Theme: Relationships in times of revival
‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.’ Acts 2:42
There is a couple in my church who have been married for 42 years and like most married couples, they have had some ups and downs. About two years ago she was diagnosed with lymphoma and started on the long process of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Her husband responded with true devotion. He learned to cook and took over much of that duty. He went with her to every treatment and was with her every step in her emotional and physical trial. When I see this, I can easily comprehend the meaning of the word ‘devotion,’ but what does it mean within the context of church life?
The early church was characterised by the devotion of the believers to the apostles teaching, communion, prayer, and each other. If we could travel back in time, what would we observe that would help us understand the nature of their devotion to each other? Well, for starters, we would observe many of them selling off some of their possessions so that the less fortunate among them could have food, clothing and accommodation. Now, the commentators are probably right when they observe that many of the disciples would have been from out of town and would not have come prepared for a lengthy stay. They would have come up to Jerusalem to observe the feast of Pentecost and then return home. They would not have possibly known that they would get saved, filled with the Spirit, and bonded into the Jerusalem church. But this does not detract in any way from the generosity and community-mindedness of the believers, in fact it enhances it. It is one thing to financially support long-term Christian brothers and sisters but quite another to liquidate assets to care for people you hardly know and who will probably not stay for too long. Yet this is precisely what these early disciples did. Why? It is wonderful yet humanly improbable. And that is the precise point. The Holy Spirit came with power and created a unique and distinctly supernatural devotion in the hearts of the members of the church.
In revival times it seems that something similar happens. Our ingrained self-interests and stubborn insecurities are swept aside and we see beyond ourselves. The Holy Spirit blows away our materialistic indoctrination and we are freed to give sacrificially, generously, and unconditionally.
So, before we say, “Come, O Lord, and send revival upon us,” it might be wise to count the cost. What do you think?