There are so many options available to us with respect to improving our lives in 2020. We can look to many worthwhile pursuits, and not be wrong in engaging in them in the hopes of making our lives better than what we experienced in 2019. We probably all want (on some level) health, safety, prosperity, etc. The unregenerate world wants and pursues those things too. What should Christians focus on in 2020? I’m glad you asked…
There’s nothing more important to God than evangelism. God commissioned us to preach the gospel and make disciples, with the intent that these disciples will, in turn, evangelize and make disciples…and so the story will go on and on in perpetuity. Well in Acts 2:47, the statement is made, “…and the Lord added to the church DAILY such as should be saved.” As Christians, we should strive to be a part of that. But BEFORE people were being saved, the Christians were DAILY preparing themselves to be used of God in evangelism.
What the early Christians did to prepare themselves for being used of God for evangelism is found in Acts 2:42: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” That occurrence was relayed to us a few verses later in Acts 2:46: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” The temple was the centerpiece of worship, so that implies the four disciplines were being done still on a DAILY basis.
Is our heart right toward evangelism? Is God able to use us? Do we even avail ourselves to God in the work of evangelism in some way? If the answer to those questions is “Not really,” you may just need to evaluate how you’re doing in each of the four disciplines of the Christian walk as clearly outlined in Acts 2:42: doctrine, fellowship, confession of sins, and prayer. The Bible gives us the standard against which we are to check ourselves. Let’s take a very cursory look at these four pillars of the Christian’s walk.
DOCTRINE: Today, we have the complete canonized Word of God. The biblical prescription for spending time in His Word is found in Psalm 1:1-2, where the man who is described as a “blessed” man is in God’s Word TWICE daily (day and night). The Bible is our instruction book, and obedience brings blessings. How can we be blessed for doing the right things, if we don’t know what those things are? And a blessed life will stand out to the unsaved world, and may just open a door to evangelize when asked why we get “all the breaks.” Plus, reading God’s Word will help us to see just how important evangelism is to God, thus spurring us on to obedience in that area of Christian service.
FELLOWSHIP: True fellowship can only be had between likeminded Christians who are saved, have that assurance of salvation, and are going through the process of sanctification. The unregenerate world is not spiritually minded. In Hebrews 10:22-25, the Bible mentions several aspects of fellowship. WE can draw near to God, WE have been saved, and WE are being sanctified (vs 22). WE have the ability to profess Christ without question (vs 23). WE can spur one another on to do good (vs 24). WE can urge one another to grow together corporately as a body by not neglecting the assembling of ourselves (vs 25). These elements of fellowship are lacking in our friendships with our unsaved friends. Light can not have fellowship with darkness. Fellowshipping with believers will build us up and make us stronger (iron sharpening iron). Spending too much time with the unsaved world in fleshly pursuits will bring us down (1st Corinthians 15:33).
BREAKING OF BREAD: This is known to be the act of confession of sins. At the Lord’s Table, we take time to confess our sins and develop a clear conscience before God. This also is done DAILY. In Matt 6:12, Jesus instructs us to ask for forgiveness DAILY. Another time to confess your sins is when the Lord is dealing with us to confess them. If we harbor sin in our lives, we will be less than able to do any work for God. We will feel miserable under the heavy hand of God as David experienced in Psalm 32. And if we don’t confess our sins, and continue in them, God is under NO obligation to hear your prayers (Isaiah 59:2; Psalm 66:18).
PRAYER: Again, prayer is seen as a DAILY occurrence. The psalmist described his prayer life to be THREE times daily…evening, morning, and noon (Psalm 55:17). In Matthew 6, Jesus instructs us to pray DAILY as some of what He wants us to ask for are specifically said to be asked for (prayed for) on a DAILY basis…like our daily bread…spiritual sustenance as well as physical. And praying is not an option for the Christian, but rather an expectation. In Matthew 6:5-7, the phrase “WHEN ye pray” is used. It’s not IF ye pray, but rather, WHEN ye pray.
So how does doing these four tenets of the Christian walk relate to more evangelism and more people being saved and added to the church daily? Again…glad you asked.
When we read God’s Word, we learn about our part in the “Great Commission” in Matthew 28. We read about what happens to the unsaved in Revelation 20:15, that they are cast into the lake of fire. This should move us to want to do something. We find help and motivation from fellowshipping with likeminded people who will support us, encourage us, help us, and labor with us toward that end. But this war is fought in the spiritual realm, and strongholds are taken away through prayer and fasting. But if we want God to hear our prayers, we MUST confess and forsake our sins.
If we don’t read God’s Word, we won’t be moved. If we don’t fellowship, we’ll grow weak spiritually. If we don’t confess our sins, we won’t feel like doing anything for God while His heavy hand of chastening is upon us. And even when we pray, if sin is not dealt with, God may just not hear our prayers. We lose out, and those we should be helping will lose out.