Guess what? The first Church in Jerusalem had none of those things!
Luke the historian describes the church this way: “They studied and prayed together, they ate with each other, they fed the hungry, and they took care of the poor. God performed miracles through them, everyone thought well of them, and people were getting saved every single day” (see Acts 2:42-47). Other historians of the day noted that Christians started the first orphanages, the first feeding programs, the first homes/schools for the blind, and the first medical dispensaries. They described how the Christians changed the cultural understanding of marriage and family, and how they gave dignity to women, children, the elderly, and the sick.
They did this by putting their faith into action, just as Jesus described (see Matthew 25:31-40). James reminds us that this required a deeply personal faith and a roll-up-your-sleeves attitude. In fact, James went so far as to say that faith in Jesus wasn’t enough.
Faith without works is dead. Works without faith is useless. We must believe it and live it. We need both faith and works.
Everyone can do this…
- if a young kid is hungry, get involved with feeding them
- if an elderly lady in your neighborhood needs a friend, stop by for coffee
- if a neighbor is sick and can’t cover their usual tasks, mow their lawn
- if a high school student can’t go to homecoming because she can’t afford the dress, take her shopping and buy the dress for her
- if someone has an extended hospital stay, collect their mail and water their plants
- if no one is visiting them in the hospital, go sit with them for a while
Jesus said, “When you do this for others, you are really doing it for Me.”
Luke didn’t say, “Every day the Christians were preaching.” He says, “Every day the Christians were serving. And then every day God was adding to their number people who were being saved.”
Your faith in action speaks a sermon louder and more convincingly than any sermon ever could.
How will you show your neighbors the love of Jesus this week?