A Healthy Church
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42)
It was one of the most amazing days in Church History, or in all history – the day of Pentecost, the birth-day of the Church. That day 3,000 souls were added to the original 120 believers after Jesus ascended to heaven.
On Pentecost the sound of the rushing wind, the tongues of fire, Peter’s preaching, and the conversion of 3,000 were all remarkable events. But the things described in Acts 2:42 were the abiding legacy of God’s work. We read that they continued steadfastly in things that become the foundation for every healthy church.
First, they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine. This means they relied on the apostles to communicate to them who Jesus was and what He had done. They had just trusted in Jesus; now they wanted to know more – so they continued steadfastly in the truth. There was to be no departure from the apostles’ doctrine, because it was the truth of God.
Thankfully, God allows us to sit under the apostles’ doctrine today – the New Testament record. Every Bible teacher should seek to be unoriginal in the sense that we don’t have our own doctrine, but the apostles’ doctrine.
Then, they continued steadfastly in fellowship. The ancient Greek word koinonia (translated here as fellowship) has the idea of association, communion, fellowship, and participation; it means to share in something.
The Christian life is meant to be full of fellowship, of sharing one with another.
– We share the same Lord Jesus.
– We share the same truth that guides our life.
– We share the same love for God
– We share the same desire to worship Jesus.
– We share the same struggles.
– We share the same victories.
– We share the same duty of living for Jesus.
– We share the same joy of communicating the gospel.
They also continued steadfastly in the breaking of bread. Even though they lived so close to the time when Jesus was crucified, they still never wanted to forget what He did on the cross. How much more important is it for us to never forget?
Finally, they continued steadfastly in prayers. Whenever God’s work is done, God’s people gather for prayer and worship. The original here has the sense of “the prayers” – speaking of arranged services for God’s people to worship, pray, and hear God’s word together.
These four things – the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and in prayers were a foundation for the health of the early Church. Everything else we read about the power and glory of those early Christians flows from this solid ground.
May you be blessed enough to belong to a congregation with this foundation, and may you do what you can to strengthen that foundation, building only on it. Today, in whatever way God gives you opportunity, find a way to pursue these things.
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