If ever there was a purpose for the church is has to be Acts 2:42-47. We are told they “devoted” themselves to the following four things; apostles teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers.
Fellowship of Believers – Acts 2:42-47
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.
Devoted to Apostolic Teaching
The church is to teach biblical doctrine so we can be grounded in our faith. Ephesians 4:14 tells us, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” The Word of God is the means by which we grow spiritually (1 Peter 2:2). It was by the Word of God that Jesus resisted the devil (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). It is by God’s Word in our hearts that we can resist sin (Psalm 199:11).
Devoted to Fellowship
The church is to be a place of fellowship, where Christians can be devoted to one another and honor one another (Romans 12:10), instruct one another (Romans 15:14), be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32), encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11), and most importantly, love one another (1 John 3:11). The church is the body of Christ which is built up when each part does its share (Ephesians 4:15-16). Our assembling is designed to stir up one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). Our fellowship is a source of comfort and edification (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Our fellowship is a way to avoid becoming hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:12-14).
Devoted to Breaking of Bread
The church is to be a place where believers can observe the Lord’s Supper, remembering Christs death and shed blood on our behalf (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). The concept of breaking bread (Acts 2:42) also carries the idea of having meals together. This is another example of the church promoting fellowship.
Devoted to Prayers
The church is to be a place that promotes prayer, teaches prayer, and practices prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 encourages us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Together with the Word, prayer is foundational to spiritual fitness.
Peter’s preaching leads to the conversion of some three thousand people! These form a devoted company, so committed to loving one another that they are willing to sell their possessions to meet one another’s need.
This community life described in the above passages was an accompaniment of the introduction of Christianity into the world, intended to be an example of what the Spirit of Christ could do for mankind. Just imagine if this model was followed today, the need for outreach, special programs, and the like would be gone. The last sentence says, “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” There would be no need for us to go and find them, the Spirit would bring them to us.
Perhaps we will find this “plan” helpful as we seek to carry out the admonition given by Paul to the young man Timothy… “exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8