Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Acts 9:31

Summary retelling of Acts 9:31

Now that Saul is on the scene, God has taken care of bringing peace to the church.  The first major wave of persecution is over, and the church can focus on building itself up.  People walked in the fear of the Lord.  People walked being comforted by the Holy Spirit.  The church grew.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
I love the fact that immediately after the story of Saul’s conversion ends and he flees Jerusalem we get the verse about peace.  It is one of the reasons why I wanted us to read just this single verse in the Bible today.  God knew what he was doing by making Stephen speak so courageously.  God was using Stephen to evoke an emotional response in Saul and God was going to use that response for His glory.  Now that Saul has been affected by God, God has all His “pieces” in play.  God is ready to go out and change the world once His pieces get enough experience.  This verse is a great summary of God using turmoil to get everything in position and then letting the church be at rest while they experience personal and communal growth.

Have you ever thought about the church in this context?  Have you ever thought about God using conflict and peace this way?

Second Thought:
The church is built up.  We are told clearly how the church is built up.  It’s really quite simple.  The church is built by people walking in fear of the Lord and by being comforted by the Holy Spirit.  In other words, the church is built up by doing the work of the Lord and by opening ourselves up to the movement of the Holy Spirit.  The church is built up by people actually doing what disciples should be doing.  The church is built up when people give up the pursuit of their own agenda and start following God.

Look at the churches that you see that are experiencing growth.  What’s the difference between those churches and the rest of the churches that you see?

Third Thought:
We are told that the church grew.  This is what churches are supposed to do.  When churches don’t grow, it is evidence that something is wrong.  Perhaps the people aren’t acting like disciples.  Perhaps the people aren’t humbling themselves before God.  For one reason or another, churches are supposed to grow and when they don’t there is evidence of some kind of problem or obstacle.

What kind of obstacles typically get in the way of church growth?  What kind of obstacles often get in the way of personal growth?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 9: 32-35
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