What does true Christian community look like? We have a snapshot in the early chapters of Acts, in the weeks and months following Pentecost.
Let us leave out of the discussion those things that marked the epochal change from the Judaic aeon to the Christian aeon—the mighty rushing wind, the reversal of Babel in the outpouring of tongues, the flurry of miracles. Instead of that, we should focus on those things that have been characteristic of countless movements of the Holy Spirit down through church history. This sort of thing has happened regions, towns, congregations, denominations, and nations.
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:46–47).
True revival results in an outpouring of praise to God. It results in true and sincere worship. It overflows into shared meals together. It results in the Christian church having “favor” with outsiders. The characteristic demeanor of a forgiven people, a people forgiven on a large scale, is gladness and simplicity of heart. A cleansed people are a happy people. And last, it results in explosive evangelistic outreach. When God kindles a fire in the church, He loves to stoke it with wood brought in from outside.
All this is the gift of God, so that means that we cannot just grit our teeth and make it happen. But we can recognize what it would look like if God were to give us this gift. We can set that vision before our eyes, and we can pray for it. We must pray for it. As we build community methodically, as God enables, we must keep it before us that God knows how to do this thing much more rapidly than He is currently doing it. We should have a mind to work, and lean into it, but at the same time long for and pray for reformation and revival.
Let us leave out of the discussion those things that marked the epochal change from the Judaic aeon to the Christian aeon—the mighty rushing wind, the reversal of Babel in the outpouring of tongues, the flurry of miracles. The reverse journey, the epochal change from the Christian aeon back to a Judaic aeon, is nearly complete, with the transitional stage of Judeo-Christianity about to come to an end, having served its purpose. This fundamental upheaval of the world, this remaking, has been more gradual than the one at Pentecost, but has been accompanied by a far greater number of spectacular… Read more »
“a far greater number of spectacular signs and wonders”
“We can set that vision before our eyes, and we can pray for it. We must pray for it.”
How we love to stare at a couple of trees in the corner of the forest. The problem with myopically gazing lovingly at the “epochal change from the Judaic aeon to the Christian aeon” in the first place is ignoring what God has done, and continues to do, throughout the history of our race in other places and with other peoples beside the Jews and self-identified Christians. Even our Scriptures testify to the catholic nature of His Spirit’s work. Abraham acknowledged the result of the Spirit’s work in Melchizedek. But most of our conservative Presbys & Lutherans would keep him… Read more »
I respectfully disagree with the commenters below. Your view of Christendom is centered on the western world where, indeed, it is under attack and responding poorly. Meanwhile, a mighty army of believers is being quietly raised up right under our upturned noses. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/05/20/think-christianity-is-dying-no-christianity-is-shifting-dramatically/