Recently I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Tim at the Prairie Tabernacle in Three Hills, Alberta. He was talking about the early church, how they were cut to the heart with the truth of the Gospel (Acts 2:37), and because of the Truth they began to live differently.
When people commit to something new for the first time there is always a huge learning curve. Why should choosing to believe in Christ be any different? How do we live differently after deciding to be a Christian? Who is going to help us understand what living differently looks like?
Acts chapter two tells us that one of the first things we do is get baptized (v38). Going under the water means dying to self, coming out of the water is living as Christ (Romans 6:4), but how do we live that out after the baptismal service is over and the tank is drained dry?
Many people call themselves believers or Christians today, but there is no evidence of their faith claim.
Pastor Tim continued in Acts and reminded us of the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). Many new converts believed and their actions and speech aligned. They were hearing what was being preached, and living radically different. Ananias and Sapphira liked the looks of the early church, but thought they could believe in Christ and mix a little of their own agenda in the pot. They wanted God’s way and their way at the same time. They said one thing and did another. Does any of this sound familiar? Their decision to believe and yet do what they wanted resulted in their death. Their death was immediate. Today many so called believers are dying a slow death. They have accepted Christ and the freedom He promises, but are not experiencing that freedom. They are not living their faith out.
This phenomenon has got me asking how we the church can help new believers immerse themselves in the Truth, and experience new life? We could ask, “Do new believers want accountability in their life?” but I think the better question is, “Do we the church understand part of living differently is understanding our responsibility to disciple and teach and hold one another accountable?” It isn’t enough to simply celebrate someone’s faith decision. We are called to walk along side one another and live differently – together.
But guess what? It means work (Phil. 2:12). Peter warned and pleaded! (Acts 2:40). And if we don’t warn and plead? Well then perhaps we don’t love Him, or love others. After all ‘love’ today means something far different than the love Christ displayed through his death on a cross for you and me.