We have looked at some of the signs that accompanied biblical revivals. But how will community revival impact the lifestyle of Christians? That is a difficult question to answer because lifestyles are significantly impacted by cultures, and there are many different cultures both throughout history and in our world today. Obviously, we will live more intimately with Jesus and be more dependent on him, but how will this change our priorities? Let’s look at how the revival commencing at Pentecost impacted the lifestyle of the early Christians, and then try to extrapolate some principles. Today’s reading follows on from yesterday’s Scripture. As you read, look for lifestyle changes that could impact you in revival.
SCRIPTURE: ACTS 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
It is a mistake to see the lifestyle described in this passage as normative for the whole of the early church. It may appear that the early Christians lived in idyllic Christian communities without any problems as they shared meals and possessions and support and worship. However, this is not true. We find in the New Testament letters that many of the early churches faced the same tensions and problems that we face today. The Christian lifestyle described here flowed from a revival. God was on the move in extraordinary ways. For example, people were being added to the church every day.
But this description of lifestyle in the early Jerusalem church does give us some clues as to how our lifestyle might change as God moves in revival. First, there will be a greater passion to spend time with God and grow in relationship with him. These revival Christians were at the temple every day as well as learning from the apostles and spending much time in prayer. It will be interesting to see how this desire for time with God meshes with our hectic Western lifestyles. I suspect some things will have to go.
Second, we will want to be together more to encourage and disciple and serve and share with and pray with each other. While the Jewish culture 2000 years ago was more communal than our contemporary, individualistic culture in the West, these Christians took community to the next stage. There is a huge emphasis in this passage on being together: in the Temple, in homes, around meals. Even generously sharing money and possessions. It is not that these early Christians had oodles of spare time and cash. They worked all day with no weekends. Most were quite poor. They just loved each other and wanted to share together in every way. In revival, unity and fellowship will be strong.
Third, we will have a much stronger awareness of the presence and power of God. These early Christians experienced numerous miracles. They saw God adding new people to their church community every day. No wonder their hearts were glad and they were filled with awe. Even their neighbours were impressed. As God works in greater power, it will be exciting for us. Our expectations of God’s presence and power will grow.
Where will all this fit into our present daily routines? I am not sure really. Maybe our access to social media and technology will help us connect together more often. All I know is that things will change. There will be significant sacrifices along with wonderful new experiences of God.
Lord I recognise that revival will bring change and some of that change will be costly for me. Maybe I will have less time or money for myself. Maybe I will be called to give up things I really enjoy. But bring it on Jesus. I want to be filled with awe. I want to love others more deeply. I want to see new Christians daily.
PRAYER FOR REVIVAL
These early believers had been mourning the death of their Messiah. They felt their hope was gone. Then within 7 weeks they not only had a risen Saviour but were in the middle of your powerful new revival work. Many of us have waited a long time for community revival Lord. Please bring it on.