The Apostles’ Essentials
Greetings and the grace of God be with you all!
This year, the first Sunday in June is Pentecost where we remember the Holy Spirit’s powerful presence coming down the on Apostles as tongues of fire. They have been trying to figure out what to do after Jesus’ death, His 40 days appearing among them, and now ascending back to heaven. Then emboldened by the Holy Spirit, Peter preaches and those who accepted his message were 3,000 that day. The Church had begun and it says in Acts 2:42 that the fellowship of the believers:
...devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
I love this insight into the life of the earliest church. And I believe it has a lot to teach us about being the church. Obviously, the circumstances are different between this early church in Jerusalem and the one that you and I are a part of. Not many churches go from 120 members to over 3000 in a single day. And no other church has had as many members who had physically followed Jesus, absorbing all He had to say and do, for up to three years. But what this verse records them as doing is something that I believe all of us at Nolensville First could benefit from and that is what we are wrapping our time around on Sunday mornings this summer. We are going back to the basics of what it means to be the church at its beginning. Acts 2:42 says they were devoted to:
They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to prayer. For us today, the apostles’ teaching is found in the New Testament. There is no substitute to spending time together in Bible study and in prayer. We should be taking every opportunity to gather together to hear what God has to say in the Word and to commune and be in conversation with God in prayer. We should be excited about the opportunity to meet with God.
The other thing they did was spend time together, fellowshipping and eating together. They met together in large groups in the temple courts, and in small groups in homes. And they spent time together gathered around the Lord’s table, breaking bread. They were living the two greatest commandments, loving God and loving others.
While you can identify many other things that a church should be doing, I am not sure how effective they will be without these four. That may look different from church to church. And after all that we have been through over the last couple of years, I have found that when we get back to basics and remember what it is like to be a church community God can do amazing things through us. And when God’s people love spending time with God and with each other, good things are bound to happen. At the end of Acts 2 in verse 47 it says:
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
May that be our prayer, too, in our days to come of gathering as a church community.
Blessings in Christ,
Rev. Jeremy T. Squires