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Iglesia Bautista Idlewild

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Daily Living – Episode 66 – Al Melton

Daily Living – Episode 66 – Al Melton

Birth of the Church

Author: Al Melton

Read: Acts 2:42
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

My wife and I have been part of Idlewild for almost 18 years. During that time, we have both taught Bible Studies and have led two Adult Bible Fellowship Classes, currently Seeker’s Outreach. We have gone on multiple mission’s trips and have gone to Israel, as part of the Volunteer Staff at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, for a period of 5 years, twice a year for 3 months at a time. I escorted groups of tourists through the Garden sharing the story of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Judy set up Communion and worked in the Gift Shop.

The Garden Tomb is located just outside the North Wall of the Old City of Jerusalem. As far as I am concerned it is the perfect visual aid for presenting the gospel and that is what we did. When we were there, up until 2013, we were seeing a quarter of a million visitors a year at the Garden. Just before Co-vid, the Garden was hosting 500,000 visitors each year!

During the time we were there we hosted VIP’s from the US, local Israeli’s, and tour groups from all over the world. Most came expecting to hear the gospel, others didn’t know what to expect, everyone heard the gospel and many left knowing Christ as their Savior!

I often think of the fact that we were less than a half a mile from Temple Mount. It may well have been there, just outside the Temple, that Peter preached to a great crowd of Jews at Pentecost. Luke records for us Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 and the fact that 3,000 souls were saved, baptized and added to the church that day. I believe this was the birthplace of the church.

Luke tells us in Acts 2:41-42; “So those who received his word [the message Peter preached] were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

That early church met in person to learn God’s Word, fellowship with each other, eat and pray. Those are things the church did in person. We have learned over this past year that those are things that we miss the most. We can learn the Word through Zoom and On-line church. But we cannot fellowship with each other. We cannot come along side of each other and encourage with a touch, a hug, a tender caring word. We can pray with each other over the phone but we are encouraged more when we pray in each other’s presence. And let’s not forget Dinner on the Ground. We all know Baptists can’t survive without Dinner on the Ground!

My greatest fear has not been that we might catch Co-vid. My greatest fear has been that the church might get used to staying home. The best way to learn God’s Word is in a face-to-face environment. The most beneficial way to fellowship is face to face. The most encouraging prayer meetings are in a group. And let’s not forget Dinner on the Ground or the fact that the best Communion Services are in a group, not at home watching television!

Live in such a way that those who know you but do not know God
Will come to know God because they know you.