Sunday at Restoration Church we continued our series on the book of Acts. As part of worship we looked at Acts 2:42-47. In this passage, Luke records a summary of the normal function of the believers in the early church. Very briefly we looked at the verse 42 which records that the believers were together devoted to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. As a community our desire is to be devoted to these things just as the early church was.
– Devoting ourselves to the apostles’ teaching means that we hold up the Bible as the authority in our lives. It is simply the testimony that humankind cannot save itself, and its only hope is in God through the work of Christ Jesus.
– Devoting ourselves to fellowship means we are intentional about encouraging each other through the circumstances we each face day to day. Hebrews 3:13 says, “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
– Devoting ourselves to the breaking of bread has a double meaning. It first of all refers to a devotion to the celebration of communion. As 1 Corinthians 11:26 says, “whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” Communion is simply that the proclamation that Christ died on behalf of a sinner like me. The second meaning of the breaking of bread is the simple sharing of meals together. Too often, we retreat to our homes and do our own thing, but we desire to live in community with one another. Doing so means, “day by day…breaking bread in their homes” together (Acts 2:46).
– Devoting ourselves to prayer is done by spending time in prayer. The only way you can grow in your prayer life is to pray. We are intentional about spending time in prayer during our service, at community group and in our lives individually.
The rest of our time in this passage we talked about how this community of believers was a contagious one. Acts 2:47 says, “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” The most important thing to us is to see lives changed by the love of Christ. For people to recognize the holiness of God and repent of their sinfulness, to receive the forgiveness offered by Jesus and to surrender to the direction of the Holy Spirit in their lives. What made this community so contagious that those around were in awe of what was going on (Acts 2:43)? Two things: They worshiped God with great zeal and they loved one another sacrificially.
– We see in the text, the believers were daily worshiping God for what Jesus had done in them. Just before we came to this text we saw that this group of believers had swelled by 3000 people from around only 120 (Acts 2:1-41)! The amazing thing is they are all now praising God because for the same reason we praise God today. We have found salvation by grace through Jesus Christ. In Acts 2:38 Peter tells them clearly what they must do, “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.” 3000 responded! Christians all around the world from varying cultures have experienced the very same thing: Repentance before a Holy God, forgiveness received from Jesus and surrender to the move of the Spirit in their lives.
– Finally we see this community was contagious because it was marked by love for one another. The text says, “they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” There were no needs among them because of their love for one another. At times people have tried to reason a call to some sort of communal living from this text, but that is not what is being stated. What we do see is that as needs arose in this group and funds were needed to meet those needs, other believers sold their stuff to provide. This isn’t some sort of human system developed to meet needs. No, it is person to person, face to face, neighbor to neighbor extending love in a sacrificial manner. There wasn’t one individual among them who didn’t have food, shelter and clothing. All were contented and thankful for what God provided them through one another. As Americans, in a time when we are reminded of the fragility of our governing systems, we must allow ourselves to be challenged by this community which loved one another with a sacrificial love.
Our desire at Restoration Church is to be devoted and contagious just like the believers described in Acts 2:42-47.
This week we will continue our study of Acts with 3:1-26 for which I have included some questions below. If you are interested in joining us, we would love to have you. We will first study the text together during our Wednesday night community group, and then again during our Sunday night worship service. For more information, click here.
-What happened at the Beautiful Gate?
-To what/whom did Peter attribute this miracle?
-What does Peter instruct the people watching to do?
-Who does Peter say prophesied concerning these things?