Last night we told a couple of stories from Acts at Drink Deep and this story seemed to make a big impact. Apparently God smiting people down in the New Testament Church caused a wee bit of a ruckus leading to all sorts of discussion from God's love to the end of America. So today I just wanted to add some things to think about.
First, there was the question of why God doesn't act like this today. Some even wondered if God had changed. I don't think God changed, but we have. Let's just ask if God were to suddenly strike someone dead in church today, would we acknowledge it as God? Would we see it as His call to holiness? Would our people and our leaders turn to God in a way like never before? Probably not, so if it's not going to get across the message God wants, I don't see why He would do it (He's pretty smart, He knows what works best).
But then there was the question of why God would do such an act anyway. People lie to God all the time today, but they don't die for it. I think the big question is where's our level of commitment is at. Anyone who's done any leadership type thing with me hears me say this all the time, the higher up you go, the higher the expectation. This was a church with a high level of expectation, people gave up their lives, their finances, their time, their own personal goals, this was a church that was 100% committed to Jesus Christ and His work, every single person in the church was involved in Christ's work in some way. With that level of commitment, there was a high level of expectation. In today's church, do we have that commitment? Even anywhere close? So then why are we surprised there's also not that level of expectation? You can't expect and enforce a lot from people that have low commitment.
Likewise, I'm not one that thinks we should need a sign from God to do what is right. If you say you're going to do something, you shouldn't need a punishment to convince you to act. I'm not saying I'm perfect at it, but it's one of those levels of expectation I try to put on myself. If I should do it, I should do it.
The main point of the stories yesterday was the commonality of hospitality; whenever the opportunity arose the people of Christ gave everything for others. In the story of Lydia the Holy Spirit overwhelmed her with hospitality and she supported an entire church herself (at least at the beginning). As we talk about this again next week at Drink Deep take a look at the stories in Acts and how people welcome new members of the Church, or even how new members treated the people that had just showed them the truth. Go back to the idea of us living up to a higher expectation without needing to be forced, where are we at?
Sorry this was longer than normal, still nothing compared to our discussion(s) last night. If you haven't been involved, it may be something to try!