I am blessed to be given the opportunity to minister with the Keller church of Christ. Our church family is one who deeply loves the Lord and cares about one another. Recently, I began to consider the ways we as a church have grown more into the image of Christ. There seems to be one major focus occurring organically which reveals our heart for others.
I feel we are developing more of a heart for benevolence. Why do I feel that way? Because I have seen firsthand a very large group of our families, roll up their sleeves and begin assisting others. We have a group of single ladies organizing a ministry, overseen by our eldership, for those who attend our congregation. This ministry will provide food, financial assistance, and counseling services for those among our church family. We have some of our F4 fellowship teams who have “adopted” a few families from the community who are in need and provide them with food and gifts. I also have seen families come together to aid those in need of help moving, by boxing up belonging, loading those boxes in moving trailers in order to help those members moving into other locations. These are only a few examples of which I am personally aware, yet realizing there are many more examples which are kept low-key or even private.
As I consider the great work of our church family, I am reminded of the great work of the church in Antioch. Acts 11:27-30 reads as follows, “Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.”
Here we find were the prophet Agabus predicted a great famine during the days of Claudius. Claudius was the Roman Emperor from A.D. 41-54. History records the severe crop failures and famines in various parts of the empire during his reign. The Christians in Antioch believed the prophet’s prediction and each of them determined to send relief to Judaea even before the famine occurred. These church family members sent the money by personal couriers, Barnabas and Saul to the elders. This is the way it should be done as the elders are the overseers of the local congregation.
Jesus stated, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”(John 13:14-15)
James shared, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27)
Paul shares, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
Here in the book of Acts, we read about a church which practiced benevolence. However, have you taken the time to consider the blessings received from these hearts of sacrifice and deep concern?
The church was edified
This was a church @ work. They were actively ministering and caring for one another. As a result everyone was edified. When we, as the Lord’s people, assemble together with a mind to work, great things occur. Nehemiah states, “So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work” (Nehemiah 4:6). We must be people of deep concern for one another and have the compassion of Christ. The church in Antioch worked and as a result they had peace and prosperity.
The Gospel was preached
All throughout the book of Acts we read of preachers who PREACHED. In Acts 6:2 we find the emphasis maintained by the apostles to keep their daily schedules open so they could tell others about the good news of Jesus Christ. “And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.” A few verses later we find, “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (vs. 4) and as a result “The word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” (vs. 7). Soon after these followers of “The Way” and many others began to face continual persecution for the message of the Messiah they preached. Yet, these men loved the message of the gospel and its power so much; they gave their lives for it.
When the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) is preached, mankind is able to understand its greatest need; the forgiveness of sin (Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:6-10) and the only remedy for that sin is Jesus Christ (John 14:6, Acts 4:12; Romans 8:1).
For Deeper Study
For your personal devotional time, I strongly recommend you set aside the time to carefully examine the following passages and the meditate on them as your prayerfully consider ways you may live them out within your personal life.
- Fellowship with one another – 1 John 1:7
- Love one another – John 13:34-35
- Members of one another – Romans 12:5
- Devoted to one another – Romans 12:10
- Honor one another – Romans 12:10
- Rejoice with one another – Romans 12:15
- Weep with one another – Romans 12:15
- Same mind toward one another – Romans 12:16
- Not judge one another – Romans 14:13
- Accept one another – Romans 15:7
- Counsel one another – Romans 15:14
- Greet one another – Romans 16:16
- Wait for one another – 1 Cor.11:33
- Care for one another – 1 Cor. 12:25
- Serve one another – Galatians 5:13
- Bear one another’s burdens – Galatians 6:2
- Be kind to one another – Ephesians 4:32
- Forgive one another – Ephesians 4:32
- Submit to one another – Ephesians 5:21
- Bearing with one another – Colossians 3:13
- Encourage one another – 1 Thess.5:11
- Build up one another – 1 Thess.5:11
- Stir up one another – Hebrews 10:21
- Be hospitable to one another – 1 Peter 4:9
- Minister gifts to one another – 1 Peter 1:10
- Minister with humility to one another – 1 Peter 4:10
- Speak no evil against one another – James 4:11
- Not grumble against one another – James 5:9
May we each consider the impact of service to one another and power of the gospel. Our Savior was sent to this earth to bring us the message of the gospel and to die as part of that message. May the Lord bless each of us as we humble serve one another thus, serving the Lord.
If this post served as a source of encouragement to you, please take a moment and share it with others. Thank you.