Have you ever wondered how our churches today can be more like the early church in the book of Acts? Today’s post is for you.
I love the second chapter of the book of Acts.
In it, we see an amazing account of the redemptive work of God! Folks from “from every nation under heaven” (vs. 5) had gathered in Jerusalem. Peter seized the opportunity to faithfully preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and those who heard him were pierced with conviction. His command to repent and believe went forth accompanied by a move of the Holy Spirit that brought 3,000 people to faith that day.
Suddenly the church at Jerusalem was huge! Virtually overnight it had grown to the same size as some of our modern-day megachurches.
However, unlike many modern-day ministries where the life and ministry of the church may be oriented around specific programs, the early church was markedly relationship-oriented.
Towards the end of Acts 2, we see the early believers in Jerusalem were focused on two relationships: their relationship with God, and their relationship with one another.
Acts 2:42–47 (ESV) – 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Those who had professed faith in Christ came together as a covenant community. No matter where they came from, they fully committed themselves to growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, and to doing life together. They were truly disciples of Jesus, not merely in title, but as an accurate description of the way they lived their lives.
The church I pastor, , has worked hard to model discipleship on what we see lived out in the early church. It’s our desire that in addition to meeting together on Sunday for gathered worship, the church body would also do life together in the community during the week. We encourage our folks to connect with God and one another by diving into the depths of scripture, spending time with other members of the church family, sharing meals together, and praying for one another. All of this is done in an effort to develop true intimacy with God, and a connection to the covenant body of Christ.
As I’ve studied this passage over the years, one thing has always stood out to me about relationships in the early church. It’s found in verse 44: “And all who believed were together and had all things in common.”
In other words, the early church began to share their possessions freely. That’s a pretty radical commitment to one another, especially when you consider that these folks didn’t all know each other that well.
Stop and think about that for a moment… This group of new believers was diverse. It was made up of lots of different people; folks from “every nation under heaven.” They each had a different story. A different background. And yet, according to scripture they were committed to one another.
Why would they have this strong of a bond? I think Acts 4:32 gives us the answer.
Acts 4:32 (ESV) – 32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.
The key is in the first half of the verse: “those who believed were of one heart and soul”. Followers of Christ are bound together through their mutual faith in Jesus! Sure, they come from different backgrounds. Yeah, each one has different stories. But they look past that to follow Jesus and build one another up!
They have ALL THINGS in common through Christ Jesus! They weren’t just sharing “stuff”, they were sharing their life’s purpose to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Christ had blessed them with all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), and that was what bound them together.
Our local churches today are much like the early church in this way.
We may work as teachers, businessmen, stay-at-home moms, farmers, soldiers, pastors, musicians, scientists, lawyers, authors, or any number of other things. We may be liberal, conservative, moderate, apolitical, or somewhere else on the ideological spectrum. We may be from the town we live in, from across the country, or even from across the planet.
We’re all different, so we’ll all bring different views and ideas to the table. And that’s a beautiful thing, really, because Christ’s church is a place where uniformity isn’t required in order to attain unity! There is strength in diversity, as long as we build our unity on the person and work of Jesus Christ.
May we always remember that despite our differences, it’s the transforming truth of the
Gospel that unites us!
Even to that weirdo who sits in the fourth row on the left!
Len Flack is a Christ-follower, husband, father, pastor and geek. A graduate of , he married his college sweet-heart, Diana, and together they are the parents two awesome kids, Elijah and Moriah. Len serves as a Pastor of in Carthage, NY, a Baptist church which serves both local civilians and those stationed at Fort Drum with the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division. He is passionate about equipping people to love God, love others, and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Len is also active in Northern NY, teaching workshops on computers and technology at a local college, serving in leadership for various organizations, and just generally trying to be a blessing to people. You can find him online at or follow him on Twitter