The following passage of Scripture reveals the practices many churches today embrace and are devoted to. Read and consider …
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 (ESV)
This first church was devoted to …
- The apostles’ teaching (today that would be the Old and New Testaments)
- The fellowship – going through life together with the local body of believers
- The breaking of bread – sharing meals and the Lord’s supper in their homes
- Attending the temple together
- Praising God
Typically we believe that if we will do all those things (and they are indeed important traditions/practices) THEN:
- Awe will come upon every soul in the church
- Many wonders and signs will be done through the church leaders
- We will make sacrifices and share with others as they have need
- We will have favor with ALL the people (not just those in the church)
- And the Lord will add to our numbers day by day those who are being saved
But was it really the practices in and of themselves which brought about such results?
Perhaps to some small degree but consider what occurred before the first church was born …
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:4-5 (ESV)
The disciples waited upon the timing and the work of the Lord!
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. Acts 1:12-14 (ESV)
The disciples devoted themselves to prayer while they were waiting!
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4 (ESV)
In the Lord’s perfect timing, the disciples were filled with/led by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost!
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. Acts 2:36-41 (ESV)
The disciples spoke not in the wisdom of men, but in and by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Unbelievers of the house of Israel were cut to the heart (convicted) by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Three thousand souls repented, were baptized, and also received the gift of the Holy Spirit!
But it seems there is an implied point in this recap that I have missed …
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a SINCERE AND PURE DEVOTION TO CHRIST. 2 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV)
First and foremost, the disciples shared in a sincere and pure devotion to Christ Jesus!
Lord, may the church (and that is all Your children) always remember the preceding and the following …
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of ALL creation. For by Him ALL things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—ALL things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before ALL things, and IN Him ALL things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, THAT IN EVERYTHING HE MIGHT BE PREEMINENT. For IN Him ALL the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself ALL things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:15-20 (ESV)