It is not uncommon for millions of Americans begin the year with resolutions, or goals, to achieve throughout the year. As we entered into 2017, Harbor Church North Shore set forth three major goals for the year. Six verses in Acts that reveal the nature of the early Christian Church, and are a reflection of our vision for the future of our church:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers. Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.– Acts 2:42-47
With this passage in mind, Harbor Church North Shore has resolved:
- To be a people devoted to prayer
- To be fully immersed in Biblical community
- To intimately know the joy of the Lord.
Indeed, none of these things can be divorced from the fear of the Lord, which is the driving force of our devotion to the word, to prayer, to one another, and ultimately, to fullness of joy. For the Christian, this fear ought to be described as, “an enduring sense of awe inspired by the consciousness that God was at work in their midst, so that they were witnesses of the final drama, and indeed participants in it.”  Do we have an ‘enduring sense of awe’ of God? Do we consciously think of Him as the holy, immanent, transcendent, creator of the universe, who is at work in our midst? Do we think of our Sovereign God as our good and loving Father who desires to give us good gifts, and knows the number of hairs on our heads? This is the fear that marked the early Church; and it is what we must acquire if we are to become a joyful people devoted to prayer and fellowship.
Furthermore, we must recognize that these goals are not mutually exclusive; in fact, we cannot succeed in any one of these areas at the neglect of the other two. All throughout Scripture, we find that fullness of joy can be truly experienced when we devote ourselves to Biblical prayer and regular fellowship with believers who strive to “… dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). It is through fellowship that we can experience the joy of answered prayer. And the more we know the joy of the Lord, the more devoted we will be to prayer, and to one another. Believers in the early Church were marked by their devotion to the Scriptures, prayer, and fellowship, leading to fullness of joy, and the salvation of sinners. May these same things be the markers of our church and our lives to the glory of God in Christ Jesus!