Have you ever been on a bus or train when someone else got on board with a tray of fish and chips. Within a few seconds everyone on the train knows all about it. The initial hint of fried food replaced by the distinctive, and some would say irresistible, smell of crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside chips perfectly cooked fish in a beautiful batter all covered in loads of salt and vinegar.
Mouth watering yet?
Anyone fancy fish and chips?
That is pretty much the reaction that the disciples provoked in the people who saw them living out their lives as followers of Jesus. Their lives were so distinctive, so refreshing, so inspiring that people wondered what had caused the change and were drawn to God as a result!
So what were they doing that was so attractive?
Firstly the way they lived as community.
I wonder how you would feel if I suggested we all sell our homes and buy a huge house, may be a mansion or a castle, and all move in together. What do you think? You might think it sounds a little too idealistic, and it probably is! I imagine there were times when the disciples disagreed over things or even fell out with each other. But if we look beyond the idealism we see that they were living our principles of self-sacrifice., helping those in need, showing generosity, hospitality, looking out for one another. These are amazing qualities that we can live out without necessarily living together! Imagine the impact on society if that was what people saw when they looked at the church.
Secondly they praised God.
They got together regularly, daily, to worship, pray, hear the bible. This was a lifestyle that kept God in the centre, it said that God was the most valuable thing in their lives and how they spent their time reflected that. That is really challenging to maintain this in the midst of our busy lives, during those days when you are out to work at 8 and back at 6, doing the shopping, washing, admin, garden, fixing the car or cooking! Life is busy; so how in the middle of that busyness, can we live a life that shows God as the most important priority? We can choose, like the disciples, to make the most of the time that we do have together with friends and family, praying and studying the bible together.
The third way the believers live a God centred life was by doing many miracles. Did you know that God wants to use you and me to do miracles today, right where we live, with our friends and family? We have the power of God, the same power Jesus had, living in us, with the potential to go out and do amazing things in the lives of those around us. And what does it need from us? Simply a willingness to pray and to ask God to bring those things about.
If you have a story of being able to pray with friends or family and seeing those prayers answered you could tell that story in a couple of sentences here.
The result of all of this? The disciples were admired by all the people and the number of believers grew every day. They saw something in the disciples that inspired them and they wanted it as well.
The three ways the believers live out their faith for others to see, in how they treated each other, in their relationship with God and through the power of God touching others in miraculous ways.
May God draw people to himself as we live out his love as the spiritual smell fish and chips in front of our friends and families and those around us!
Stations Linked To This Talk:
We also offered the following prayer activity:
Explain that the amazing things that God was doing through the disciples in Acts 2 which drew people to them were not just for the people of that time but things that God still wants to do in the church today. Offer a quiet space where people who would like to be prayed for can come and receive prayer from some of your team, inviting God to intervene in miraculous ways.