These last two Catches have inspired some of you to think about being first century Christians. It’s really all about living fresh every day with your faith. But it’s important for you to realize this is not hard. It’s not about going back to school and learning how to say everything in a new and different way. And if I gave that impression, I was wrong.
What makes Christians first century is pretty much wrapped up in one word: experience.
First century Christians were experiencing Christ, and the reality of that experience spilled over into their relationships with each other, and their relationships with those outside of the body of Christ.
That’s the piece we can carry over from the first century into our lives now — it’s the experience of Christ in our lives. And by our lives, I mean wherever we are in our lives now. It has nothing to do with having your life together or being a good example, or anything that even smacks of things like that. It has to do with the real Christ living and moving in our lives regardless of what’s going on. It has to do with our experience of Christ right now, in this moment.
Think about it: that’s all the first century Christians had. They didn’t have seminary degrees; they didn’t attend seminars. They had some teachers teaching them, but that’s no different than you and I have. What they did have was the living Christ in their lives, and that was a reality that was undeniable. Did they alter their lives in any way? Did they try to be different? No, they merely let Christ into their lives, and let Him out to others. Grace turned in, and grace turned out.
This is the essence of our purpose and place in the world — to let Christ in, and let Him out. And the best way to do that is by simply walking alongside people. As we walk and talk, our experience of Christ becomes their experience of Christ without even trying. God purely and simply wants us. He wants access to our lives so He can live His life through us, and touch the lives of others through us as we walk together. That’s it. It’s no more complicated than that.
We’re either experiencing Christ in our lives moment by moment — loving us, forgiving us, comforting us, empowering us — or we are faking something someone called the Christian life. That’s what the first century Christians didn’t have. They didn’t have anything to fake. They were experiencing Christ in community and in the world. Just like we can today.