Summary: Exposition of Acts 2:42-43 about the qualities and character of the early church
Text: Acts 2:42-43, Title: Koinonia Ekklesias, Date/Place: NRBC, 7/1/07, AM
A. Opening illustration: Some story about the reformers kicking off the Reformation with a conviction to recapture the spirit of the NT church.
B. Background to passage: Luke gives us a glimpse of the life of the early church in detail. And if we want to attempt to have a biblical church, this is the start of the record of how the early church turned the world upside down in the span of a few hundred years.
C. Main thought: this text and others like it are incredibly important to our understanding of the way church should be today. We will see eight focuses (things they were obstinately committed and devoted to) of the first church of the apostles, four now, and four tonight.
A. Apostolic teaching (v. 42)
1. The first thing and the last thing mentioned in a first-century list were usually the most important thing. And what we see in the early church is a clear emphasis on learning and maintaining the doctrines of the apostles. These were the men who spent time with Christ, and whom He commissioned to go forth teaching and baptizing in His name. This indicates that even during the times of the first church a body of correct teaching was be developed and codified. This continued in the compilation of the NT.
3. Illustration: the first thing that Dr. Platt did this week was to stand up and quote verbatim the last three Psalms (148-150), the new believers in the underground church that Dr Platt visited studying the word for 12 hours a day in preparation for service and ministry, the truly sad thing about it all was that his deep teaching was beyond most of these kids, and even if it wasn’t beyond them, it was the first time that they had heard much of it, “A believer should count it a wasted day if he does not learn something new from, or have his life enriched by the Word every day.” MacArthur,
4. We live in one of the most educated and accessible societies ever in the history of the world to biblical truth. And yet it does not translate into a people full of biblical truth. We will be held accountable. Are we as a church really committed to the teaching of the Apostles? Does this text mandate that we have some kind of systematic plan to teach the “whole counsel of the word?” The reason that we have lost two generations now is that in one we failed to teach accurately and sufficiently the word, thus we are stuck with evolution, abortion, self-esteem, etc. Are we content with a basic knowledge? Many of you do not attend Sunday School, DT, Wed night, because you really lack a hunger to learn more. When was the last time that you read something that you are quite sure that you have never read before in the bible? And I know that I sound like a broken record on this one, but really I shouldn’t have to beg you to study the word. One writer went on to say that a great evidence for genuine conversion was a hunger for the word. But we must also remember that the reason they wanted the teaching was to put it in practice in their lives.
B. The Lord’s Supper (v. 42)
1. We are going to skip fellowship for now, even though that is where I get part of the title for this message. The “breaking of bread” was not simply the sharing of meals, although that was a part of their life too, but a reference to Communion. This was a constant part of the life of the early church. There is good evidence that the first church observed this ordinance (define ordinance) at least weekly. This was not only a time where they remembered the death of Christ, which was central to everything in the faith, but a time where they expressed their unity and commitment one to another as the body of Christ. This was a time for self-examination (of sin and service), purging of old sin, and accountability.
2. 1 Cor 11:23-34, John 6:48-58,
3. Illustration: If you give a street drunk a bottle of expensive alcohol, he will appreciate it the same as he would a cheap bottle of booze. Why? He does not know what he has. Likewise, whoever eats and drinks the Lord’s Supper in ignorance, fails to enjoy the true richness of what she is consuming! …they broke off a tiny little piece of a wafer, and placed it in the elderly gentleman’s mouth, and poured in a tiny sip of grape juice; and sure enough, the man swallowed. He never woke up. Neither do many people today.