“And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met.” (Acts 2: 44-45, MSG)
It is the too-little told secret of church growth. Loving churches grow. Cold churches don’t.
That’s the story of the early church, too. They loved each other deeply. Acts 2:44-45 says, “And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met.” (MSG)
That’s radical love. The Roman government hated Christians. It was illegal to be a Christian. The Romans often tried to kill believers. But even the Romans would say that Christians really loved each other. You know it must be true if the enemies of the Church would say that! But the early Church was known for exactly that kind of love. It is the same kind of love that drew people to Jesus. The Bible said the early Church grew on a daily basis.
We all want that kind of growth in our churches. The way to achieve that is to love like the early Church. We call that fellowship—or being as committed to our fellow believers as we are to Jesus.
There are two reasons people haven’t come to Christ. They don’t know any Christians–or they do! People want to be around those who love them. When a church genuinely loves others, you will have to lock the doors to keep people out.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.