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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

Min. Joseph Williams

October 21, 2015

Acts 2:42-45

Introduction: Our Pastor has begun a preaching series entitled, “The Church is Supposed To.” This is a series of sermons whose focus is to enlighten us or even remind us of the responsibilities, behaviors, and duties that are to be exhibited by those of us in the Body of Christ; the Church. This list can be exhaustive, but by examining the formation of the "Early Church" we can gain a basic sense of those things that the Church is supposed to be doing. This study is intended to stay in line with that same thought.

In this, the second chapter of the book of Acts we are given a glimpse of what is referred to as the formation or beginning of the "New Testament Church." This is the Church that is formed based on the belief in and teachings of Jesus Christ. The second chapter of Acts is most noted for its first four verses where the promise of an advocate from the Father that Jesus made in John 14:16 would be fulfilled. Following his death, burial, resurrection and ascension, a “Comforter, an Advocate, a Helper,” in the person of the Holy Spirit is given. On the fiftieth day following the Final Passover of Jesus' earthly ministry, on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is imparted to the Apostles and they begin to speak in other languages (tongues). In defense of the accusation of intoxicated Apostles, and now filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter, who only fifty days earlier had vehemently denied his Christian discipleship on three distinct occasions, stands boldly and delivers his initial sermon. This bold proclamation filled with prophecies, proofs and fulfillments revealing the divinity and Messiah-ship of Jesus results in the salvation of about three thousand souls that same day. Thus the beginning of the New Testament Church. The following passages clearly display the characteristics of the growing and thriving New Testament Church. As a part of the New Testament Church, these same characteristics are meant to govern our association and behavior within the Body of Christ, and our communities.

Vs. 42 The Church is supposed to:

Be devoted to the Apostles’ teaching: In conjunction with his final command to go and make disciples, in Matt. 28:20 Jesus said that those new disciples be taught to obey everything that He had commanded. The recipient of the devotion spoken of in this passage is not meant to say that the devotion of the people of the early Church was to the Apostles. Their devotion was to the teachings that were given by the Apostles, and the teachings to which they were devoted were those of the Good News of Jesus Christ. This passage is one that is often misinterpreted for selfish gain. The intent here is that these believers were dedicated/ committed to the learning of the commands and teachings of Christ. Their devotion was not to the Apostles themselves, but to the truth of the Gospel which they were taught by the Holy Spirit lead and empowered Apostles. How can we be obedient to the commands of Jesus Christ if we have not been taught what His commands are? Herein lays the eternal importance of teaching and preaching the Word of God. Both are vital and foundational to the overall success of the Church. In addition to being taught from the pulpit, in weekly Bible study or even Sunday school, today we have the advantage of the Written New Testament. Our commitment /devotion to the Apostles‘ teaching today should include personal study in addition to group studies. We must also understand devotion to the teachings of Christ to mean that they were as expressed in James 1:22, not only listening to the Word/teachings, but they were active in living out the Word in their daily lives.

Be of One Fellowship: This act of fellowship is used to describe camaraderie, community, and togetherness. It refers to a unified relationship among fellow believers. The Christian life is meant to be filled with fellowship, of sharing with one another. These fellow believers like us shared the same Savior (Jesus), they shared the same Spirit of God that had been poured out on each of them, they shared the same love for God and desire to worship Him, they shared the same struggles, they shared the same victories, they shared the same responsibility of living for Jesus, they shared the same charge of sharing the Good News of Jesus. They were unified in their worship of, faith in and commitment to Christ. This short statement should lead us to understand that corporate worship, prayer and praise are an integral part of our Christian experience. It is not only desired but it is a necessity in maintaining a unified body of believers.

Pray: Christ prayed for his disciples and as it is our charge to imitate Him, we must pray for one another. Praying for others is a way of imitating the humility of Christ. When we pray for one another we are essentially putting the needs and often desires of others above our own. As an example; we should be aware of a brother or sister’s need for spiritual strengthening, though we too may assume to be weak, we should pray for their strengthening even before own. Also, prayer is the conduit through which we foster and nurture relationship with Christ. This is where we get to know the Lord. Prayer is a conversation, inclusive of both speaking to the Lord and listening to the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 teaches us to pray continually.

Vs. 44 Share with those in Need: (Had everything in common) It was common for the early Church to share personal resources for the common good of the fellowship of believers. The bible is filled with scripture that instructs us to care for the poor and needy. This new found congregation was radical in that all of its monies were put into a single treasury for use by all of its members. This insured that no believer would be in lack. This is not to say that this is to be the absolute way of the Church. The early Church in Jerusalem actually suffered because of this practice. On many occasions throughout the New Testament the Church at Jerusalem found itself receiving funds from congregations that did not support the same methodology.

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