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.