In Acts 2, the early church is described this way. “They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and to the fellowship, and to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” They got their joy from Jesus, but they expressed their joy and they experienced their joy as they did those four things.
I want you to notice the mood in these verses. There isn’t a hint that anyone said, “You have to go to church.” Or the opposite, “Aw, do I have go to church today?” Nobody had to decide between watching TV or playing golf or reading a book and going to church. Nobody went out of a sense of duty. You couldn’t keep them away, because of the joy they found there in these four things. More than likely, if we’re missing joy in church, it’s because one of these four pillars is missing from our church or our lives.
Let’s explore them together. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][tweetherder]Early believers had joy in church because they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching.[/tweetherder]
What did the apostles teach? Well, look at what Peter taught in his Pentecost sermon. He taught Jesus—who he was, what he did, what it means, how he was the great and final revelation of God and God’s will and God’s salvation. When Jesus left this earth, he said to the apostles, “Go into all the world and make disciples, teaching them all that I have commanded you.” That’s what they were doing in those days after Pentecost, and it brought great joy. Of course, it would and it does.
I mean, in a world full of confusion about how to live and how to be saved, about the meaning of life and the nature of ultimate reality, what an incredible gift it is to have God’s clear authoritative word for your life. In a world full of bad news and hopeless situations, what a gift it is to have the Good News of great joy which is for all the people. No wonder these first believers devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. It was simply the best thing they had ever heard, and they couldn’t get enough of it.
If there isn’t joy in the church today, maybe it’s because we aren’t teaching what the apostles did or we aren’t devoted to it anymore? Who have you “taught” lately? What challenges your devotion? Is your first list short and your second list long…I think most people’s are. Maybe we have to turn that around to live joyfully.
[fusion_fontawesome icon=”adjust” circle=”yes” size=”medium”/]Joy in the Church Blog Series