Acts 2:42-47 (ESV)
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Recently I examined 5 different things that were present in the early Church formation that are vitally important today as I was looking at Acts 2:42-47! We know that a God-given vision is imperative for each member to have for us to move in the direction that God is leading us at Alamo Heights Baptist Church. (Proverbs 29:18) Here at AHBC, our vision is “Disciples Reaching Our World”. It is a vision that brings about the purpose for anything and everything we endeavor as a Church body. If we stray towards many visions, it breaks the inertia that a “single heart” produces! Here are the 5 elements that I noticed.
1.) Fellowship – The early local Church spent quality time together! Many in Churches today attend services from time to time and feel that they have completed their “God time” and move on with the separate part of their life! A Church is stronger when we learn together, serve one another, hang out together, have meals together, pray together, etc. The Bible tells us that we should even “prefer” one another! This raises an important question; Do we really love each other and enjoy time together? Our ultimate Church goal is that each person is in fellowship with God and each other!
2.)Discipleship – When many become a Christian, they fail to learn about the new person that they have become. That may sound strange, but the bible tells us that we are a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). It should be a concern of a forward moving Church to have concern for each member to be taught the Word of God, the Bible! This is our instruction manual on how the new creation operates. It is not enough to be taught but also is demonstrated in practice by the ones who are leading the new Christian. We see that Ephesians 4:11-14 shows us that it builds all of us up in how we can live optimally, in unity and free from distractive and destructive thought.
3.) Ministry – A Christian in a healthy Church can serve others! Many believe that it is the job of the “paid staff” to serve the others alone, as if we are a cruise ship or something. The truth of the matter is that our Savior set forth the precedent on how we are to be concerned for the needs of others in the Church more than ourselves (Philippians 2:3-7). We see that the Bible shows us that each of us should be serving with the gifts that God’s Spirit gives each Church member for their role within a Church. If more Christians understood this, there would be far less “Church hopping”. There would also be the intrinsic initiative for each person within that Church.
4.) Evangelism – Many Christians wish to ignore this fact these days. As a matter of fact, many other people wish that all Christians would. The gospel is Good News! Everyone could use a little more of that these days! We are told that God gives all of us the duty of sharing the Good News with everyone so that God can restore the relationship that sin has taken from each person. (2 Corinthians 5:18)
5.) Worship – is so much more than lifting our hands and closing our eyes while we sing a song and have a super-good feeling thus! Worship is how we live our lives each moment with the knowledge that our God is with us always. We are told whether we eat, drink or whatever we do, it should be in a way that brings God glory. Is he a God that is never satisfied? The answer is no! He is pleased with us when we give Him our best! (1 Corinthians 10:31) This means when we are at work, home, at the store, or anywhere. He is with us, and we glorify Him by letting His love shine through us.
So, there are 5 important things for a Church to understand and operate. Can you imagine the difference these elements would make in our Church, or any other, if we were to obey God’s word and live the way that this prescribes! For all of those that “don’t need a Church”, you would have to admit that these elements are life changing. The fact of the matter though, is that this can be done. We see it in Acts 2 and our God gives each Church member the ability to accomplish this. “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us”! (Philippians 4:13)