The Favor of All the People
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 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, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
This morning in the men’s bible study, we looked in depth at these 5 verses from Acts 2 (I have a tendency to go kinda slow!!!). We had a great discussion on this picture of the early church in its ‘honeymoon phase’: on their devotion to learning about and growing closer to Jesus and to one another, to caring for and serving one another, and to their unity.
But one idea stuck out for me, especially in light of Sunday’s message (and the “What in the World?” series we’re in the middle of):
The early church “enjoyed the favor of all the people.”
That is to say, the world around them took notice of the church, and appreciated their presence in town. In fact, they were “filled with awe” (2:43). The impact of the church was clear, strong, and most importantly, it was good.
To use the language from Acts 1:8, and from Sunday: the church’s witness in the world – its public witness – was a good one.
So good in fact, that people were added to their numbers every single day. What an exciting time for the movement of Jesus’ followers known as the church.
And it got me thinking, what is the ‘public witness’ of our church, here at Central Baptist?
Is it a good one? Does it point people to the love and light and life of Christ? Does it actually engage real people in the Bayshore? Do the people of our area appreciate, or “favor”, our church as they did then? If so, why? If not, why not?
These are the questions that are ringing around in my head after this morning’s bible study. They’re the same questions that have been ringing around my head as we’ve done the “What in the World?” series. And they’re the same questions we’ve begun to ask on the Missions & Evangelism Board. They’re the kind of questions that will drive that board’s work together. They’re the kind of questions that excite me. They’re questions that we’d love to hear your thoughts on.
And they’re the kind of things I want to continue to ask you to pray FOR.
As you hopefully have heard, on Friday night we had a Parent’s Night Out. We had about 20 kids, most of which were not connected with Central at all. THANK YOU to all the volunteers who came out and led freeze dance, played on the hardwood floor with toddlers, helped with crafts, and everything in between. It was an awesome night for a lot of reasons, but first and foremost, because of the public witness it was.
There were kids who were inconsolable because they didn’t want to leave.
There were parents with tears in their eyes because their kids don’t have any friends, but were happily playing here with new friends.
There were couples (like us!) who got to enjoy a great night out to strengthen our marriage.
On one hand, it was a chaotic and exhausting night of childcare. On the other hand, it was a word spoken to the world, that
we are here for you, because God is for you.
I’m excited to find new ways to share that word – that witness – with the world around again and again.
So let’s pray FOR it.