“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42–47, NIV84)
As the Christian church is birthed, it is important for us to capture its early practices. How they chose to work their individual faiths into a corporate expression for the work of the kingdom of God is a worthwhile study. As these new Christians were daily being added to the kingdom, they began to develop a consistent pattern. They gathered together! They did not see their faith as an autonomous thing only. They naturally understood that God strengthened and worked their faith within community. So, they devoted themselves to some things that we should pay attention to. First, it was the Apostles’ teachings. They devoted themselves not to a new teaching but to a teaching rooted in biblical truths. They were taught to see that the scriptures they believed in spoke of Jesus throughout, and that He was the promised Messiah. Devotion to this teaching strengthened and solidified their faith. They also devoted themselves to fellowship: Christians gathering together relating their struggles, but most important, God’s faithfulness amid the struggles. They would join together at meal times and share in the blessings that the Lord had provided. Finally, they devoted themselves to prayer — not just personal individual prayer, but corporate group prayer. I believe that it is because they followed these consistent practices that the early church was blessed with “homothumidon” (one-mindedness).
Please join me in finding ways to bring this perfect 1st-century model back into our 21st-century lives.