I apologize for the fact that it has been half a millennia since I last updated my blog. Yes, I have been busy, but that is no excuse. We are all busy and we are all capable of making time for the things we care about.
I have been in the process of reading through the book of Acts 30 times. It has been very challenging but so incredibly convicting and eye-opening.
It is sad to say that for the most part, the church in America has become an irrelevant institution. Of course there are many factors that play into this such as politics, lack of leadership, hypocritical acts by the church, etc but has it ever struck you that church was never supposed to be a building? Before I dove into the book of Acts that’s what I thought church was, people getting together on Sundays, singing some songs, listening to a guy with a polished message, eating some donuts and coffee, and then going home to begin the week. This is never what church was meant to be. It is simply how we do church in America.
When I read Acts, I am blown away by how POWERFUL the first church was. Crippled people were healed, dead people were raised back to life, and literally THOUSANDS of people were baptized and became followers of Jesus Christ. The book is quickly becoming one of my favorite books of the bible! I have learned so much but there have been 2 themes that have really convicted me as I have studied the Acts of the Apostles.
1. BIBLICAL Fellowship.
I grew up in a Korean church when I was little. Every Sunday after service, moms would take turns cooking lunch for the entire church. Downstairs in the basement we had a “fellowship” hall which is where we would eat. The hall was also used for youth group, sunday school, and other gatherings. Therefore, growing up I thought that is what fellowship was. Getting together, eating, talking, just spending time with one another.
In Acts fellowship was more than just a gathering, it was an unstoppable movement. Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-37 gives us some of the best views in all of scripture of what BIBLICAL fellowship looks like.
” And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” – Acts 2:42-47 (ESV)
“2 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” Acts 4:32-37 (ESV, Emphasis Mine)
The words “one” and “together” come up over and over again throughout this book. The idea of BIBLICAL fellowship was more than just spending time with one another. It was unity, the idea that these people were closer than family. So deep that “there was not a needy person among them” (4:34). Yes, I believe that building relationships is important and there is a time and place for that. But BIBLICAL fellowship occurs sparsely in America today, one of the reasons we don’t tend to see the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
2. Perseverance Through PERSECUTION
The more I read through Acts, the more I realize that I don’t get persecuted enough for my faith. It is because of my lack of boldness. It is pretty despicable and I am no where close to as bold as the first believers were.
In Acts 5:17-42 the Apostles have been arrested for disobeying the high priest’s command to stop telling others about Jesus. Take note that this is not the first or second time that they have been arrested for their boldness. Eventually they are freed but before they are let go they are beaten and charged once again not to speak in the name of Jesus (5:40). What stuns me is their reaction to persecution.
“Then they left the presence of the council, REJOICING that they were counted WORTHY to SUFFER DISHONOR for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they DID NOT CEASE teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” – Acts 5:41-42 (ESV, Emphasis Mine)
Are you guys picturing this?!? These guys just got beaten, like PHYSICALLY BEATEN for sharing Christ and they walk out celebrating like Lebron James would if he won a championship. Think about how discouraged we tend to get when we are “persecuted” for our faith in America. The apostles treated persecution as the greatest honor for a follower of Jesus Christ. To even be associated with the person of Jesus Christ was an utmost honor to them and it should be for us as well. Because if we are not willing to face bold opposition we are not ready to be boldly used by God.
Everything I have learned can be summed up into one statement: I don’t want to go to church anymore. I don’t want to go to church because the church was never supposed to be a building. The church was supposed to be an unstoppable force, unlike anything that this world has ever seen. Therefore I want to stop going to church and I want to start to BE the church. I want to start to BE the church to my roommate and my suitemates. I want to BE the church to my teammates, coaches, trainers, and fellow student athletes. Ultimately, I want to BE the church to Spartan Nation and the world who needs God’s love so desperately.
It is time that we stop going to church and start being what was meant to be the most powerful force on earth: the body of believers.
Your Friend, Derek Kim