Have you ever tried to picture yourself as being a Christian during the first century? Ths study asks some questions to see how you would respond had you been living at that time
1. Would You Have Been One? -- Not everyone in New Testament times obeyed the gospel (Rom. 10:16). Would you have been willing to do the things required to become a Christian? It was necessary for one to hear the gospel (Acts 2:22), believe in Christ (Jno. 8:24), repent of your sins (Acts 17:30), make a public confession that you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in water "for the remission of your sins" (Acts 2:38), to be in Christ (Gal. 3:27), and in His body, the church (1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:24).
2. Would You Have Been Content To Be A Member Of The Church Of Christ? --- Those in the first century, who obeyed the gospel, were "added" to the church of Christ, by the Lord Himself (Acts 2:47). In fact, this was the only church in existence at the time! Paul refers to "the churches of Christ" (Rom. 16:16). These churches were various local congregations of the church of Christ, they taught the same thing and followed the pattern of worship and work given to them by the apostles who were led by the Holy Spirit.
3. Would You Have Been Just A Christian?-- Folks in the first century were just Christians. It had been prophesied that God would give His people a new name (Isa. 56:5; 62:2; 65:15). This took place just after "the Gentiles saw God's righteousness" (Acts chs. 10 and 11). "And the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch" (Acts 11:26). Christians were what Paul tried to persuade men to be (Acts 26:28). Peter penned: "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name" (1 Pet. 4:16).
4, Would You Have Been Satisfied To Be Among The Few, And Not Follow The Multitude? -- Some today are not content to be in such a small group; they prefer to be counted with the greater numbers. The Lord's people have always been among the few, or in the minority. It is written in the fifth book of Moses "The Lord did nto set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were fewest of all people" (Deut. 7:7). Jesus put it this wey: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way; which leadeth unto life, and few there be tht find it" (Matt. 7:13,14).
5. Would You Have Worshipped Like The Lord Arranged? -- God has always regulated how He wants men to worship. Under the first covenant God said; "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me..." (Exo. 20:3-5). First century Christians were told; "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (Jno. 4:24). In fact, "they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and prayers" (Acts 2:42). The prophet of old wrote: "in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee" (Heb. 2:12).
6. Would You Have Done Just The Work God Planned For Christians To Do In The Church Of Christ? -- Few, today, seem to be content to just do the work God planned for the church to do! Spiritual work is divided into two parts: (a) the work of individual Christians, like those in Acts 8:5, "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the Word." They shared with others (Acts 4:32). They also edified others (Gal. 6:1,2). (b) Then the church engaged in evangelism, benevolence, and edification (Eph. 4:12,16; 1 Thes;. 1:8; Acts 6:1-6; 11:27-30; Phil. 4:15,16).
7. Would You Have Tried To Involve The Church In Social Affairs? -- There is
no indication that first century Christians built and maintained family life
centers, recreational halls, kitchens, gyms, and the like. They only established
churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16). In fact, Paul informed the Romans, "For
the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace and joy
in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17). When the Corinthians tried to turn the
Lord's Suppr into a drunken feast, Paul reminded them, saying: "What? Have
ye not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the church of God, and shame
them that not? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I praise
ye not" (1 Cor. 11:22). Then he said: "And if any man hunger, let
him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will
I set in order when I come" (1 Cor. 11:34).
By Johnie Edwards in Truth Magazine, Vol. 53, No. 2, Feb. 2009.
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