Victoria Fellowship Church (VFC)
International and Interdenominational
House Fellowship for week commencing 12th July 2015
Topic: A Caring Church
Texts: Acts 4: 32 – 37
Memory Verse Acts 4: 34-35 “There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need”
One feature of a revived church is the care extended within its fold. Caring is a foundational component of the Church. Oxford dictionary defined caring as “displaying kindness and concern for others”. In order words, Caring is giving priority to the needs of others and expressing that priority in actions and conversations. This is demonstrated in what Jesus told His disciples in John 13:34, 35: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The early church took this scripture to heart and demonstrated their love for one another in very practical ways. Pentecost experience, indeed birthed a caring church. Their example is a good challenge for us to follow in our own lives. It can be deduced that there is a legitimate reason to question whether a person is a true follower of Christ when that love is absent. Sadly, we find in our own time that too many Christians are caught up in worldliness so that it seems to be more common to find a lack of love rather than an abundance of love among professing believers. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that God dealt so strongly with the first elements of worldliness that entered into the early church in Acts 5.
When revival breaks out, we no longer consider what we own as ours, but as custodians for God. The Scriptures are filled with admonitions urging the believers to demonstrate care to the each other. Imagine what our church will be if we put the instructions to care for one another into practice. – “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NRSV) In this passage, Jesus sets the tone of caring by showing how much he cares. He tends to the needs of his followers. Although there are challenges in life and in discipleship, Jesus promises to provide relief and comfort for those who enter into a relationship with him. The context of this passage is instructional. Jesus utters these caring words after gives thanks to God for revealing to simple children what is hidden from the wise and learned. His care is set in the context of putting a high value on the simple ones who capture the relational core of discipleship. Living from a caring heart is the primary disposition from which a Christian engages the world. A Caring church have room for everyone, not just the skilled, the talented, the intelligent, or the notable persons in our midst. Not only do we have room for the less notable people, but we honour them as paradigms for what we are all about.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
- Discuss the mindset of the early church in the light of Acts 4:32. Is there any relationship between viewing a church member as a family and the display of care exhibited by the early church?
- Explain the effect of caring and oneness of the early church on their witness in Acts 4:33
- What was the difference in the way the needs of the brethren was met in Acts 4: 34, 35 and in Acts 2:45. Explain if any.
- What practical ways can VFC become a more caring church?
- How are the hindrances to being a caring church, how can we overcome these hindrances?
- What are the characteristics of a caring church? In what ways does a caring church reflect a revived church?