Does It Still Apply?
In the first century, an emperor sent out a spy to view and analyze the fast growing sect known as “Christians.” With mixed reviews the spy came back and reported. But of all the things that he reported, one statement has survived the centuries. “Behold how they love one another.” That phrase is the one that has stayed in remembrance. That statement portrayed the first century church. In all honesty, could we say that today?
In the church today, love is sometimes lost in our disagreements and our doctrinal differences. The Bible states very concisely that we are to always love one another. Even in the early church there were disagreements, but the disagreements did not stand in the way of actively loving one another.
If you read the first chapter of 1 Corinthians you will find reasons why the young church disagreed with various things, but in the second chapter you will see Paul’s remedy through these divisions; “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
In Acts 15:1-33 you will also see examples of disagreements among the apostles and disciples, but also their resolution. The difference in the early church and the church of today is that then they came together and discussed their differences and then came to a mutual agreement, and only then did they walk away from one another, the Bible says, in peace. In other words, they made a determined effort to find a basis for mutual peace. Paul stated very emphatically, “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:2.