Summary: Do you think this is really what Jesus had in mind? What about the early church - did they do anything like this? What were their priorities and are we getting any of it right?
Dakota Community Church
July 29, 2007
Have you ever spent anytime thinking about church? I don’t mean which church you will attend or the capitol “C” Church the Body of Christ. I mean have you ever thought about how we “do church”? How we get together on Sunday mornings and sit in rows and sing to the back of each others heads, you know, the weirdness of the whole thing. Ever think about that, or am I only one? Do you think this is really what Jesus had in mind? What about the early church - did they do anything like this? What were their priorities and are we getting any of it right?
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
1. Devotion to the apostles teaching.
It is clear that right from the beginning, teaching has been a part of the church experience. This was not just a casual add on to the weeks activities.
They were devoted to the teaching. These men had been with Jesus; they had first hand knowledge of what the One who came from heaven said and did. They wanted to hear what Jesus was like, how He lived, and how He expected them to live.
What were they hearing? What made this teaching so compelling? Why was the early church growing so rapidly and without any kind of professionally designed outreach programming in place?
A.) They were hearing a radical “Kingdom” message.
They were hearing about the sacrificial loving, giving, serving, preferring others, going the extra mile, turning the other cheek, greatest will be least, first will be last, upside down KINGDOM OF GOD.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.
B.) They were witnessing a message that was backed up with power.
They didn’t just hear about God’s power, they saw it!
Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
C.) These combined to create an unstoppable force.
They heard this radical message, they were challenged to surrender completely, they saw the evidence of supernaturally changed lives, and so they bought in and told everyone they knew.
All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
So the early church was devoted to the apostles teaching, how do you picture that scene? What do you think the meetings were like? I imagine they were in some ways like our own, we know that one time Paul preached so long that a guy fell asleep and fell out the window, but in other ways I think they would have been much different, much less proper. I think it would have been more of a dialogue style, preach for a bit, answer the questions that arose, pray for the needs, minister to one another, preach some more, someone gets healed or set free, spontaneous praise and deep meaningful worship erupts.