Read Acts 2
In Acts 2 we see the earliest Christian community joining together in fellowship. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).
I’ve often turned to this passage and those that follow for instruction concerning the formation of the people of God. Amidst all the programs that can make up a church’s calendar, these four activities are the ideal; the study of God’s Word, Prayer, Fellowship, and Breaking of Bread (I take “breaking of bread” to mean the Holy Communion, others do not agree).
In the following verses (43-47) we discover that the people of God are transformed by their devotion to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers. We see a people who worship and praise God daily, live generous lives towards one another, hold all things in common and who also enjoy the favor of the Lord.
The ideal Christian community is this: one that cares for the needs of each other and praises God in the process. That’s precisely the community we see in Acts 2:42-47.
I long for that type of Christian community. I suppose, the whole world longs for it, whether they realize it or not. True Christian community appears to be a group of forgiving, kind, gracious people towards one another who are blessed by God and praise Him in the process.
It is my deep longing for the Church to be such a community today. Admittedly, what is presented us in the book of Acts is merely an ideal. I have no doubt that it happened, but we find later on that things are not perfect as the church expands beyond Jerusalem. Paul’s letter direct us that Christian community is riddled with problems. The difficulties that proceed are problems that we still see today; selfishness, greed, sexual immorality, corruption of power and so much more. Paul dealt with it in the churches he ministered to and we still deal with it today.
But for all the things that threaten Christian community, there are certain activities we need to continue in as followers of Jesus. Those activities would be Study, Fellowship, Prayer and Worship (Breaking of Bread and Praise of God).
In a world that is full of contrast, driving a wedge between male and female, black and white (and every shade in between), economic divide and more, Christian community comes together in four activities that bring transformation. This transformation pushes us towards having “all things in common” (2:44).
We become the Christian community we are called to be through study, fellowship, prayer and breaking bread together. Something about those divinely inspired activities brings us together and brings us closer to God as well. Please, study, pray, be a part of a loving church family that remembers our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And perhaps, a commitment to such activities will transform you and the wider Church into a family that looks like that first church family, all for the glory of God.
Lord, teach us to pray. Through our devotion to prayer, transform us into a loving community that cares for the needs of each other, all for your praise and glory.
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.