By most estimates, the church in Acts had grown to about 20,000 members by the time it reached the events occurring in this week’s passage. Every one of those members was a new Christian. While they were unified in their faith and purpose, they were diverse in just about every other way. The church was now meeting both on the temple grounds and in homes. It consisted of Jews, some from Judea and some from the outer edges of the Roman Empire. Some of the were Gentiles who had converted to Judaism and then became followers of Christ. There were young and old, wealthy and poor, married and single, orphaned and widowed. How can we not sympathize with the twelve apostles, who were given the charge of shepherding this rapidly growing and unwieldy congregation?
It all quickly became too much for the twelve apostles. These week we find them facing two brand new threats, either of which could suppress the growth of the church and even eliminate it. These same threats have devastated whole churches and denominations throughout church history. While the early church was not a perfect church, it serves as a model to instruct us. Luke, the author of Acts, transparently reports on both the highs and lows of this young and growing body of believers. The highs serve to encourage us while the lows are there to warn and instruct us on how to address them.
So what can our church learn from the threats in our passage this week? What is your role in overcoming threats like these in our day? These are a few of the questions we’ll seek to answer when gather together this Sunday morning. Come join us for Christian education at 9:15, worship at 10:30 and fellowship to follow.