While no church looks exactly like the Acts 2 church, as much as we want to, this passage is discussing a particular group of people in a particular place and time. But, based on this passage, how should we do church?
Although we cannot hear the spoken words of the Apostles, we have their writings. A Church must be “devoted” to the writings of the Apostles and the teaching of God’s inerrant Word. Likewise, a church must be “devoted” to one another in fellowship. The devotion to fellowship plays out in two respects, breaking bread, and prayer. Breaking bread might be a reference to Communion only. However, we know that in the ancient Church, there was a shared meal specifically for the benefit of those less fortunate (this mimics our version of Offerings more than communion). Sometimes called a “love feast” or “charity meal” this was a tangible way for the Church to take care of its own who were less fortunate. Perhaps, then, the fellowship of breaking bread is both Communion to remember what Christ has done as well as a tangible way to bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2). Prayer, also, falls under the banner of fellowship. A church should pray for one another. Both acts of fellowship are vertical and horizontal—a church must be active in both.
I love the phrase in verse 43, “And awe came upon every soul” (ESV). The word “Awe” is the same word for “fear.” It’s used here in the Old Testament sense of coming into the knowledge of God causing a reverential awe—so basically, salvation. I think that the practices of verse 42 were primarily what inspired such “awe” and produced the result in verse 47 of seeing people added daily. Although these verses are descriptive and simply a record of events, there is must to understand about the priority of devotion a church should have.
Can the word “devotion” be used of your relationship to your church and its people? For many of you reading this the answer is overwhelmingly, “Yes!” Your dedicated service and generous spirit are what fuels the Church. However, this passage should make all of us take a hard look in the mirror and ask the question, “Do I love the Church the way God loves the Church?” Christ died to make this thing happen. Acts 2:42–47 is the early product of the greatest sacrifice in all of history. Is your devotion to the Church and the things of the Church on par with the sacrifice it took to create it?
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate