A study of the early church will reveal that the first believers in Christ were focused on two overriding desires. Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, those who trusted Christ as Savior were committed to these two ideas, allowing them to supercede all else. These two missions of the first church were:
1. A commitment to personal holiness, and
2. A commitment to taking care of the poor
Before the first church buildings, before they developed a systematic theology, before the chains of organization and hierarchy sucked the power and life from the church, these two simple obligations fueled the hearts and actions of believers. Their gatherings were designed to encourage one another in their quest to overcome the world. Their offerings were simply and completely devoted to meeting the needs of the poor. This commitment to holiness and the needy is echoed in the words of James 1:27, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
Holiness and care for the poor. The essence of Christianity is really very simple, and yet we have made it so complicated. Yet the truth is still the truth. Any gospel that does not inspire a fanatical commitment to personal holiness is a false gospel. Any religion you have received that does not make your heart burn and yearn for the poor is a false religion.
Personal holiness and care for the poor. Period. Have you received the true gospel?