The first church had a one purpose— living out Jesus’ teachings and final commandments. Acts 2 tells us that the early church spent all their time studying the Apostle’s teachings, spending intentional time together, praying, and enjoying meals together. So, we, as the church, should be doing the exact same things! In this series, we are going to look at the ways we can follow God and live in Christian community just like the very first Christians.
In Acts 2, people from all over the then-known world were visiting Jerusalem to celebrate the Pentecost Feast. These weren’t just any people, however. They were devout Jews who were making their annual (sometimes more often) pilgrimage to the Holy City to celebrate God’s provision in the most recent wheat harvest. By all accounts of their Jewish society, these visitors to Jerusalem were righteous in the eyes of God, fulfilling the customary practices of the time. They were serving God, acknowledging His faithfulness, and obeying the Law. What more was there in life?
What these visitors didn’t know was that a handful of their own were about to have an experience that would forever change their lives, and subsequently, the entire world. The promised Holy Spirit (John 15:4-15) descended upon the remaining Apostles while they were in a secluded room, revealing the full meaning of the teachings Jesus had imparted over the past three years. God the Son (Jesus) had left them, but God the Holy Spirit had arrived to stay for the long term.
So moved and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Peter delivered a sermon to the curious onlookers who were intrigued by the unusual behavior of this group of Galileans. Peter explained God’s promise of salvation through Jesus, the one whom the Jewish crowd and leaders had recently crucified, leading about 3,000 people to embrace repentance and salvation. Can you imagine that scene? In a single setting, 3,000 people turned away from legalism and religion and turned toward freedom and a relationship with God through Jesus Christ’s work on the cross (Acts 2:14-41)! As amazing as that is, the story doesn’t end there.
Acts 2:42-47 tells us that the new converts immediately put their faith into action, inspired by the Apostles’ confidence and Jesus’ example over the last three years. They began studying the teachings of the Apostles (which were the teachings of Jesus), spending quality time together in fellowship, and “breaking bread” by enjoying meals as a community and sharing food with those in need (Acts 2:46). Notably, they didn’t just share food in a place of worship; they did this within their homes. True biblical Christian community is designed to extend beyond the four walls of our churches. Lastly, they prayed together, bringing their woes, worries, and worship to the Lord. They trusted God to provide just as He had provided a Savior for all.
These practices should define a Christian’s life. Christian community is not merely gathering on a Sunday or Wednesday to participate in rituals. It involves praying together, studying the Word of God, spending uplifting and quality time together (Ephesians 4:29), and sharing meals.
After all, since Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35), and we should always be connected to Him, it’s only natural that we enjoy our community with Him through food and fellowship, embracing the God-given community around us.