Jump Start # 2557
Acts 5:14 “And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number.”
We love powerful verses like this. Growth. Success. The word of God being preached and the word of God being believed and obeyed. What is fascinating is seeing where this passage fits in this chapter. Up to this point things were going well. Occasionally, the apostles were told not to preach or spent a night in prison, but nothing too serious.
As chapter five opens, we read of the deaths of two Christians. Biblically, the first Christians to die. They were not martyrs. They didn’t die taking great risks for the kingdom. God struck them down in a form of punishment. They had lied. God wouldn’t tolerate that. And, in the course of a very short time, both husband and wife were dead. Fear came over the church. And, it’s in this atmosphere that our verse is found. The apostles didn’t fall back and regroup. They didn’t take a few days off. They didn’t let people catch their breath. Onward they preached. And, as they preached, the kingdom grew.
This is a great reminder for us in these awkward times of a world wide virus. It’s easy to just hunker down and hold on until all passes. So many things we can’t do now. Most Spring Gospel Meetings have been cancelled. But in the midst of all of this, the kingdom can continue to grow. Out of difficulties, trials and hard times, good things can happen. They can happen if the people of God continue on as we ought to.
Here are a few thoughts:
First, rather than sharing all the toilet paper jokes on social media, which some are really funny, why not post things about your congregation’s website? Tell others of the resources that your congregation is offering. People may look at something like that before they come to a church building. Facebook and Twitter are great places to spread the gospel, especially in times like this.
Second, many people are scared. Panic drives people like a mob. Some get caught up in things without thinking things out. A steady voice. A reassuring confidence. Pointing people to the Scriptures and the Lord can go a long way in helping people see the big picture and that God remains upon the throne.
Third, being stuck at home with the kids is a great time to grow closer, lead them spiritually and help them to see through problems. The examples we put before them may help them for the next crisis. Do they see you giving up? Do they see you not worshipping because we can’t get to the church building? Do they see you still talking about the goodness of the Lord and finding hope within God’s word?
Fourth, this is a great time to show family members the truth of God’s word. Some will fly off the handle. Some look at this as a political conspiracy. But to show throughout the Scriptures that there have been earthquakes, famines, wars, hardships, and even persecution upon the people of God. Some don’t understand this. They’d assume that if God was God then His people would always be sheltered. The world sees no value in trials and suffering. The people of God know differently. The world dreads death. The people of God know that it’s nothing more than passing through a door into another room in God’s house. Things do not work out as we often plan. Many have had to cancel vacations. Many have had to make changes in their routines. We can complain, gossip and be bitter about those things, or we can be thankful to the Lord.
Fifth, hard times often leads on to focus upon the problem and not upon the Lord. This is a time for prayer. We need to pray that this virus ends. We need to pray for the leaders of our community and nation. We need to pray for those in the front lines of medicine. They are exposed often to the virus. We need to pray for our shepherds that they keep us connected and growing. We need to pray for our older members. They are at the highest risk. We need to pray for ourselves that our lights will shine and that we can be an example to others.
Sixth, we need to look inward and see what all of this is doing to our hearts, souls and attitudes. Are we getting overcome by all the gloom and doom on the news? Are we slipping spiritually because we are not worshipping in a church building? Is our faith defined by the church building? Through this crisis, am I walking closer and closer to my Lord?
In Acts 5, a couple died but the kingdom grew. Sure is something to think about isn’t it?