27 June 2022Acts 2:42-47
And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (v. 47b)
Today's passage is the best summary we have for the activities of the Early Church. Whenever we want to remind ourselves of exactly what the Early Church did in the very first days, weeks and months of its existence (and possibly of how far removed we may be from that in our contemporary church practices) we come back to this passage.
This summary comes just after the great sermon that Peter preached on the first Pentecost, just 50 days after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Three thousand people chose to follow Jesus after that sermon. So just what did the existing Church of 120 members teach the new 3000 members? What key things were the new believers taught as essential in living out their new Christian life?
Below is a list of all the Early Church practices that are emphasised in the passage. The first four are so crucial that the new believers are described as 'devoting themselves' to them (v. 42). But the other practices were clearly important too.
- The apostles' teaching
- The breaking of bread
- Sharing possessions with each other so everyone had what they needed
- Eating together with glad hearts
- Praising God.
And because they did these things they experienced four great results:
- Awe came upon everyone
- Many wonders and miraculous signs took place
- They enjoyed the favour of the local community
- Every day the Lord added to their number more who were being saved.
This is what I would love to see more than anything – more people being saved, and an accompanying sense of awe and wonder at the things God is doing. So how can we see these things happen? Perhaps by devoting ourselves to the same practices the Early Church followed.
- What practices are you devoted to within your faith? Are these things that will add to the ‘number of those who are being saved’?
- Which of the above Early Church practices do you find most difficult? Why do you think that is?
- What do you (and your church) need to do to move closer to the practices of the Early Church?
Lord Jesus, please anoint your Church so that we might experience awe, wonder, and daily see more people being saved. Guide us in what practices we should emphasise, so we might see these things more. Amen.