Summary: New Years Day message casting the vision for a new year
Brand New Year Same Old Vision
Well here we are about 2000 years down the road from that first church. I’m sure if Peter and John had of ever discussed the future of the Christian church that they could not have envisioned what it would be like 2000 years later. I mean 2000 years! The Jewish religion wasn’t even 2000 years old at that point.
Close your eyes, come on work with me people. For just a moment try to envision January 1st in the year 4012. It’s twelve years after the Y4K crisis.
So, the year is 4012, imagine what your work will be like, or your home maybe we will finally have the flying cars they promised when I was a kid. Imagine what church in the year 4012 could be like. Almost incomprehensible isn’t it? I know that you’re thinking the church won’t be here in 2000 years, “Denn the world won’t even be here in 2000 years.”
I can almost hear an echo, “Come on Pete” Paul said, “the Church won’t be here in 2000 years, and the world won’t even be here in 2000 years.” Well it’s been 2000 years, and a lot of water under the bridge. It started with eleven apostles and a handful of followers. Fifty days after the resurrection there were 120 of them gathered together in an upstairs room in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit came just as Jesus promised. And what were the immediate ramifications? Listen to the description of that day we read this Acts 2:41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.
Three thousand people, not a bad altar call. If we added three thousand people to the group we have now we would have to have a Saturday Evening service, 3 Sunday Morning Services and a Sunday Evening Service. In the new 700 seat worship centre we would have to build.
But it didn’t stop there, listen to what Luke records in Acts 2:46-47 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
Did you catch it? It wasn’t just on Sundays that people’s lives were turned around and it wasn’t just at church where it happened it was each and every day and everywhere. And it wasn’t that long before it was reported in Acts 4:4 But many of the people who heard their message believed it, so the number of believers now totaled about 5,000 men, not counting women and children.
Five thousand men, not counting woman and children. And you know if there were five thousand men there would have been eight thousand women. We are talking about a period of time spanning months perhaps weeks. And even then, with that type of growth and that type of expansion, the early believers had no concept of what would happen. They really were winging it, flying by the seat of their pants at that point.
They had no idea that in just thirty years that persecution would break out under Emperor Nero and tens of thousands of believers would die martyr’s deaths over the next 250 years, or that Christianity would become the religion of the empire under Constantine in 313. They couldn’t have known about the split which separated the church into Eastern and Western factions. Or the Reformation started under Martin Luther in 1521, or the Methodist Revivals of the 1700s led by John Wesley, or the Holiness Movement of the 1800’s or that late in the 20th century a new church called Cornerstone would begin.
They couldn’t see that far, they couldn’t believe that far, all they knew was that God was working in their lives, and in the lives of their families and neighbours. Let me say this, it doesn’t matter if the church lasts another 2000 years or another 2 days the same God who worked in the lives of believers 2000 years ago is still working in the lives of believers today.
So what can we learn on January 1st 2012from that early church?
1) We Need to Learn From The Past The early church wasn’t very old and yet they still reached back to their beginnings. The apostles were the more primary leaders in the church and whenever they were called upon to talk about the church or to defend the church they took their listeners back to the events that had happened with Jesus.
They spoke of his miracles, of his crucifixion and his resurrection. Now to us that’s theology, or doctrine. To them it was their history; it was where they had come from. It was who they were, and why they were. And 2000 years later we can’t simply relegate the past to the archives to be forgotten.