grace of God, to the people where they are. We are made fishers of men. “Fish” do not usually come to the church. Fishermen have to go where there are fish.
My dear friends, let us make a decision that, “I will do my best for the glory of the Lord Jesus and for the extension of His kingdom.” If you make this decision you won’t have to go alone. The mighty Lord is with you. He assures you that “. . . All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matt. 28:18-20.
“Rescue the perishing, Duty demands it,
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way, Patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Saviour has died.”