In Acts 2 we see the birth of the early church – a group of people who were devoted to the apostles teaching, fellowship and prayer. What caused them to devote themselves? It is interesting that they devoted themselves to church when they had no frame of reference for what church was. There had never been church before. Therefore, what were they devoted to?
There was something tangible about the kingdom of God that they could see. Something palpable that took hold of them, and transformed their lives.
Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV)
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
You love God best by loving what he loves – people. People are God’s greatest treasure, and therefore the best way to demonstrate God’s love is to love people. To love God (serve & sacrifice) with ALL your heart/mind/soul is the kingdom of God.
It was truly a gospel experience that these people had. They weren’t caught in a religious trap, climbing a spiritual ladder and continually hoping to get closer to God. Every time you fail, have a bad thought or make an error you slip down a few rungs and then have to climb harder and faster to get back to where you were. The gospel experience is realising that God climbed down the ladder and met us at the bottom. He came down and rescued us and now we live in what God has done for us.