The Stealth of Good Works

Some of the first disciples we read about in Acts chapter 2 provided one of the best examples of a group of people who exhibited the Kingdom of God in their lives together. They formed a community, and it was clear that God was ruling and reigning in their lives through the power of the Holy Spirit and by God’s grace through Jesus. Acts 2:42-47 says this:

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. (NLT, emphasis added)

In my context at UALR, we are trying to allow God to create a space in which his reign is evident. It is our hope that he would add to our number daily those who are being saved. With Acts 2 in mind we:

  • Devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching. We study Romans together on Wednesdays; we study Hebrews in a smaller group Thursday mornings; and we study one-on-one or individually as well. We recognized God’s Kingdom when we are saturated by his Word.
  • Fellowship and share with one another. Those to whom God has given freely, freely give. The group at Genesis spends time together regularly, eating and sharing every gift we have been given in Christ.
  • Pray together. We have a special prayer time Thursday mornings and Fridays at noon.
  • Worshipping together. Much like Jesus says in Luke 19:40, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” With no dedicated time (other than Sunday mornings) for worshipping in song, the students at Genesis began to spontaneously worship God in song together one day and they simply have not stopped since.
  • Work to enjoy the goodwill of all the people.

This fifth point reminds me of a story Chris Wright tells in his book: The Mission of God’s People. It’s a story of love so great, so radical, that it demands the world’s attention.

Wright explains that around the year AD 250 we know that in the midst of poverty and sickness in Rome, the Christians there had begun to care for approximately 1500 needy people every day through food programs, orphanages, and hospitals. They cared for believers and nonbelievers alike.

Christians had become “the greatest social force in world history.” So much so that by AD 350, “Emperor Julian…became fearful that Christianity might TAKE OVER THE WORLD FOREVER by the stealth of good works” (Loc. 2903, emphasis mine).

I believe that if God begins to reign in our world, or in our city, or in our community, that the fear Emperor Julian felt so long ago would become a reality today. Radical love would urge God’s people to humble service that would forever change the world around us for the glory of God to the ends of the earth.

Morgan Hines

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