A scene from the early days of the Church offers us a lesson about effectiveness for us today.
[Darris McNeely] One of the things we sometimes ask ourselves in our role as a disciple, a follower of Jesus Christ, how effective are we? Are we really accomplishing something with our obedience, with our works, with our service to people, to God, to His Church?
You know, the story of the Book of Acts and the role of the disciples in the early church can help us come to an answer on that question.
There was a scene in the early days of the church in the fourth chapter of the Book of Acts where persecution begins to come out against the church in its earliest days. Peter and John have healed someone in the temple. And that creates a great deal of following and people are listening to their message about the kingdom and about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His role as their Savior. The Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews in the temple, they don't like it. They bring Peter and John before them and they question them. They then tell that "We're doing this all in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the one whom you kill." The Jewish leaders don't like it. They kind of give them a little slap on the wrist and say, "Don't do this anymore." But they say, "Well, we have to. We will." They leave. They go back to their followers. And they recount to them what they have done.
And as they're in a small group setting in Chapter 4, the church kind of rejoices over what has happened, and the fact that the power of God is quite evident in the actions that they are taking. And they make this statement. It is actually a prayer in Acts 4, beginning in verse 27, 28, and 29 here. They say to God, "Lord, now pay attention to their threats and grant to your servants to speak Your message with great courage." The disciples were threatened by the Jewish leaders. The disciples are praying to God, "Please give us courage while You extend Your hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs and wonders through the name of Your holy servant Jesus." This was their prayer to God in a collective prayer. When they had prayed, it says, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God courageously. It's like God took His little finger and just kind of reached down and shook the room that they were all gathered in and praying in to give them an encouragement that, "You're on the right track. What you're doing is of Me. I'm supporting it. Keep doing what you're doing." And they were encouraged. They were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
The disciples in their early days in the church, they were a praying group of people. When they were faced with a difficulty, opposition to what they were doing, they got together, they read Scripture, and they prayed to God. And they were effective. And their works were works of God and God supported that. And there was fruit born from what they did.
When we look at that in our own life, how effective are we? How effective are we in the larger church?
This is a good story to go back to, to recognize the elements of what they did. They supported one another, they read Scripture, and they prayed to God. And that was the core of their plan. That was their strategic plan. And God was behind them at that time. And they were effective. Something to think about, when we worry and wonder about what we're doing, what you're doing with your life and your service before God.
That's BT Daily. Join us next time.