Summary: The church should have an attitude -- the attitude of awe on one side, and gladness on the other -- with sincerity holding them in balance.
I bet you are like me, in that you have a list of things to DO.
Call the plumber, call the insurance agent, go by the grocery store, call your Mom, pick up the Dry Cleaners…
In the Second Chapter of Acts, there is a wonderful description of a list of things churches are supposed to do. What I find most interesting about this list is that it corresponds so well to the Seven Marks of Discipleship that our elders adopted several months ago.
The Seven Marks of Discipleship can be found on the front cover of each week’s bulletin. And more importantly they can be found throughout Scripture.
Take a look at the front of the bulletin.
You see that in our New Testament lesson. Verse 42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship and … to prayer.”
All of the other marks of discipleship are found in this passage.
In verse 46, we read, “Every day, they continued to meet together in the temple courts.”
The disciples were not only enjoying worship every week, but every day.
The disciples were enjoying fellowship, or spiritual friendships.
They were studying the Scriptures and listening to the teachings of the apostles.
They were engaged in service – to the point that they were “selling their possessions and goods,” and giving to “anyone as he had need.” That is both the mark of service and of generosity.
They were sharing the Gospel with others, and Acts says, “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Putting a list of things to do on paper is a good thing. Our bulletin cover has that list of things to do. And we see the early church engaged in that same list of things to do.
But more than this, our New Testament lesson is encouraging us to go deeper than actions.
We are being encouraged to observe a list of things to BE and to FEEL.
We all have a list of things to do.
As Christians, there is also a list of things to FEEL.
It’s an attitude, if you will.
Attitude is very important.
We all need to have a good, healthy, positive attitude in life.
Joe Theismann enjoyed an illustrious 12-year career as quarterback of the Washington Redskins. He led the team to two Super Bowl appearances--winning in 1983 before losing the following year. When a leg injury forced him out of football in 1985, he was entrenched in the record books as Washington’s all-time leading passer. Still, the tail end of this man’s career taught him a bitter lesson.
As he put it in his own words, “I got stagnant. I thought the team revolved around me. I should have known it was time to go when I didn’t care whether a pass hit Art Monk in the 8 or the 1 on his uniform. When we went back to the Super Bowl, my approach had changed. I was griping about the weather, my shoes, practice times, everything.
"Today I wear my two rings--the winner’s ring from Super Bowl 17 and the loser’s ring from Super Bowl 18. The difference in those two rings lies in applying oneself and not accepting anything but the best. “ (Reader’s Digest, January, 1992)
The church needs to have that winning attitude.
I’ve been in groups that had losing attitudes. Community clubs, professional organizations, school organizations. You’ve been in these types of groups. You walk in and immediately you know everyone has a bad attitude. They talk about what they can’t do. They focus on the obstacles before the group. They talk about their failures.
But we need the right attitude. And our New Testament lesson from Acts teaches us about the right attitude that we should have as a church
Within this list of things to do – prayer, Bible Study, fellowship, and all of the other things the church was doing in Acts, there are also notations of attitudes!
One attitude that we find in this list is AWE.
Some translations render this word FEAR. In fact, in the Greek language the word that is used here is PHOBOS. Which is where we get the word Phobia. You have any phobias? Any fears?
I have a phobia about heights. If I’m on the 79th floor of a building. Or say the 20th floor. Or even the 2nd floor – if I am on a balcony I force myself to go to the edge of the balcony and lean over and look down. Gotta face that fear!
That’s not what the Bible is talking about!
But it is close to it.
Have you ever been with someone that you felt such respect for, that you experienced something close to fear – but it wasn’t fear.