I have been studying the book of Acts for some time now. During my study I have discovered there are two keys to the health of the early church. First and foremost, the Apostles were devoted to gospel preaching. Second, the people were devoted to gospel relating.
The preaching of the gospel matters. In every chapter, at every turn, in every decision, you see the gospel message – Jesus lived, Jesus died, and Jesus rose. All of the Acts of the Apostles includes reference after reference to Christ and His saving message. The Apostles were relentless in proclaiming the Gospel message.
The initial deacon ministry was formed around that purpose:
And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.”
Additionally, the growth of gospel relationships matters. A church can have great gospel preaching, yet unless the people are living out the gospel with one another, the church will not be healthy. Time after time, the reader of the Fifth Gospel will discover how the people of the church were devoted to one another.
The priority of maintaining gospel relationships is found in this summary of the Jerusalem church:
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and 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.
At CrossPoint, I think we enjoy a healthy relationship between gospel preaching and gospel relating. Many people join a church due to the gospel preaching. But they stay in a church due to the gospel relationships they share. Let’s keep doing both.