Recently, I’ve been reading an excellent book on Acts called Thirty Years that Changed the World by Michael Green.
I highly recommend it to our church family as we continue our study of Acts this spring. In one section of the book, Green describes the extraordinary lifestyle of these Christians by identifying nine characteristics they held in common. These character qualities provided great credibility to their words when they shared the Gospel. Let’s reflect upon them:
- Dedication: The first century believers set out to follow and obey their Lord Jesus no matter the cost.
- Enthusiasm: The early church believers lived with an extraordinary enthusiasm for the Gospel as they knew its power to radically transform lives.
- Joy: Joy seems to erupt off of every page in Acts. And ironically, the harder life gets, the greater the joy!
- Faith: These believers had an exceptional faith that broke down serious social barriers in their day and world.
- Endurance: Their courage and consistency in the midst of harsh opposition is inspiring.
- Holiness: These were a people who celebrated their freedom from sin by avoiding sin and living above reproach.
- Spiritual Power: The book of Acts is full of demonstrations of God’s power working in and through his followers.
- Generosity: These first century believers made major financial sacrifices for each other because of their love for God and their love for God’s people.
- Prayer: Prayer was a noticeable and regular spiritual discipline for 1stcentury Christ followers. We find them praying in virtually every chapter of Acts.
Lifestyles such as theirs, truly opened the door for the Gospel. It’s been said, “preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.” The truth is, it is necessary to use words to communicate the Gospel, but these words must have an authentic Christian life behind them. In short, we earn the right to share the Gospel to the people God has entrusted to us by living godly lives. I look forward to our church corporately growing in the character of Christ as modeled by the very first church. For them, it truly was thirty years that changed their world. So, how about us? Will our lifestyles give us the credibility we need to change our world for Christ? I say, “Yes. Lord Jesus, make it so!”