Be Still Know
READ: Acts 2.41-42 NLT
‘Those who believed what Peter said were baptised and added to the church that day— about 3,000 in all. All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.’
I love the fact that this earliest description of the church is so similar to what we do today. The world looks completely different in almost every respect, but Christians continue to be nourished in the same way.
Teaching was at the heart of their life together. We need to remember that it was decades before any part of the New Testament was written, and so teachers had a crucially important role in the early church. We have the privilege of easy access to the New Testament and innumerable books of Christian teaching, but we still need gifted teachers to help us to understand the Bible and to apply it to our lives.
The New Testament knows nothing of solitary Christianity. Christians belong to one another and are sustained by mutual love and support. From day one, fellowship was seen as vitally important and it found expression in the sharing of meals. Eating together is often a powerful way of building relationships and as the early church did so they naturally wanted to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. No doubt their meeting was very different from what we would call communion or the eucharist these days but they were strengthened as they reminded themselves of Jesus’ Last Supper and obeyed his command to do so in memory of him.
And finally, the early Christians met together to pray. Their prayers bound them together and strengthened them for the challenges that were to come. No-one could possibly have guessed how fierce and violent those challenges would be. Prayer would hold them together on the harshest days. Nothing has changed and it is unquestionably the case that the churches that pray together, stay together. Through prayer God gives us the spiritual resources to be able to stand for him whatever the challenges.
QUESTIONS: How closely does your church resemble the description of the early church in these verses?
PRAYER: Lord God, thank you for the blessing of belonging to your church. Help us to receive teaching with joy, to build fellowship in love, and to be constant in prayer. Amen
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