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What is the Normal Church?

In the Bible and the book of Acts, chapter 2 and verses 42 through 47, we see a description of the early church. In verse 42 we are told that the church members continued in the apostle’s doctrine, teaching, or the word of God.

The word fellowship in verse 42 means unity, a close relationship, communion, empowered by the Holy Spirit. That fellowship was with Jesus and church members. Prayer was central to early church life as was communion at the Lords table.

Notice the word “steadfast” in verse 42. Steadfast, means to be earnest, constant and diligent in making a firm effort to achieve the activities of verse 42.

Thankfulness and giving to meet the needs of everyone were important attributes of the early church (v44-45). Unity and praising God were also listed as central characteristics of the believers (v46-47), as was a reverential fear of God (v43).

When you think about the verses of scripture above (Acts 2:42-47), you realize we are still living out the book of Acts or living in the age of God’s grace to His Church. Our churches should mirror Acts 2:42-47; with great signs, wonders (v43), and favor with the world; we should experience the same miracle church growth (v47). Acts 2:42-47 describe the “Normal Church”!

In His Presence.

“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Ps 27:4; KJV). King David’s primary desire was an intimate relationship with God; this he sought. In Psalm 42, verse 1, David says his soul panted and thirsted for God (Ps 42:1). It’s no wonder God could call David a man after his own heart (Acts 13:22). Do we have the same priority as David? Do we have the same relationship with God?

I love the verse in the New Testament where Mary sat at Jesus feet, mesmerized by and focused on the Lord and his every word (Luke 10:39). Think what relationship we can have with God now, David had the Spirit on him (1 Sam 16:13), we are children of God (1 John 3:2) and we have his Spirit on the inside of us (Acts 2:4).

Do we have the same heart cry for relationship with God that David showed in the Psalms (Ps 84:2)? Do we sit at Jesus feet as Mary did? Paul said that he counted everything of the world as rubbish (that word can be translated dung) the he might gain Christ (Phil 3:8).

For me, the Apostle John captured the relationship God yearns for with us when he (John) quoted Jesus' prayer for us as believers: "that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou sent me" (John 17:21-22; KJV).

How heartbroken Jesus was when He prayed over Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37; the people rejected his desire for intimacy. My desire is captured in Psalm 91:1: "he that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty"; what about you?