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 (NIV)
The beginning of the second chapter of Acts describes an event which is unprecedented by anything like it in history. The day is described as occurring on the Jewish holy day of Pentecost which is fifty days after the Sabbath of Passover week. Jesus Christ had been crucified and resurrected during that Passover week. He then remained on Earth for the next forty days until He ascended into heaven.
Ten days later, during the day of the Pentecost celebration, Jews from many places were gathered together in Jerusalem, at which time they witnessed an amazing occurrence. The followers of Jesus were gathered together, probably in the temple, and a great wind blew through the place and "tongues of fire" came down to rest upon each of them. They began to speak in the different languages of the many who were witnessing this event to the amazement of those gathered there. Peter quoted scripture and preached to the assembly and 3000 people were converted to be followers of Jesus Christ on that day. That was a huge turning point in the new Church. The followers became a community under the teachings of Jesus.
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
As a community they learned together under the guidance of the apostles of Jesus and they were devoted to these teachings. In other words, these followers made a commitment to a lifestyle and a philosophy. They spent their time together and celebrated the Lord's Supper. The evening meal is an important time for family togetherness and we see problems arising with families that no longer have these important times of sharing. The church is a family. The church community is strengthened by practicing the ritual of the remembrance of Christ together and praying together. Praying in solitude is important, but unified prayer among believers gives the prayer a louder voice and the community of those praying a sense of common purpose and strength.
Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
In their unification, these believers were powerful because they were focused on God and received the power that God gave to them. Christ had performed miracles and prophesized during His time on Earth. The apostles knew Christ and received power through Him and were able to act in that power that was manifested through them by God. If we know that our God is indeed awesome, should we not be filled with awe as well. Do we really have to see water turned into wine? Is it not enough see our own lives transformed by God's grace?
All the believers were together and had everything in common.
As a community of believers we should enjoy one another's company. We should be able to share time, help, and kindness with one another. In a healthy church community no one should be left in need of the essentials of life. If we have a common belief, then we should likewise have a common purpose and a communal sense of caring for fellow members. To be a part of a healthy church community we should be able to have confidence that when one member needs assistance, other members are there to step in to fill whatever needs exist.
Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
This is real commitment. In our society that is so absorbed with accumulating possessions, sometimes things come before people. As a church community, members must know their priorities. People come first. Fortunately, most of us don't have to go to the extreme of selling our possessions in order to help others . We live in a society that has such an abundance of wealth we usually have the resources to provide for those in need. But, if you had no other choice, would you be willing to sell your television, diamond ring, or silverware to help a hungry family? How committed are you?
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.
Would you be willing to go to church every single day? Most of us have jobs or other commitments in our lives. The early Christians were so committed to their community of faith that they met every day at the temple. Most churches today are hopeful that the members show up on Sunday let alone everyday. Those first Christians must have really been on fire to learn the teachings of God's word and to pray together. And they must have really enjoyed being with each other. Once again it is a matter of priorities and commitment.
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.
Not only did they go to church every day, they also ate at each other's homes with glad and sincere hearts. This wasn't something they did out of sense of obligation. This was something they did gladly from their hearts because they wanted to do it. They enjoyed basking in the love of God and this must have filled them with an attractive glow. As the song says, "when you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you". When you are praising God, you are joyful and this shows outwardly. This tends to bring a favorable reaction from others. When you appear happy, other people see in you something they would like to have for themselves.
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
When others want what you have, they are more willing to join you and follow what you are following in order to get it. We see this in such superficial ways in our society. People become so caught up in fads and celebrity worship. This is all so empty and people either see the deception of what they have followed or become bored by that which has little lasting substance. When people see something that is real and solid and lasting, it is easier for them to want to become part of that. Are you real? Is your church offering solid teaching and lasting relationships?