Acts 2: Finding Favor
In Acts chapter 2, Christianity began to take off after Peter preached his first sermon. 3000 people were converted in the first day, and it is interesting to see what Luke mentions about the community of believers in the early days.
Act 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Act 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
Act 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
Act 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Act 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Act 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
There are many things worth talking about here, but verse 47 seems particularly telling. The Christians had favor with all the people. They were a group of people that people wanted to be around. I think that is something that we surrender far too easily when talking about Christianity today.
People who are not Christians might argue that they don’t want to follow a list of rules. They might have a very negative view of Christianity, and I feel like what we need to be doing is demonstrating that this lifestyle is actually a positive thing. Living a life dedicated to following the teaching and example of Jesus Christ necessarily will produce the fruit of the spirit, and a community that is full of those traits is going to be a great place to live because there will be peace, joy and all the rest. It is not that Christians or Christian communities are perfect, but there is something to the fact that the early church was something that people actually liked. They had favor with all the people.
I understand that Christians are countercultural, and I understand that there is necessarily going to be persecution on some level for following Jesus Christ. At the same time, we look at the early church, and it seems to be the case that it is possible to follow Christ and be a group of people that finds favor with others. Perhaps they are drawn in by the love, the charity, the peace, the joy or who knows what else, but I don’t know if we work on that enough as a global church today. We don’t change our doctrine to be popular whatsoever, but we follow Christ, and the byproduct of that is a healthy community that people want to be a part of.