They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 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, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (NIV) Acts 2:42-47
The community of early Christians enjoyed the favor of nonbelievers in Jerusalem. These unbelievers were aware of the events of Pentecost and were watching the life of the early congregation. What were these marks that distinquished the early believers?
The book of Acts has three short summary-like paragraphs about the early Christian community (2:42-47; 4:32-35; and 5:12-16). In Acts 2:42 the author, Luke, describes the early church by telling us that the believers were distinguished by 4 things. The were devoted to:
- The apostles’ teaching,
- Fellowship with one another,
- “Breaking of bread,” and
The Greek verb that is translated “devoted” indicates a steadfast and single-mindedness to a certain course of action. The early followers of Christ were committed to following God’s Word. “The apostles’ teaching” refers to the material considered to be authoritative because it was the message about Jesus proclaimed by the apostles. It would have undoubtedly included a compilation of the words of Jesus, some account of his earthly ministry, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. Here are just a few of Christ’s words and the importance of obedience:
- “If you love me, you will obey what I command. (NIV) John 14:15
- “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (NIV) John 14:21
- Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (NIV) John 14:23
- But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (NIV) John 14:26
- If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (NIV) John 15:10
- You are my friends if you do what I command. (NIV) John 15:14
- Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (NIV) John 17:17
The early followers of Christ were committed to following His Word. What about you?