Life in the early church may sound strange to our contemporary ears. The description of miracles and healings, the passionate letters of Paul, and the missionary zeal of the apostles can appear to be other-worldly. Our lifestyle, political systems, technologies and economic complexities can seem distant from the stories of the Bible. Perhaps that is why I value Acts 2:42 so much.
Acts 2:42 describes the life of the early church in Jerusalem, shortly after Peter preached his first sermon and several thousand people placed their trust in Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers. (Acts 2:42)
Their four signs of devotion are still practiced by followers of Jesus today:
1. Apostle’s Teachings
3. Breaking of Bread
Followers of Jesus continue to study the “apostle’s teaching:” Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the Book of Acts, the Epistles of Paul, John and Peter. The apostle’s teachings became our New Testament. We study them to understand who Jesus is and what his life, death and resurrection mean for us.
As we study together we continue to create fellowship, because we discover how the teachings impact our shared lives. We listen to each other’s joys and sorrows. We care for one other during times of illness, stress or hardship. Fellowship is more than a shared cup of coffee after worship; fellowship is the shared cup of blessing and generosity through all of life.
One of my deepest tastes of apostle’s teaching and fellowship came in college when I participated in the Haverford-Bryn Mawr Christian Fellowship. Every Friday evening twenty to forty college students would gather to study God’s Word and to reflect together how it impacted our lives. It created a missionary zeal in many of us. We did not want to simply survive college with our faith intact. We felt a calling to bear witness to Jesus Christ in an often academically hostile environment. The study and fellowship gave us the courage and compassion to speak. The ancient devotions brought us life.
How has the study of the apostle’s teaching affected your fellowship?
Tomorrow, reflections on the breaking of bread and prayers.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, teach me to be devoted to your ways.