Acts 2:41-47 - Resolutions (Part 5)


Posted Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 8:28 AM

“Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles.” (Acts 2:43)
“They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.” (Acts 2:46b-47a)

The past few days' commentaries have taken a look at the activities (study, fellowship, remembering Jesus, and prayer) that the early Christians were described as being devoted to, but there was no mention how they approached these activities or with what attitude. In verse 43, we read that “fear” came over these early Christians, the first description of any emotion or attitude in this verbal picture of them. Additionally, at the end of verse 46, we are told that the attitude in which they ate their food was “gladness” and “simplicity of heart”. The early Christians' attitudes also seemed to evoke praise toward God and likeability from men, a combination that may seem to be in opposition.

First, what is this emotion or attitude of fear? In context, the fear that the early Christians felt seems to come out of their devotional activities: study, fellowship, remembering Jesus, and prayer. All of these activities teach us about God, and by them He draws us into closer intimacy with Himself. It would seem that by understanding God more, we begin to fear Him. What is fear, then? It is the emotion or attitude that we gain out of a healthy understanding and genuine respect for who God is. It does not mean we are scared of Him, but we know that we should be; we're not completely comforted by our understanding of Him either, but a substantial amount of comfort is found in Him. C.S. Lewis probably sums this thought up best in his book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? Course he isn't safe...but he is good. He's the king I tell you.” It's a great paradox that we should be comforted by and fearful of God. One last word, we do not gain this fear on our own, but as we continue in our devotional activities the Holy Spirit builds this fear in us through the things we learn.

Second, what does it mean to have gladness and simplicity of heart? This seems to be a from of humility that comes from a proper fear of the God; an appropriate importance is placed on everything. When we eat our food, we understand that it is by God's provision that we have something to eat, so we are glad. This why many of us say a prayer at meals. Additionally, when we think about God, our heart is provoked to praise Him because we know He is the most important. And, when we interact with people, we realize that they are important to God, and therefore are important to us, and that attitude is conveyed to them. We should use caution with humility because it can be imitated, but we are not naturally humble and require the strength of the Holy Spirit and a proper fear of God to maintain humility.

So as we approach the new year and begin to make resolutions for ourselves (as is our modern day tradition), what possible resolutions can we derive from these early Christians:
  1. Continue in your devotional activities striving to understand more about God.
  2. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give you a proper fear of God.
  3. Apply a proper importance to everything.
    • God is the most important.
    • People are important to God, so they are important to us.
    • Everything we have is from God and given to us to steward.

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