A Growing Community
Acts 2:42-44, 47
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common…47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Merely because a congregation increases in size does not mean its “growth” pleases God. God-pleasing growth does not involve compromise of the truth. God wants us to grow numerically as well as spiritually, but faithfulness to God always takes precedence over growth in numbers. A cancerous tumor is a growth, but it is an unhealthy, life-threatening growth.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be a part of a congregation like the one described in Acts 2:42-47? WE CAN BE! If each of us will be what we should be: worshiping, reverent, unselfish, happy, and sharing. Remember the Bible is a mirror to help us look at ourselves, not a magnifying glass to allow us to inspect others.
Like our brethren in the first century when our brother is in need, we have a responsibility to help him with the basic needs of life (within limits); we have no responsibility to make sure he has everything he wants. Remember the word in the text is “need” not “want.” We should be ready to help him even if we have to sell what we have to do so. The key to remember, when the Christian’s “needs” are met the Christian can do the will of God! Think of what the brethren were able to do when persecution arose because their needs were met, “…At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria…4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.” (Acts 8:1, 4).
Let each of us follow the example of our first century brethren and help our brethren meet their needs so the Lord’s mission can be accomplished! It begins with a heart of generosity!
Puzzled Not Unbelieving
“Only two things do not do to me, Then I will not hide myself from You: 21 Withdraw Your hand far from me, And let not the dread of You make me afraid. 22 Then call, and I will answer; Or let me speak, then You respond to me. 23 How many are my iniquities and sins? Make me know my transgression and my sin. 24 Why do You hide Your face, And regard me as Your enemy? 25 Will You frighten a leaf driven to and fro? And will You pursue dry stubble? 26 For You write bitter things against me, And make me inherit the iniquities of my youth. 27 You put my feet in the stocks, And watch closely all my paths. You set a limit for the soles of my feet. 28 "Man decays like a rotten thing, Like a garment that is moth-eaten. 1 "Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble. 2 He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue. 3 And do You open Your eyes on such a one, And bring me to judgment with Yourself? 4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one! 5 Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass. 6 Look away from him that he may rest, Till like a hired man he finishes his day. 7 "For there is hope for a tree, If it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And that its tender shoots will not cease. 8 Though its root may grow old in the earth, And its stump may die in the ground, 9 Yet at the scent of water it will bud And bring forth branches like a plant. 10 But man dies and is laid away; Indeed he breathes his last And where is he? 11 As water disappears from the sea, And a river becomes parched and dries up, 12 So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep. 13 "Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes. 15 You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands. 16 For now You number my steps, But do not watch over my sin. 17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You cover my iniquity. 18 "But as a mountain falls and crumbles away, And as a rock is moved from its place; 19 As water wears away stones, And as torrents wash away the soil of the earth; So You destroy the hope of man. 20 You prevail forever against him, and he passes on; You change his countenance and send him away. 21 His sons come to honor, and he does not know it; They are brought low, and he does not perceive it. 22 But his flesh will be in pain over it, And his soul will mourn over it.""
God doesn’t mind questions; it’s doubt that He hates. For many wearing hours, the three friends of Job – Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar – accused Job of all kinds of evil. They spoke the kind of foolish words that the healthy and ill-informed often speak to those in pain.
O, how Job wanted to take his case to the Lord Himself! “Why did I not die at birth?” he asked the Lord. “How long? Will you not look away from me, and let me alone till I swallow my saliva?” (Job 3:11; 7:19).
Job’s words reflect the kind of torment we would expect from a godly man in deep pain. But God says nothing. Only at the end of the book does God at last break His silence. And while he answers not one of Job’s questions, neither does He chastise him for asking them. God rebukes Job for only one thing: doubting His righteous character (40:8).
Christians must never be afraid to ask hard questions of God, but neither must they demand that He answer. And no matter how dark our circumstances may grow, we must resist the temptation to doubt God’s holy nature. When we, like Job, through trembling lips confess the awesome majesty of God, we may at last be ready for the awesome blessing of God.
Use Your Bible!
Using your Bible answer the questions below
Theme #9: The Character and Attributes of God
1. In what one word is the character of God expressed? (1 John 4:8)
2. What are some of the attributes of God? (Psalm 145:17)
3. Does Christ possess these same attributes? (Isa. 53:11; Acts 2:27)
4. When proclaiming His name to Moses, how did the Lord define His character? (Ex. 34:5-7)
5. What is said of the tender compassion of God? (Psalm 86:15)
6. What is said of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises? (Deut. 7:9)
7. What is said of the strength and wisdom of God? (Job 36:5)
8. What treasures are hid in Christ? (Col. 2:3)
9. In what language is the justice of God described? (Deut. 32:4)
10. In what words is His impartiality proclaimed? (Duet. 10:17; Acts 10:34, 35))
11. To how many is the Lord good? (Psalm 145:9)
12. Why did Christ tell us to love our enemies? (Matt. 5:44, 45)
13. How perfect does Christ tell His followers to be? (Matt. 5:48)
“A Walk With God”
We will “search the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11) by reading through the entire Bible in a year for 2019. In this section of the Pekin Bulletin you will find the reading schedule to help you take “A Walk With God” so that you may grow closer to Him. This reading will be done in a somewhat “chronological order.” Enjoy!
01 – Jer. 50, 51
02 – Jer. 30-33
03 – Jer. 21, 34
04 – Jer. 37-39, 52
05 – Jer. 40-44
06 – Lam. 1-5
07 – 2 Chron. 36:1-8; Dan. 1-4
08 – Dan. 5, 6
09 – Dan. 7-9
10 – Dan. 10-1220 – Ezek. 36-39
11 – 2 Chron. 36:9-21; Ps. 137
12 – Ezek. 1-3
13 – Ezek. 4-11
14 – Ezek. 12-17
15 – Ezek. 18-20
16 – Ezek. 21-24
17 – Ezek. 25-28
18 – Ezek. 29-32
19 – Ezek. 33-35
20 – Ezek. 36-39
21 – Ezek. 40-42
22 – Ezek. 43-48
23 – 2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ez. 1:1- 5:1
24 – Hag. 1, 2
25 – Zech. 1-8
26 – Zech. 9-11
27 – Zech. 12-14
28 – Psalms 107, 126
29 – Ezra 5:2 to 6:22
30 – Esther 1, 2
31 - Esther 8-10