With that thought in mind, I'd like to encourage you to consider a lengthy portion of text from the inspired pen of Luke. This historical narrative serves as a good reminder of four fundamental duties for Christians. After reading the text I will briefly comment on each of these points. Acts 11:19-30 reads:
"Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. Then news of those things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul."
1. EVANGELIZING (Acts 11:19-21)
Those who were scattered due to persecution went everywhere "preaching the word" or "preaching the Lord Jesus." Sharing the good news of the gospel is a fundamental duty of all children of God (Matt. 28:19,20).
2. EDIFYING (Acts 11:22-24)
"He [i.e., Barnabas] was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord." Encouraging others and laboring to build them up in the faith is another Christian duty (I Thess. 5:11).
3. WORSHIPING (Acts 11:25,26)
"They [i.e., Barnabas and Saul] assembled with the church". They were privileged to be able to worship with the saints in Antioch. This too is a duty for baptized, penitent believers today (Heb. 10:25).
4. HELPING (Acts 11:27-30)
"Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea." These Christians understood that they had a duty to help others, especially those of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10), to the best of their ability. Disciples today also have the privilege and responsibility of providing help for those who are in need.
Christian friends, are you fulfilling these duties as you should? Are you evangelizing, edifying, worshiping, and helping? "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith..." (II Cor. 13:5). If you need to make changes in your life, please do so and get this new year off to a great start! "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Matt. 13:9).