May 22, 2018

Devotion Displayed

Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

—  Acts 2:42

Our passage for today has been used in countless settings not only to encourage but also to warn. The warning sinks in when we recognize the distance between this picture of the early church and some of our own church practices today. The encouragement comes when we understand that the church is still alive, thanks to the Holy Spirit. There are principles to be noted, explored, and followed.

The key element we see in this picture of the church is devotion. We see devotion toward God and toward building community, in following Jesus’ teaching and in calling on the Lord in prayer. This devotion is seen; it is visible. In the Old Testament, God called his people together to display his blessing and care to the nations (Genesis 12:3; 28:14). This continues in the New Testament.

Then and now, the church is to display God’s love and grace to a world that wonders who God is and what God is about. In Acts 2 we see a church that has open hands, hearts, and homes for others. Their praise to God and enjoyment of one another is contagious and ­attractive.

I imagine it was also messy. Can you imagine going from 120 people in fellowship to more than 3,000 in one day? And then growing more and more as time went on? In the midst of the mess of being together, God keeps building his church—one life at a time.

Dear God, thank you for every person we can connect with today. May we show them a joyful devotion directed to you and displayed to all we meet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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