40 days of Good News came to end today and I came away from church this morning conscious how much we need to translate ‘40 days’ into ‘365 days’, if we’re to get towards Acts 2:47, because here we read about an every day occurrence … ‘the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Thank you to Ian Sinclair, my Pastor at Counterslip, Bristol, who preached a really good sermon from Acts 2:42-47 for this Pentecost Sunday and really got me thinking about this word devotion. I came away with the challenge, not simply about the object of my devotion, but the outcomes. My commentaries are packed up in boxes, as we await a moving date, but thank God for the internet!
Short definition: I persist.
Definition: I persist, persevere in, continue steadfast in, I wait upon.
From pros ‘towards, interactively with’ + kartereo ‘show steadfast strength’ from kratos ‘prevailing strength’, properly, to consistently showing strength which prevails (in spite of difficulties); to endure (remain firm), staying in affixed direction.
… proskarteréō means "to continue to do something with intense effort, with the possible implication of despite difficulty – 'to devote oneself to, to keep on, to persist in'.
The big thing, staring me between the eyes, was the essence of the devotion we read about here. I’m fairly sure the message of those listening to me preach form these verses thirty years ago could have easily concluded they were fulfilling the call to obey simply by being in a church building listening to the word of God being preached. However, that’s not what we’re reading about here. This isn't a call to perpetual Bible study (‘oh no’, I hear you cry!); this is an observation of peoples’ lives on fire for Jesus. This is an exploration of the source of their power. This is an examination of the engine, which provided momentum to the first century disciples.
Devotion to the apostles teaching was seen in how it was lived.
Devotion to the fellowship was a rootedness in the re-ordering of God’s new society.
Devotion to the breaking of bread was recognition for the necessity to re-calibrate around ‘what did Jesus do?’
Devotion to prayer was highlighting the perpetual need to live out of deep communion with our heavenly Father.