January 2017

"They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship,
to the breaking of bread and to prayer." Acts 2:42

The early church was on fire for Christ. In the Old Testament sacrifices were devoted to God by burning on the altar. Now in the New Testament it was believers who were putting themselves on the altar as living sacrifices in thankfulness for Christ’s once and for all sacrifice (see Romans 12:1,2). That devotion to Christ was evident in many ways in terms of their thinking and behaviour, affecting every area of their lives. However in the immediate aftermath of Pentecost Luke focuses on the corporate dimensions of their devotion to Christ (Acts 2:42). So what were the signs of their zeal for Christ?

  1. They were devoted to the word of God
    The apostles' teaching was their priority. They realised that this teaching was the foundation of their faith. It was the means of encouraging, strengthening and driving them forwards in their Christian life and mission. So they met as regularly as possible to feed on God’s word.

    Q. Will you (and your family) be devoted to the public teaching of God�s word during 2017? Will you set aside Sundays so that amidst all of the other commitments which crowd in upon us you will seek to be present in order to hear God’s word preached?
  2. They were devoted to the fellowship
    Not only were they devoted to God but also to each other. Luke records how they met in each other’s homes and shared their lives together. They recognised the significance of what Christ had done not only in their own lives but in the lives of others, and they longed for the message of Christ to be made known to even more.

    Q. Will you (and your family) be devoted to the St. Nicholas fellowship (your congregation, your home group or Bible Study) during 2017? Will you endeavour to be present ten minutes before a Sunday Service in order to show your commitment to the fellowship and so that you can meet, encourage and be encouraged by others?
  3. They were devoted in prayer
    As soon as Jesus had ascended these Christians had started praying (see Acts1:14). Though Jesus was no longer physically present on earth they knew that he was well able to work by His Spirit and they constantly called out to Him to fulfil His promises and to build His church. Their praying was both earnest and expectant - and God answered in amazing ways.

    Q. Will you (and your family) be devoted to prayer during 2017? Will you commit yourself to attending the monthly prayer gatherings so that with others you can regularly cry out for God�s work to be done in our midst?

Stop Press

For a trial period I am going to commit myself to write a short note each Friday which will include several key items for prayer relating to the forthcoming Sunday. The focus will be on praying for the preaching and teaching of God’s word and for the vibrancy of our fellowship as Christ’s people as we encourage one another and reach out to others. My intention is to send this prayer briefing out by 4pm each Friday so that you can use it several times before we gather on Sunday. This briefing will only be made available to St. Nicholas Church members who request it.
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No doubt you may have made other resolutions for the New Year but I do want to encourage you, with God’s assistance, in view of all that the Lord Jesus has done for us, to make these three areas our priority in the coming year. Together let us be a people even more devoted to the word of God, to gathering as God’s people and to drawing near to God in prayer pleading that He would be active in our midst.

Angus MacLeay
Rector, St Nicholas Sevenoaks
January 2017