Acts 2:46-47 – “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” NASU
I cannot tell you how many times I have had preachers and members of congregations tell me that they wanted what the Early Church had. That sounds wonderful, right? The conversions and miracles but that’s not all they had. They and indescribable persecution, unflappable commitment, and untiring dedication and God was with them helping them reap the harvest. Not to miss the context but I want to focus on these two verses to speak to having what they had.
They were engaged in the Kingdom ‘daily’ and were ‘unified’ in their objective, commitment, and pursuit. Sadly, today most churches are in competition not co-laborers for the Kingdom. We have sectarian divisions that become literal wars where different groups wage war on other groups calling them everything but Christian and focus more on debunking or discrediting them than spreading the gospel to the world. If that breaks my heart and angers me can you imagine how God feels about it?
Examine how they approached the Christian life. They were daily with singleness of mind in the temple. They were daily having ‘koinonia’ – FELLOWSHIP breaking bread from house to house with joy and sincerity. They were daily engaging in praising God together. As a result there were not church splits, denominational wars their theological differences were discussed with civility and sincerity seeking truth and depending on the Holy Spirit’s guidance. The result was ‘favor’ among the people and souls were added daily. Yes, the religious and civil hierarchy wanted to eradicate them but as they endured for the Kingdom of God the church became more a body than body parts fragmented and dysfunctional. Christ in them shone to all who would hear and they manifested that which was living in them.
They did not consider it unusual or unexpected to face difficulties and hate. They did not consider it unusual or unexpected for miracles to transpire. They did not think it unusual or unexpected to see people born again every day. I suggest that while they preached, taught, shared, and grew, had they conducted corporate gatherings like we it would have been more for ‘reporting’ what had happened rather than a time for ‘preaching’ and a church service. They were the church rather than just going to church. A building can never be the church for it is people, living stones, the Body of Christ.
If we want what they had we must become what they were. The Kingdom of God must become first in our lives not an accessory we add to our otherwise busy lives. It may be a salve for our consciences to attend services on Sunday and mid-week but that, in itself is not being what they were or doing what they did. I am not saying not do so but I am saying that is part not the whole. We need to be ‘assembled’ not just ‘assemble’ for a meeting. I am convinced that there is coming an hour when THE CHURCH will be what they were and we will see all they saw and more. We will truly become epistles known and read among men and say with Peter, ‘such as I have, give I to thee.’
May God be with you as you go through your day!