YOU GOTTA HAVE THE “WANT TO”
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). "I want to be a worker for the Lord, I want to love and trust His holy word; I want to sing and pray, and be busy every day In the kingdom of the Lord. I will work, I will pray In the vineyard, in the vineyard of the Lord; I will work I will pray, I will labor every day In the vineyard of the Lord," says the first stanza of the popular song: "I Want To Be A Worker."
The Book of Acts is called by many names which attest to its uniqueness among the great company of epistles comprising the Holy Bible. These designations include: the Hub of the Bible, the Book of Conversions and the History of the First Century Church. Therefore, the Book of Acts is an appropriate place to begin a study of "Want-To-Religion And Church Attendance."
The Lord’s church is first acknowledged in Scripture (KJV) in the present tense, already in existence, in Acts 2:47. Before Acts Two, references to the church clearly indicate the church was not yet established (e.g., Matthew 16:18). The church, or kingdom as it was sometimes called (Matthew 16:18-19), was still only a promise in Acts 1:8. However, the Lord’s promise that it should be established with power (Mark 9:1; Matthew 18:18) was fulfilled when the apostles received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts Two (verses 1-4). The power with which the Lord’s church was established or the "keys of the kingdom" (Matthew 16:18-19) began to be demonstrated when the apostles miraculously spoke in languages that they had not studied, styled "tongues" (Acts 2:5-13).
Church Attendance in Acts Two
The Gospel was initially preached in Jerusalem, per Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 2:2, 3). The first recorded Gospel sermon appears in Acts 2:14-40. Believers were baptized and the Lord added them to the church (Acts 2:41-47). These early Christians enjoyed a close religious and social fellowship (Acts 2:42). Their worship and study assemblies were frequent (often daily, verse 46). Faithful attendance was not a matter of regulation then, as it later became in the context of which Hebrews 10:25 is a part. Christians eagerly assembled for public worship and study, (i.e. in the temple, and in more private settings, from house to house) because they possessed "want-to-religion." This pervading attitude also led these disciples to prefer one another in brotherly love (Romans 12:10), love the brotherhood (1 Peter 2:17) and develop a like precious faith (2 Peter 1:1).
Church Attendance in Acts Four and Five
Upon the apostles’ release from prison and before the Sanhedrin, they returned "to their own company" (4:23) which was "assembled together" (4:31). This was not conclusively a Lord’s Day worship assembly though they were teaching or preaching and praying (Acts 4:23-32). "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul . . ." (4:32).
Public preaching continued on Solomon’s Porch of the Temple area (5:12-16). Regular assembling, teaching, worshipping and miracles confirming the Word of God resulted in many men and women being added to the multitude of the church. ". . . and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch . . . And the believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women" (5:12, 14). "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ" (5:42). The early church met daily in public (the Temple) and in private (in every member’s home). These daily assemblies included both preaching (formal teaching, usually of a public nature) and teaching (usually less formal than preaching and often in private settings).