The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

05/12/2010

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Problem Solving 101


"Those who accepted the message were baptized, and about 3,000 were added to their number that day...They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:41 & 42).

What a euphoric moment that must have been. The apostle Peter has just preached what is generally considered the first "Gospel sermon," and 3,000 people accepted the good news of Jesus and were baptized. There must have been such happiness as each of them had their sins forgiven and received the gift of the Holy Spirit. It did not take long for reality to set in. The gospel knows no class distinction, and soon it was realized that a number of the new converts were poor....VERY POOR...There was ethnic and class distinction between them and perhaps even some language barriers. The euphoria of the beginning of the church had reality set in...They were made of people....Different people that had just one important thing in common, that being, they were all Christians. So the church at Jerusalem had some "cracks" in it that might threaten the unity they were supposed to have. Their salvation was assured in heaven, but the testing ground was here on earth...Sound familiar? Are there any different people in your church?

The Jerusalem church was forced to become problem solvers. Lets look at the problem of the needy among them first. There were people of need living and worshipping right along side of those who had enough and more than enough. The Jerusalem church soon discovered what all subsequent churches have known. As long as we are fleshly human beings, problems will arise. The unity within any church depends on the ability to realize and deal with the problems. Lets face the truth...None of us have a problem singing, praying, Bible reading and observing the Lord's Supper together...Its those other pesky things!!!! Perhaps the measure of one's dedication to the Lord is epitomized by how we deal with tensions that might arise among us.

Jesus made frequent references to the poor among us, and he had sympathy for them.."Blessed are the Poor" (Luke 6:20). He used the poor to teach lessons many times...There's the poor beggar named Lazarus (Luke 16). There is the poor widow who put all she had in the temple treasury (21: 2-4). At the first church in Jerusalem, they solved the problem of the needy. It says; "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone who had need" (Acts 2: 45 & 46). Is this an instruction for those of us who are comfortable to sell what we have and share it with the poor? Not necessarily, but it is a wake up call to give of our means to help those who are in need. We must as churches meet the needs of those within our midst. It seems that the rich people in the Jerusalem church were willing to sell their things to meet needs. We might be able to do this in some other way. Problems will always arise within churches...We are human beings...Followers of Jesus should never allow self-interest to rule!

Have a great day... Make a difference.... Love mark Phil. 4:11

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