Is it just me or is there a nagging disconnect between what I read church was like in the New Testament and what we see today in Western Culture? Is it just me or do you wonder if there's something more to being a Christian other than just going to church on Sundays, reading your Bible, praying, and trying to be good?
It's the same question most of us ask after we have a life-changing encounter with God. How can we go back to living our normal every day lives? How can we do that, knowing what we now know! Knowing that this world, this life, isn't the end. Knowing that God loves us so much that He made the ultimate sacrifice of His Son to rescue us and give us eternal life? I mean, it's so exciting!! It's so incredible? How can we ever be the same?
I had no answer to give him. For me, I just did the things I saw other good Christians doing (see above list). I did the things I was told to do until eventually I blended in with everyone else in the world as I went to work and raised a family and went about my business. Trouble is, that's just what my husband did too. But is that all there is?
Then I read the New Testament, in particular ACTS and I'm in awe of the lives these early Christians led.
Here are some differences I see from today's church
Today Early Christianity
Church meets in large buildings Church met in houses
Christians are spectators, listening to sermons Everyone participated in the meeting
Pastor has ultimate authority over church Levels of leadership were spread among people with
different gifts (1 Corinthians 12)
Lord's supper consists of wafer and juice Lord's supper was sharing a meal with fellow believers
Miracles are the exception Miracles were the norm
Most church growth is stunted Church growth exploded
Fellowship restricted to private groups or meetings Lives were intricately tied together to help each other.
Some churchgoers tithe their 10% Christians gave everything to provide for the poor
Church flooded with nominal Christians Christians on fire for God
Can you think of more? I realize these early Christians didn't have the funds to build churches and later on, they were hunted down and persecuted. But I've also heard currently in countries such as China and India, secret house churches are on the rise and Christianity is exploding. Your thoughts?