Summary: What were the four desires of the first century church that God would add to their number daily?
DEVELOPING TRUE THANKFULNESS
As we come to this time of year there are many celebrations coming up. In just a few days we will be celebrating Thanksgiving.
This is usually a time when we gather together with family and friends and reflect on the goodness of God. We will probably eat too much, vow we will never eat like that again (like you said last year) and settle down for that afternoon nap only to rise again and partake of the remains left over from the afternoon feast.
For many this is Thanksgiving. But is it Thanksgiving?
What is the true meaning of Thanksgiving?
To me, it can be found in Acts 3. The disciples were active in their faith and many miracles were happening.
In verse 42 it says that the church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, (and) to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
In verse 42 we see that there were four things that were necessary to bring about this time of thanksgiving in the first century church.
1. They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching. (The Word of God)
2. They devoted themselves to the fellowship. (Church)
3. They devoted themselves to the breaking of bread. (Sharing what they had)
4. They devoted themselves to prayer. (Time with God)
Webster says the word devoted means: “To vow, to set apart, to dedicate, to be loyal, and faithful.”
Let’s look this morning into God’s Word and see if we are doing the things necessary in this church so that we might see God bring in a harvest of souls like He did in the young church 2000 years ago.
I. THEY DEVOTED THEMSELVES TO THE APOSTLES TEACHING
A. The Word of God requires us to make a decision
James 1:22-25, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
B. The Word of God requires us to open up our hearts
Hebrews 4:12-13, For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
C. The Word of God requires we grow in the Word
Hebrews 5: 12-14, In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
II. THEY DEVOTED THEMSELVES TO THE FELLOWSHIP
A. To the church
Hebrews 10:25, Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
B. To each other
2 Corinthians 6:14, Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.
C. To God
Psalm 42:4-6, These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. 5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6my God.
III. THEY DEVOTED THEMSELVES TO THE BREAKING OF BREAD (Sharing)
A. Holy Communion
1 Corinthians 10:16, is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the One loaf.