An intro to our series in the Book of Acts
What does it mean to be a church? What does being a church together look like?
We live in a world that seems a million miles away from the Bible at times, yet the human condition hasn’t changed. God’s word to God’s people remains perfect for his purposes. You may be surprised to know that our world now looks surprisingly similar to the world of the book of Acts.
It was a world where the worship of the one true God was contested, where there were many religious options, and where Jesus wasn’t the dominant one. In fact, Jesus was pretty much unknown! Some say the Ancient Greeks believed in up to 3000 gods, the Egyptians had over 2000 and the Romans, borrowing the main ones from the Greeks, had around 35 gods. How does this compare with the secular age we live in… ? Everything has become a god in the absence of God! Anything that is trusted in or relied upon more than the one true God is an idol, a false god in biblical language. That’s why ancient civilizations had gods, they created gods of love, sun, sea, fire, wisdom, crops, war… so they could pray / offer sacrifices to something in the hope that this would bring them happiness.
Today idols exist by different names: love, wealth, health, influence, success, identity, sexuality. An idol is anything that is trusted in more than God to bring about the good that you’re seeking. We’re told that these things can be trusted in for happiness. Now you may think you don’t have any idols, perhaps that’s because they haven’t failed you yet! It’s when we lose things we trust in, God takes them away, or his word commands against them, that’s when the strength of the idol is revealed! How do we live faithfully in a world with so many ‘gods’?
The truth is, we can’t without spiritual power. We need something outside of ourselves to reveal the idols of our hearts and empower us to worship God above all things. The early church was sent out into the world not just with a message, but with a message and power. Gospel power radically transformed the hearts of thousands, delivering people from their many gods and bringing them into a relationship with the one true God. Out of this vibrant and dynamic communion with Christ, through the Holy Spirit, a church movement was born, and the Kingdom of God spread as churches were established near and far.
This term we will chart this incredible story of the early church, through the book of Acts, and find it’s a story we are all caught up in. God drew near in Christ Jesus, and in His grace poured out his Holy Spirit into the hearts of all who would receive him. Each week as we gather together, we draw near to God in response to his invitation and we find ourselves empowered in his presence.
Come and be a part of our Acts series every Sunday at 10:30 at the John Pounds Centre, PO1 3HN.
Follow online by searching for Christ Central Church Portsmouth on your preferred podcast provider.
A Companion Guide for the series has been produced full of content to help you engage further, pick up one in person, or download here.
For further reading on the topic of idolatry, read Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods.