Today’s reminder is from Jon Moffitt, Pastor of Grace Reformed Church in Spring Hill, TN.
Paul and the apostle – I’m sorry – Peter and the apostle stand up on the day of Pentecost, and they preach the gospel. Three thousand people are saved. By the way, have you ever thought about how big that is? That’s a lot of people: 3000 people. Now, they just entered into the faith by grace through Christ alone.
Do you know what it is they did right after that? Read Acts 2:42. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching – which is probably where we got the apostles’ creed – teaching and the fellowship, meaning spending time together, to the breaking of bread, which is communion, and prayers. Back up and read it again.
They devoted themselves to it. I think we can look and see in verse 43, “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.” All of a sudden, you see that the power of the spirit comes to life, where? When the body of Christ gathered around his word and trusted in his word. As James says, they were doers of the word; they didn’t just hear it.
So what’s interesting is that when we think about strength, when we think about, okay, when I am weak, and I am dry, and I cannot see clearly that God should be praised and that I accomplish his will, and I want to do my own will, and I want to do it my way, and I’m wrestling with it, what do we try?
Well, I just need to come up with a plan to work harder. I need to be more disciplined. What’s interesting is that the church for 2000 years has been called to devote themselves to the word of God, but we don’t devote ourselves to the word of God. We devote ourselves to ourselves, and then we just tack the Bible onto it.
I might be stepping on toes now, but I’m okay with it. Trust me. I sit across the room from people weekly, and I hear how heartbroken they are and how they have tried for years to find hope and rest. And I think about how there are clear instructions in God’s word and how he feeds you and cares for you and upholds you, and yet we don’t devote ourselves to those means. We devote ourselves to our own wisdom. We devote ourselves to the wisdom of the world. And so when I present that God will care for you, God will strengthen you, he will uphold you if you come to him as he’s commanded. If you devote yourself to that, I think we’ll be able to say with Paul, “I can do all things to Christ who strengthens me.”
The will of God becomes my food. It becomes the thing that I long for, and I don’t need health. I don’t need wealth. I don’t need the world to recognize me. I don’t need them to clap for me. My wife and I were talking about this yesterday. That as a pastor, at times, I get praised. Hey, that was a really great sermon.
Hey, you did a really good job. Hey, that shirt, you did a great job ironing it today. I appreciate. But, you know what? When I get criticism, it outweighs them all. It’s like 10,000 praises compared to one criticism that just crushes me. And what does James say? Hey, Jon, let the lowly boast in his exultation. You don’t need the praise of men.
Why does Jesus say don’t pray so that people will praise you? You’re going to get your worthless reward. Oh, look, he’s a spiritual guy, but you want to have full satisfaction? Do you want to be able to endure death itself at the hand of an angry mob? Look to the means that Christ has given to you: the preached word, the fellowship of the saints, prayer, and communion.
So, this is why we emphasize communion so heavily at our church. And my heart breaks because, at times, when we get to this, I think people become guilty. They think, oh, well, I didn’t have a really good week this week, and so I’m not going to take communion. I love this quote by Michael Horton. He says, “Communion, the supper, is not for those who have done well, but it’s for those who are weak.”
I love it.
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