If you read about the early church in the Book of Acts, you will see a drastic difference between today’s Christianity and the church described in the Book of Acts. Extraordinary events today were ordinary for first century Christians: healing, dead being raised to life, hundreds coming to Christ every day, miracle after miracle after miracle. So I dug into the Book of Acts to answer this question, “What did the early Church do that Christians today are not doing?” This post is a part of a series of posts that aim to answer this question.
I grew up hearing about persecution and how we should stand up for what we believe in even when we are persecuted.
In sixth grade, my older brother had a really cool cross necklace made from bent nails that he got at a “D.C. Talk: Jesus Freak” concert. One morning he gave me permission to wear it to school. Of course I was jazzed about this because I would be COOL. I wore it all day and I remember in gym class another guy named Jacob called out to get my attention, “Hey Cross Boy!” I got really excited when he called me cross boy. I remember leaving the 6th Grade locker room with a big smile on my face thinking, “YESSSSS, I’m being persecuted for Christ!” Being called a name like this was hardly persecution but I didn’t realize that in 6th grade!
As I studied the book of Acts, I was shocked at what the Early Church went through in order to tell others about Jesus. Right
here is a huge list. They had opposition to the gospel EVERYWHERE they went! After the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7, persecution broke out against ALL Christians. Now we’re not talking about calling them “Cross boy” — I mean serious persecution! Serious enough that everyone MOVED and scattered all over the region. I can only imagine they were running for fear of their LIVES. Yet this life threatening persecution drove them CLOSER to Christ and they told others about God ALL THE MORE!
So let’s compare this with American Christianity. There are two things I think the early church had that we are missing. We aren’t driven to Christ, and we back down at persecution.
We aren’t driven to Christ. When the early Church was persecuted it stirred their faith even more. In America, especially in the Midwest region, we aren’t stirred in our faith. We don’t have extreme persecution. If there is to be a revival we MUST be stirred in our faith. I’m not a prophet nor do I feel I am prophesying, however I want to make a PREDICTION (based on my own gut instincts and not on anything God told me). I predict that the economy will get much worse than it is right now. I predict the value of the US $ will plummet and financial difficulties will turn hearts back to the Church, and then to God. God wants ALL of ALL our hearts – and he’ll use an economic depression if that’s what it takes to get us stirred in our faith. We must be driven towards Christ!
We back down at persecution. This is an understatement. American Christians DON’T back down at persecution – American Christians do not live loud enough for the slightest speck of persecution to arise! We are petrified of being persecuted! Christians are the only religious followers who seem to be scared to tell others what they believe. Very few American Christians get any sort of persecution because they don’t do what they believe in the first place. This is a significant problem. I’ve heard it said, “If you don’t have someone mad at you, you’re probably not making much of a difference.” I think there’s a lot of truth to that statement.