There is a principle we see at work in the early church, whereby God breaks down resistence to himself in the lives of his people, securing internal frontiers in their hearts and minds; and that these breakthroughs allow external frontiers to be won, with others coming into his kingdom as a result. This morning we were reflecting on a passage that illustrates this pattern; the continuation of the story - the myth - after Pentecost; a passage often talked about in church circles, and yet seldom entered into:
"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he 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."
Acts 2:42-47 [emphases mine]
Here are my observations of internal barriers being confronted in myself and my generation as I read this:
half-heartedness; jaded cynicism; possessiveness; lack of compassion; enslavement to the instant result; joyless obligation; insincerity.
Can you imagine what God could do through a community that was prepared to go through the process of repentance (change of direction) and belief (active faith) in relation to these areas? A community surrendered to God, and transformed by him; marked by devotion, a sense of awe, the common life, commitment, gladness, and sincerity? Such a community would be highly offensive to many, and highly attractive to many. It would be bland and irrelevant to no-one.
Dream. Die. Be raised to life.
Leave the prison of a myth-less existence. Enter into the myth.