Popular vs. Favor
Someone recently asked me why people go to a particular church. Before I could answer someone overhearing the conversation chimed in with, "Oh that's the popular place for people to go to church." Attending that church is a status symbol. Now I am not bashing any churches here. I know some people who attend that church and they do so because they are ministered to and feel that God blesses them there. But there is some truth to the popular statement.
In Acts 2:46-47 "46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
So was the church in Jerusalem popular? The short answer has to be yes. Popular by definition is: "...regarded with great favor, approval, or affection especially by the general public;" The general public of Jerusalem liked the Christian church. But why? As you dissect Acts 2 you will discover the secrets of their success. The practiced agape love, koinonia community and dunimas power among the common people. Christianity wasn't a rich mans religion it was every persons religion. They were popular because they earned it through the grace of Jesus. That's what favor is - grace! It is the reward of grace, the blessing of grace, the effects of grace, the spiritual condition that comes from grace.
Popularity, by todays standards, is used to develop a form of exclusiveness. The popular place to live or shop. The popular group at school. Popularity is derived by the opinion of a few who want to keep those whom they perceive as "undesirable" out. This isn't popularity, this is elitism. You can be an elitist because of income, race, culture or class or society. Elitism doesn't have any place in the church whatsoever. So what kind of person are you and what kind of church do you attend?