Field Notes – 14/11/T
I’m attending the FIEC Leaders’ Conference. You can follow the Conference on Twitter using the hashtag #FIECLC.
Here are some notes from the two messages on Day 1..
Thabiti Anyabwile in the first session spoke from Acts 2:41-47 on the old path of transformation.
“Transformation has to be sought God’s way.”
In Acts 2:41-47 we see four elements to transformation: 1) Disciple-making; 2) Devotion; 3) Distribution; 4) Daily-ness.
Disciple-making: They received the Word. They were baptised. They were added. The preaching of the gospel, water baptism, and church membership is the process for disciple-making. It is important that we reunite gospel preaching with careful observation of conversion with public testimony by baptism as entrance into church membership.
Are we careful to preach the gospel in every sermon?
Are we helping people to understand conversion and examining themselves to see if they are in the faith?
Are we trying baptism to church membership?
Devotion: What do we do when we get people inside the church? Constant attention was given to instruction of what the apostles taught, to the sharing of themselves and what they had, to eating together, and to prayer. Teach, Share, Eat, Pray – here is a strategy for transformation every church can commit to. Through these ordinary means of grace people met with God.
Can we be surprised at the weakness of churches that neglect these ordinary means of grace?
If we don’t think this will work, might we be struggling with the sin of unbelief?
Distribution: What do you do to help the poor in your community? God’s poverty reduction program is the church itself. The expectation is that poor people become Christians and wealthy Christians help those in need. The church is to live in such a way that it takes care of one another. When it comes to caring for weak and vulnerable it starts with those in our own membership
If you’ve been posting mental objections to Acts 2, please note that you’re travelling in the opposite direction of this text.
Daily-ness: It is impossible to change anything if you only spend 2 hours a week with Christ and the church. Could it be that we don’t see daily conversions because we don’t have a daily commitment? It’s the small daily regular acts of faithfulness that lead in God’s providence and timing to the large acts of transformation. Our people will not daily devote themselves to these things, if we will not devote ourselves to these things as leaders.
We need to commit ourselves to the old paths of transformation. We would do well to remain on them.
In the second session, Adrian Reynolds spoke of the encouragement and the rebuke the Lord Jesus gives to us in Revelation 2:1-7.
1) The glorified Lord Jesus commends our godly efforts. The church in Ephesus was hard working, keeping going, and doctrinally faithfully. Take encouragement from the lips of the risen Jesus.
2) The glorified Lord Jesus rebukes our slothful ease. The church in Ephesus had lost their evangelistic edge, they had lost their passion for the lost, they had lost their desire to see people saved. They love God, they love other believers, but they had lost their love for the lost. Be warned by the risen Jesus. Consider – Repent – Do! (that’s the way out of any sin).
3) The glorified Lord Jesus invites us into his eternal presence. Those who are victorious over the sin of slothful ease with the help of Him who sends His Spirit.