The Advent Part 86
Acts 2:46-47, “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God had having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
With these two verses we come to the end of a long and arduous journey, one that revealed to us not only the advent of the Holy Spirit, but also the birth of the Congregation of God, the Ecclesia, or the Church. The Acts of the Apostles, from a historical standpoint, presents the Church at its inception, and the gospels and epistles are written to the Church for instruction, edification, rebuke and even correction.
Although throughout history men have attempted to insert themselves, their traditions and their ceremonies, the Congregation of God knows that the Word of God, the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit are sufficient for the salvation of man, for his sanctification, and for the life of the Body of Christ here on earth. We either doubt the divinity of Scripture, and the completeness thereof, or we acknowledge that Scripture is enough for the wellbeing of the church. We either believe the Word of God and submit to its authority, or as rebellious children attempt to find loopholes and justifications where none exist, in the hope that we might ease our burdened consciences.
In the beginning, the church was still tethered to the temple, and so they continued daily with one accord in the temple. Slowly but surely the Holy Spirit was maturing the first believers, growing them in knowledge, until the light of the New Covenant overwhelmed those practices which had been ingrained into their daily lives. What we must understand is that we must keep the teachings of the apostles, and not the practices of the apostles, thinking that only by going to temple will we see the presence and power of God.
The temple in Jerusalem was the harvest field of souls for the primary Church of Christ, not the place where they rejoiced and had fellowship. Here, in the temple the Disciples of Christ did not pray, nor sing, nor break bread, they did none of the things that constituted intimacy with God and with Jesus; they simply preached the gospel to those who were unsaved.
Acts 5:42, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”
The temple was a work of the Old Covenant, a shadow of the living Temple of the New Covenant, and those who were born again creatures of the New Covenant went to the temple teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
It took a while for the new believers to understand the truth of the New Covenant, to understand that they were now living stones, they now made up the temple of God rather than a building of brick and mortar, and beginning with Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews, then to the Galatians, the Romans, and the Colossians we see how the Christians of the day came to understand the truth about the living House of God.
Hebrews 9:11, “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.”
Hebrews 10:19-22, “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
1 Corinthians 3:16-17, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
The House of God of the New Covenant, the temple of God in which the Spirit of God dwells is no longer something made with hands, or of this creation, but rather your heart and my heart and the hearts of all those who worship the Christ have been made living temples, holy and undefiled unto Him.
Just as the first Christians continued daily with one accord in the temple, we must also daily continue in the temple of truth and love that is Christ Jesus. It is the Christ who opened the door to the Holy of Holies that we might be in the presence of Him who is and was and is to come in perpetuity.
When we are in His presence daily, when He is our delight, then all that we do we do with gladness, and simplicity of heart. Whether it is breaking bread, being a comfort to a brother or a sister, preaching the gospel, or extending a helping hand to someone in need, we do it with gladness and without any hidden agenda or ulterior motive.
Sadly too few today do unto God with gladness, and fewer still do what they do with simplicity of heart, having no other purpose in that which they do than obedience to the Father, and submission to His will.
The ‘what’s in it for me’ mentality has seeped within the house of God, and unless we get some sort of accolade, unless we get a plaque on the wall, or a mention from the pulpit, a special thank you applause, or some sort of recognition we drag our feet, and are slow to do our part in the house of God. May you be known for doing all things with gladness, and with simplicity of heart, knowing that the Father sees that which you have done in secret, and He will be faithful to repay you at the appointed time.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.