Mark Driscoll has a new book out called Vintage Church and Adrian Warnock offers the chance to win a copy for writing a post on one aspect of Church.
So here goes. Last night I was sharing with a crowd of people, most of whom are just starting out as followers of Jesus, what it means to be a disciple. I took as my text that wonderful account in Acts 2:42-48 of the early Church. I gave them four markers or signs of being a disciple and told them that Jesus followers seem to:
1. Be Devoted
2. Be Expectant
3. Be Open to others
4. Be Sincere and Joyful
Pretty standard stuff you might say. Well, I do agree. But it was 'Point 3' that challenged me most as I prepared to speak. The more I lingered on the thought of 'having everything in common' and 'sharing with each other as each had need' I wondered how this could ever have been possible. What made these Christians so different and what truth could birth such selflessness and love? Then it dawned on me, perhaps helped by my recent reading of 'Knowing God'. The early Church knew that Jesus followers were family. It is in families, where they are working well, that we are able to share, love, meet needs and put others first.
To be Church is to be a family with a loving Father at its head.
Here is Packer who seems to agree with me (actually more like I agree with him!)
"What is a Christian? The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father … If you want to know how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all."
– J.I. Packer
One thing confirmed this for me last night. As we finished singing the song 'This is our God' with it wonderful first line 'Your grace is enough' we had a time of praying out some prayers of thanksgiving. One friend simply prayed this:
"Thank you for being my Dad"
I guess that's it. Ten minutes off the top of my head which I am not at all sure will win me a book but there you have it.
Here's the song