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It is easy to talk about New Testament church life. It is much harder to practice it.

Posted by on Mar 6, 2012 in blog links | 7 comments

It is easy to talk about New Testament church life. It is much harder to practice it.

This morning, I was minding my own business when I ran across a new post by Dave Black. Once again, in a few sentences, he directly expresses something that I’ve been trying to express for months – maybe years.

In my previous post, I wrote that life in Christ together as the church is not about being perfect. Instead, it’s about continually changing and maturing as we seek Christ together. Dave’s post is a great example of this:

Aren’t you amazed by the book of Acts? I am. Its principles for Christian ministry and church structure are so radically different from what is taught and practiced in so many of our churches today. (Can you really see Peter and his wife on a rooftop promoting their new book on sex?) Here’s the problem. It is easy to talk about New Testament church life. It is much harder to practice it. I am very grateful for pastors at Bethel Hill who have taught us the major themes of Acts, including biblical eldership. It gives me renewed hope that things can actually change. So what if we fail? It’s better to try and fail than to sit around and do nothing. Acts has so much to say about church planting, missions, evangelism, church polity, and so much more. No book is more relevant for our times. But with knowledge comes responsibility. Obedience to Christ must be wholehearted. Jesus cannot work through disobedient disciples. If we want to see a genuine Great Commission resurgence in our day, we must get serious about obeying our risen Lord. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we sin either by commission or omission and are not quick to repent. The first Christians sought not only to understand as much as they could the “apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42) but to obey it, whatever the cost. If they were here today, I imagine they would be watching Bethel Hill Baptist Church very closely. They would tell us not to be afraid of the Holy Spirit, of His sensitive touch, of His guidance and power, of His desire to empower the church so that we might believe and obey. Their example stands like a lighthouse to us in our drifting. They would remind us that obedience is not a luxury. It is a top priority if a church is to grow and prosper.

Will you agree with everything they are doing? Probably not. But, hopefully, you can be excited, like me, that they are seeking to follow their Lord, even when it means changing their practices. (I’d prefer they seek to follow Jesus than to follow anything that you or I might say, right?)

In fact, the point here is not about agreeing with the changes they are making even. I don’t even know what those changes are. But, it’s exciting whenever any group of believers recognizes that they are not perfect and that there is room to grow closer to patterns and practices that we see described in the New Testament.

Like I wrote at the end of my previous post: “There are no perfect churches. But, there should be no static churches either.”


7 Comments

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  1. 3-6-2012

    good stuff. Thanks for posting.

    Alan.. there is a perfect church.. His name is Jesus haha :)

  2. 3-6-2012

    Swanny,

    I thought Jesus was the head of the church?

    -Alan

  3. 3-6-2012

    You pass.. I was testing you.. :)

    Just kidding. You are right. I was trying to be funny and it backfired :(

  4. 3-6-2012

    ‘No static churches’ – or static Christians, I would add. I think it’s so sad when Christians see nothing better than to just get through the next week or the next day, without any longer-term sense of God working his purposes through us.

    For sure, we’ll all have times where it is all we can do to make it through the day or to the next weekend when we can collapse and recover from the stresses of life. But that shouldn’t be the usual pattern of things, should it?

  5. 3-6-2012

    Swanny,

    You should have warned me that it was a test. I would have studied.

    Kevin,

    Yes, exactly! The question is, do we see a pattern of growth and change? Do we see a recognition of the need to grow and change and a readiness to grow and change, even if we don’t know where that growth and change should be?

    -Alan

  6. 3-6-2012

    We must applaud all movement towards growth, and in experiencing Jesus. The static phrase is truly descriptive, and thee is no call for static people, or fellowships.

    The following is from my current read, it seems to fit:

    1-To love Jesus with all that is within you. This is the first and greatest command. Everything else flows from here.

    2-To share your daily life with him; to let him be himself with you. On the beach, at supper, along the road—just as the disciples did.

    3-To allow his life to fill yours, to heal and express itself through yours. There is no other way you can hope to live as he did and show him to others.

    Love Jesus. Let him be himself with you. Allow his life to permeate yours. The fruit of this will be… breathtaking.

    Now for the best news you will ever receive. O, how I wish this book had a sound track, because the orchestra would resound here with a crash, and then go utterly silent as you read these next words:

    You get to.

    You get to.

    You are meant to have this Jesus, more than you have each new day, more than you have your next breath. For heaven’s sake—he is your next day, your next breath. You are meant to share life with him—not just a glimpse now and then at church, not just a rare sighting. And you are meant to live his life. The purpose of his life, death, and resurrection was to ransom you from your sin, deliver you from the clutches of evil, restore you to God—so that his personality and his life could heal and fill your personality, your humanity, and your life. This is the reason he came.

    Eldredge, John (2011-10-12). Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus (p. 140). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

  7. 3-7-2012

    Jim,

    Thanks for the quote. Yes, “We get to.” Isn’t that amazing?

    -Alan