Summary: The early church experienced amazing growth and power. She was very young and very pure. We must follow the biblical model rather than striving to meet the expectations of contemporary culture if we are to experience God's presence and power.

The Path to Stability

Acts 2: 42-44

Today I want to conclude our series: Church – A New Testament Model. Once again we are in the book of Acts, immediately following Pentecost. The Lord had ascended back to the Father, and the Spirit had come, filling the believers. The presence and power of God was evident among the church in Jerusalem, with thousands coming to faith in Christ. Acts 2:41 – Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

At this moment, the church was in her infant stages. Although she was very young, she was also very pure. At this point, the preferences and stigmas of men had not yet influenced the church. The pressures of modern culture had yet to make their mark on the church. She was born in the power of the Spirit and God was multiplying her numbers in a miraculous way.

Sadly, very few, if any, local congregations closely resemble that of the early church. We are thousands of years removed, and forced to deal with the influences introduced my man. Rather than trying to imitate the “successful” church down the road, we need to pattern our lives and actions after the biblical model. If the church is to possess the power of God, and impact our modern culture, we must seek to resemble the early church. We need to adopt the New Testament model rather than the popular, contemporary model.

As we conclude the series, I want to examine the disciplines exercised by the early church as we consider: The Path to Stability. First we discover:

I. Their Commitment to Doctrine (42) – And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Immediately following the miraculous birth of the church, we find they have come together in steadfast commitment to the apostles’ doctrine. This speaks of the teaching and preaching of the Word by the apostles. The early church placed a premium on the Word of God. It was viewed as the priority among them.

I appreciate the commitment to the Word here at Fellowship. It is viewed as the priority among us. However, we must continue to guard our commitment to the Word, and never allow anything to replace its preeminence among us. Far too many congregations have given the preaching and teaching of the Word a lower place of emphasis within their services and activities. Many have replaced an emphasis on the Word with music, drama, and entertainment. We often hear folks say, “We had a great service today. The preacher didn’t even get to preach.” Modern culture would have us to believe that God does His best work among the church during song services or some sort of entertainment. That may generate a sense of excitement and appeal to the flesh, but it certainly doesn’t fit the New Testament model. Many congregations have raised a generation of anemic Christians, illiterate to the Word, because there was no emphasis on teaching sound doctrine! John 8:31 – Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.

II. Their Communion through Fellowship (42) – And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Following their commitment to sound doctrine, we find their communion through fellowship. This speaks of much more than gathering under the same roof, or sitting on the same pew. This has the idea of “fellowship that involves participation.” It speaks of “partnership and sharing.” They enjoyed one another’s company and fellowshipped together. There was a sense of community among the early church. They benefited from one another and helped each other grow and mature in the faith.

We too must continue our commitment to fellowship with one another. We face much in life that is impossible to bear alone. We all need the strength and benefit of community within the church. I am encouraged at the close of our services. Many of you appear in no hurry to leave. You genuinely enjoy the relationships you’ve established with fellow believers. We even get together and fellowship outside of regularly scheduled services. Strong, stable churches are made up of those who desire fellowship with one another. When churches experience division, lacking genuine fellowship, they are vulnerable to attack, and often weak in the faith. Heb.10:24-25 – And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: [25] Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

III. Their Confidence in Prayer (42) – And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. The church possessed a strong commitment to prayer, being confident of the power available through earnest prayer. This does not refer to a few individuals who sought the Lord in prayer, but a unified, concerted effort through prayer. The church body recognized the urgency of their time, and understood the necessity of fervent, corporate prayer. The church in Jerusalem was built upon sound doctrine and prayer! They well understood the necessity of these essential elements.

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