KHANDIE'S KORNER - January 5, 2003

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Timely Insights into God's Word from Khandielese Reyes

I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.This Weeks Message- (scripture taken from King James Version)

"And The Church Grew"

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the Apostles.  And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.   And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  (Acts 2:36-47) 

The earlier church flourished greatly, grew rapidly, as men and women hearts opened wide to receive the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Daily, new believers were added.  What would make these “earlier” seekers so eager and desirous to hear the truth that they would ask the Apostles: what must I do to be saved, and yet today there are not many seekers pounding on the doors of the church to hear about the one who laid down his life that we may live?  What did the Apostle’s have that we apparently are missing today?   We are preaching the same Jesus, and yet their speech caught the attention of the hearer.  What has our speech been like?  Let’s examine the earlier church, and then let’s examine ourselves and perhaps we may discover the areas where we lack, and in the process learn a great lesson on how the earlier church operated and how we should be following their example.   

First lets clarify the “Church”.  The church was and shall always be The Body of Believers.  Therefore, our examination is not with the “building”, but with parts and members of the Body of Christ, being “The Church” of which the Lord added to daily such as should be saved.   

When studying the “Acts of the Apostles”, a few things immediately caught my attention regarding their service to the Lord and how through all things they sought to glorify Him.  The first being their obvious desire for the lost sheep to hear the truth and receive the gift of Eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  They sought not the praise of men, or to be seen of men, but the expectation in their preaching was the hope that souls would be won to Christ.  They preached the word of God with boldness, lacking nothing in their speech, nor compromising one word.  They didn’t say what the people wanted to hear, but spoke what the people needed to hear.  What was first and foremost on their agenda was that through their preaching, hearts of men and women alike would surrender to the Lord and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Thus, they went about preaching and teaching THE WAY to salvation and eternal life was through Jesus Christ our Lord.  They spoke with passion and truth about our Lord Jesus and the crowd was moved to hear their speech and receive their words and because of this, many new believers were added daily.   

The second thing that caught my attention was their love for one another that brought to my mind the Lords words which the Apostles through their obedience fulfilled: “By this they will know you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” They not only SPOKE the words of LOVE, but DEMONSTRATED their love one for another. They had all things in common and none lacked, for with cheerfulness of heart these believers “sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” Surely their open display of genuinely caring for one another, their willingness to give and share with one another, their true brotherly love caught the attention of those who also heard the word.  So not only did seekers have opportunity to “hear” the word, but also to “see” the word manifested in the lives of these earlier believers.  Their genuine love for one another made it desirable for those who were looking from the outside, to want to come in and join this awesome fellowship of love.   

Finally, the other thing that immediately caught my attention was the honest and genuine JOY of the LORD they had!  They served the Lord with gladness and joy of heart.  Through their struggles they had joy; through their hardship they had joy; through the ministering of the gospel they had joy; they made JOY a public display to the people.  And the people were witness to having seen there was actual JOY in serving the Lord.  Not hardship, not with difficulty, but with JOY!  This gave visible meaning to the scriptures: “The JOY of the Lord is my strength” for no matter what these believers were faced with, they remained joyful in the Lord. 

Now, if we (The Church) examine ourselves today, can we honestly say we are following the example of the earlier believers?  Are we ministering the gospel to be seen of men, or do we as the Apostles did, truly desire to see hearts changed and lives surrendered to Jesus.  Peter and the others went where the lost was to share the Gospel and did not wait for the lost to come searching for them, are we doing the same?  The harvest is truly plentiful but the laborers are few!   Is our outward display towards one another that of LOVE?  When unbelievers look at the church today, do they see a body of believers who TRULY love one another and are demonstrating this love for one another, or do they see believers who are in strife and division, disputing and arguing, and speaking evil of one another?  Is our behavior towards one another turning people away from the church and ultimately away from Christ?   And, are we demonstrating to the world how joyful it is to serve the Lord, or have we laid heavy burdens of man made rules and regulations upon one another that we ourselves are unable to keep?  When an unbeliever looks upon the church do they see members full of JOY or members struggling to be perfect and despising themselves because they may fall short? 

The Earlier Church grew as the Lord added to them daily.  Let us this day EXAMINE OURSELVES and if we are not even close to operating in the manner of the earlier church, we must NOW REPENT!  For judgement comes quickly, and it will begin with The Church!

I love you all so very much. Have a blessed week in the Lord and remember: Whatever we do, do ALL for the GLORY of GOD, who ALONE is worthy of the GLORY and the PRAISE!

May the peace of the Lord be with you today and always…….

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