Summary: The depth of our devotion will determine our awe and our impact.

Devoted Disciples

Acts 2:42-43

Rev. Brian Bill

October 19-20, 2019

Transition from “Me Church”

God worked wonders in our services this past weekend as seven people indicated they repented and received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! Another woman sent me a note later to say she was saved some time ago but raised her hand because she “felt it alright to finally let people know that I am saved!”

While it’s thrilling when people put their faith in Christ, it’s only the beginning because we’re also to equip believers to follow Christ. Jesus told us in Matthew 28:19-20 we’re not to just make converts, but to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Last weekend in the “Sermon that Launched the Church” we saw that Peter started with a hook and then went to the Book. This caused his listeners to take a look within and then many took the free gift of salvation and were baptized. After repenting of sin and receiving the Savior, we read this in Acts 2:41: “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”

Last week we looked at a large section of Scripture and today we’ll slow our pace down and unpack just two verses. Open your Bibles to Acts 2:42-43: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.”

Here’s what I’m hoping we learn today: The depth of our devotion will determine our awe and our impact.

Deepening our Devotion

Verse 42 is linked to verse 41 with the word “and.” “They” refers to the new believers who “devoted themselves…” The word “devoted” has a rich meaning. It refers to “staying close, cleaving faithfully and continuing steadfastly.” This is in the imperfect tense, meaning it was ongoing, occurring over and over. The New American Standard captures it well: “they were continually devoting themselves.” One commentator says they “attended constantly upon.” The idea is to “to be steadfastly attentive unto.”

Here’s how the idea of “devoted themselves” is further developed in other passages.

Acts 1:14: “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer…”

Acts 11:23: “When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.”

Hebrews 10:39 helps us see the definition of devotion by showing us what it is not: “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”

This idea is further developed in Luke 9:51 where we read of Jesus’ determination to head to the cross, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” The KJV reads, “He steadfastly set His face.” Just as there was no stopping Jesus from what He came to accomplish, there was no stopping these followers who were resolutely steadfast in their devotion.

Brothers and sisters, let’s be done with casual Christianity and half-hearted holiness. God longs for us to be completely committed. Notice this is an act of the will because it says they devoted “themselves.” It didn’t happen automatically and no one could do it for them. These Christ-followers decided to become sold-out, to give their all to the one who gave His all for them. They knew the depth of their devotion would determine their awe and their impact.

4 Facets of a Faithful Church

These first followers were devoted to four disciplines. We could call these the four facets of a faithful church or in our context, the “Quads” of a Biblical Community.

1. Preaching. The first thing these believers committed themselves to was “the apostle’s teaching.” The teaching of the apostles first and foremost involved the gospel and the fulfillment of Old Testament passages, similar to what Peter preached earlier in this chapter, when he referenced the Book of Joel and two specific Psalms. The word for teaching refers to “doctrine” and is used of the act of teaching and the content itself. In order to grow in grace, these new believers needed to know God’s Word.

We are committed to the primacy of biblical preaching not the promulgation of the prosperity gospel, gimmicky techniques, or motivational pep talks. Acts 6:7 says, “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”

During the month of October, my mind always goes to the reformers who held to Sola Scriptura, or Scripture alone. Along with them we declare Scripture as our highest and final authority, not tradition or our politically correct culture or our feelings or our political party or the church or the Pope or the Supreme Court. The Bible and the Bible alone is the basis of our faith. Psalm 19:7-8: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

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