Back to the Basics by Matthew Martin
Frank was setting up a sundial in his yard when his neighbor Tom asked, What’s this for?” Frank stopped to explain. “A solar beam hits that small, triangular spike, thereby casting a shadow on the face of the sundial. Then as the sun traverses its orbit, the shadow also moves across the calibrated dial, enabling a person to determine the correct interval of daylight he is in.” Tom shook his head and said, “What will they think of next?”
Just as Frank complicated the simple task of telling time, sometimes our lives can become very complicated as well. Trying to balance our many responsibilities, relationships, and blessings is a tall task. In this complicated exercise we call life, I recommend that we intentionally focus on getting back to some important basics of life.
Getting back to the basics of life helps us to focus on what is important and thus re-prioritize our lives. As we embark upon the year of 2017, our highest priority should be to focus on the most valuable things that will pay the greatest dividends.
A careful reading of Acts chapter two will reveal that the early apostolic church focused on at least three basic priorities. There is no doubt that the 21st-century apostolic church would benefit from the same focus.
The first focus of the early church was their faith. Acts chapter two verse forty-two states, .. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” …. This would indicate that the foundation of doctrine was high on their priority list. They believed, preached, and practiced the doctrines handed to them from the Lord. How can our primary focus be any less? As we enter this New Year, we need to focus on and fully embrace the important truths that have been handed to us from the apostles and our forefathers. The doctrines of the new birth, the oneness of God, holiness unto God and separation from sin, prayer stewardship, worship, and many others must have priority in our lives. I pray the turning of the calendar never turns us from the elemental truths contained in the Word of the Lord.
Another basic priority of the early church was family. We are told that they broke bread from house to house (Acts 2:46). The marginal reading inserts the words, “at home.” It seems that the early church recognized that church and spiritual pursuits were a 24/7/365 affair. Their religion was not a “Sunday & Wednesday” affair only to be practiced at the Temple; they practiced their religion regularly at home with their family. We would all do well to re-focus on the basis of family in 2018. Let us resolve to invest in the mental, spiritual, and emotional growth of our children in this New Year. Fathers must assume the spiritual responsibility of the home. Parents must lead by example, not merely with words. Let us insist on our homes being free from worldliness and carnality. And may we consistently teach and model the words and ways of the Lord to our families. The essentiality of family cannot be overstated. After all, our children are the only thing we will be able to take to heaven with us.
Finally, fellowship seems to have been a basic priority for the early apostolic church. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and in fellowship … ” (Acts 2:42). The Greek word for fellowship is koinonia and means Christian fellowship or communion with God or, more commonly, with fellow Christians. Time spent with people of like precious faith is strengthening and encouraging. We need each other. We benefit from spending time at church and district functions. Even if one feels that he or she can be saved without this fellowship, maybe we should consider that others need our fellowship. Even though our lives are filled with many responsibilities, let us get back to the basis of fellowship in 2017 as the early church did in Acts chapter two.
The result of the focus of the early apostolic church was: “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). It would seem that the results of getting back to the basics will be revival and spiritual renewal. This sounds like a great reason to focus on faith,
family, and fellowship in 2018.