Read - Acts 2v42-47
Message - Scott Woodburn
By the grace of God this year will see our fellowships returning to normal. We will all rejoice on the day that masks are no longer a part of church life and we no longer need to watch the clock or insist upon a certain seat. But when that day comes what will the priority be for our churches?
The passage before us today is famous for its focus on the day to day life of the church of Jesus Christ just as the Gospel was beginning to leave Israel. We could perhaps quote these verses off by heart and they have been preached by many a new minister in the first few Sundays of his tenure. Yet as we read them today I suspect we all realise that most of our churches don't look like this.
Luke tells us that these Christians were devoted to the teaching of the apostles. They had a hunger for the Word of God, read and preached. They listened intently to the teaching of the apostles, it was a priority, they knew that God had spoken and so their response was to listen. They enjoyed fellowship with one another, they had a common faith and so the highs and lows of life were shared. They laughed together and cried together, they had fellowship.
They broke bread together, certainly partaking of the Lord's Supper but also having dinner together. Enjoying meals and fellowship and chat and they prayed together. They were devoted to "the prayers" realising that prayer is essential to the church of Jesus Christ. We can do nothing apart from the Lord and so these men and women called upon Him constantly. As you read these things ask yourself if your church resembles this one?
Those on the outside of the church fellowship were awed by these Christians (v43) and the message of the Gospel was authenticated by the signs and wonders carried out by the apostles (v43b). As these Christians cared for one another they held all things in common (v44) and some even sold their possessions to give to the needy (v45). The church isn't called to communism but instead mutual love and affection as we put other's needs first.
The fellowship met on a daily basis for worship and for fellowship (v46) finding favour with outsiders (v47a) and seeing God add to their number each and every day (v47b). Many years have come and gone since the events of Acts. The apostles are no more and the world in which we live is much different but I ask you, as we all (hopefully) return to normal...what will that be like? Back to the endless busyness of church life? Back to a fellowship centred around secondary issues? Back to endless meetings? There is another way, a God ordained way and it is written for our instruction in these verses.
Q68 What is required in the sixth commandment? The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, and the life of others.