The Apostle Peter had the wonderful privilege to share the Truth with thousands of souls in Acts chapter 2. In response to his message of God’s offer of salvation through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, 3,000 souls received the Gospel message and were added to God’s family that day! Acts 2:42-47 shares with us what these new Christ-followers chose to do after making this wonderful decision. Their actions set the example for us and for what local churches need to become.
The Bible says they “continued stedfastly” in some things. The phrase “continued stedfastly” means they devoted themselves to constantly. The following things not only became a part of their life but they became predominant in their life.
If you have a Bible you can turn to Acts chapter 2 and follow along. We will begin in verse 42. The first thing we see is that they were:
Driven by Doctrine (v. 42)
The early church was constantly devoting themselves to the Apostles doctrine! Another word for doctrine is “teaching.” Today we have the Apostle’s doctrine found in the New Testament Scriptures that have been inspired and preserved by God Himself! 2 Timothy 3:16 says–All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching (doctrine), for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
For any church to be truly successful it must also be devoted to the Word of God. Secondly we see the church was:
Focused on Fellowship (vv. 42 & 46)
The word fellowship here means “participation and communion” with one another. How do we participate in other people’s lives
- Scripture says to: “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”
- God’s Word also goes on to tell us to “bear one another’s burdens.”
- Christ-followers have not been called to be “Lone Rangers.” God has designed us to need friendship and fellowship in order to encourage one another on our spiritual journey. Everyone is on a spiritual journey and no one should take that journey alone!
Verse 46 sheds some light on their fellowship:
- They fellowshipped regularly (in this case daily)
- They were unified
- They fellowshipped in specific places—in the temple and house to house
- They enjoyed meals together with glad and generous hearts
Made Prayer a Priority (v. 42)
The early church saw God answer many, many prayers. They believed in prayer and they believed in the God that answers prayer. They prayed for one another. They prayed for those who were being persecuted for their faith. They prayed for their spiritual and political leaders. They devoted themselves to prayer!
Seeing the Supernatural (v. 43)
Verse 43 tells us they were filled with “fear”—in other words they were filled with “awe” when they saw what God was doing! God was working through the apostles through apostolic signs and miracles. Even though we no longer need apostolic signs to authenticate the apostle’s message…a successful church will still see the supernatural take place. Alcoholics can be delivered from the tyranny of alcohol, marriages can be restored, atheists can believe, God still chooses to supernaturally heal people at times. If the only thing the church is doing is in the physical realm then we are no different than the Social Club down the street. The church deals with the spiritual and eternal and God chooses to change lives and set people free and provide people with eternal hope!
Another attribute the early church had was:
Great Generosity (v. 45)
Their generosity went to the extreme! When they heard of a need they were even willing to sell their possessions and give to meet the needs of the family of God! God never asked them to do this, they simply wanted to.No one made them, they did so willingly. God has chosen to use His people as CONDUITS. He blesses them so they may bless others! Give and it shall be given unto you…God desires to use the church as a CONDUIT! As God entrusts us with resources, we will use those resources to bless others!
These attributes led to the church having a
Tremendous Testimony (v. 47)
As people got to know the “early church” and see them in action they realized there was a genuineness. As we become known in the community people need to know:
- This is a place where they will tell me the TRUTH in love
- This is a place that is a “friend to sinners”
- This is a place where love lives and grace exists
Finally we see this was a church where you found:
Souls being Saved (v. 47b)
As Christ’s Church
- Preaches, teaches and shares the right doctrine…and
- Promotes fellowship and encouraging friendships…and
- Make prayer for needy souls and the needs of our city and world a priority…and
- Walks by faith and not by sight enabling us to the see the supernatural…and
- Has great generosity toward others…and
- Develops a great reputation in the community…
- A natural overflow is God building His church through souls being saved and lives being changed.