Pursuing God's Purposes … Experiencing God's Grace

by Barry Newton
Pouring out their hearts before God that they might fulfill their mission, the young Jerusalem congregation had prayed: “grant your servants to speak your message with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal … through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:29,30)
They wanted the name of Jesus to be exalted. Their lives were consumed with the desire for Jesus’ story to impact the life stories of those around them. Even in the face of officials issuing powerful threats, this young church’s attention was riveted upon sharing Jesus.
What happens when the heart and soul of a congregation is galvanized upon fulfilling its divine purpose of being their Lord’s yeast in the community? The next couple of paragraphs from Acts are no accident.
Not only did they speak “the word of God boldly” (4:31) and the apostles proclaimed the resurrection of Christ “with great power” (4:33), but this family of believers were united “in heart and mind” and “shared everything they had.” (4:32). Indeed, the Christian community life they experienced can be summed up with “abundant grace was upon them all.” (4:33)
Individualism wanes while a thriving knit community arises whenever God’s people share a common ground more important to them than their personal competing self-interests.

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