Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The First Century Ecclesias

"IN this twentieth century we like to think of ourselves as “First Century Christians”, holding faith, keeping the truth, and following the example of our brethren of so long ago. What were those first century ecclesias really like?

First of all, the early ecclesias were praying ecclesias. Jesus had given them the example in his lifetime of prayer, sometimes all night long (Luke 6:12). One hundred and twenty disciples, including Jesus’ mother, prayed for ten days in the upper room (Acts 1:14). The ecclesia all prayed again, and were answered (Acts 4:31–33), and when Peter was thrown into prison, prayer on his behalf was answered by his release by the intervention of an angel (Acts 12:1–19). Yes, the early ecclesia was indeed a praying ecclesia, a force that bound them very closely together.

Secondly, the early ecclesias were giving ecclesias. That poor widow gave all her living. The Almighty had given his only Son, and in response the early ecclesias gave all their material possessions to be divided among all, as each had need. They also gave their time willingly in service for their Lord (Acts 2:44–47). Yes, the early ecclesias were giving ecclesias (Acts 4:34–35). This also bound them together.

Thirdly, the early ecclesias were going ecclesias. “Daily in the temple and in every house they ceased not to teach and to preach” (Acts 5:42). “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the Word” (Acts 8:4). They went round eagerly, preaching with conviction and with power, and within about thirty years had covered the “world” of the Roman Empire. They were all willing instruments in the hands of the Almighty, and they were aided by the power of the Holy Spirit, but even so it was good going!

In this twentieth century it would be pertinent to ask ourselves “Are we praying disciples, are we giving disciples, are we going disciples?”"

- John V. Collyer
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The Christadelphian : Volume 122 Bd. 122. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1985, S. 122:211-212