I have been reading through the epistles lately, especially the letters of Paul, Hebrews, and 1 and 2 Peter. It seems that, over and again, they warm those they were writing to about false teachers who were infiltrating the church and leading many astray, doing so for profit and to satisfy their lusts. I would find this odd, but one only has to turn on the TV or the radio to see that there are many who are following this same path, getting wealthy from the Gospel of Christ. How is it we are led astray so easily? How is it our homes and families are pulled from the Authority of Christ and led in to simply being "moral and good people?" Simply, we're devoted to chasing after teachers that suit our own desires, or as Paul puts it, tickle our itching ears. We're devoted to our own wants, wishes, and desires, building our faith based on Pop-Culture, movies, and thought-leaders who look like what we expect Christians to be. We're not devoted like the first church in Acts. The First Church in acts were people who heard the words of Peter and were "cut to the heart (Acts 2:37)." They received the word that Peter preached, repented were baptized. They became born again (Acts 2:38-41). How? What did they do that we don't? They devoted themselves: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. They set aside their old way of life, crucifying it with Christ, and burying the flesh in Baptism with Him, rising as new creations. Having cast off their flesh, they devoted themselves, not TO themselves, but to the Word of God through the Apostles Teaching, to one another through Fellowship, to the Lord's Supper and intimacy with God and one another through the breaking of the bread, and to seeking intimacy with God through coming before Him. They were all in for the Father through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Their whole lives were transformed, renewed, and dedicated to pleasing the Father. And what happened? The Lord kept their numbers growing. If we are changed by the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our lives should be dedicated TO the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which He told us to go and preach everywhere. If we want to see Jesus, we will be devoted completely to Him in all we do. Everything else is simply glorifying ourselves. So which are you devoted to? Acts 2:37-42 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.