Study Notes on Acts 2:42 – 47
Building The Fellowship of the Believers
1) A Devoted Group of People
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.” Acts 2:42,43
- our faith rests on the foundation of the apostles Eph 2:20
- They recognised who God’s Son was, and wanted to find out much, much more!
“Where no attention is given to teaching, and to constant lifelong Christian learning, people quickly revert to the worldview or mindset of the surrounding culture, and end up with their minds shaped by whatever social pressures are most persuasive, with Jesus as somewhere around as a pale influence or memory” Tom Wright
- More than, not less than friendship
- The Christian life is difficult / impossible to pursue in isolation
Breaking of bread
- Helping to keep Jesus death and resurrection at the centre
- The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing
- in many ways the powerhouse of the church
- heaven and earth are joined together!
Many wonders and signs
- these did not squeeze out the word, nor were they neglected
We are Designed to be a Blessing to Others
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:3-8
- In humility, seek to use our gifting to bless others
- The mix between the revelatory and the ordinary – all have their place
Desire to be a blessing to others
“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.” 1 Corinthians 14:1‑3
- Pray, speak that word of blessing, humbly, and in love
“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” 1 Corinthians 14:26
- A hymn, a passage of God’s word, a revelation can all be a blessing
Follow the Best Examples
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7
- We so often need an example to follow, to inspire
- Leaders should be that example, in zeal, in love, in perseverance
God sees teaching as important for His church. However, teaching is not God’s only gifting to the church, and the church is poorer for the lack of the other gifts – so as a Bible teacher who passionately believes in the word of God my advice is this, “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts” (1 Cor 14:1) and, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them” (Rom 12:6).
In what ways are we imitating the early believers?
2) Caring For One Another, Worshipping God
Church Life Involves Caring For One Another
“And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44 – 47
- Practical love, meeting the needs of others, Jewish males had a duty to be in Jerusalem for Pentecost – many would have travelled far from home
- Meeting together, and as smaller groups in homes
- Worshipping God, musicians are important in the life of the church!
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” John 13:34,35
- The newness in the command is the depth of love we are to have
- Die to pride, position, our complaints, and do what is best for others as far as you can – this is church life!
Church Life Involves Encouraging One Another
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24,25
- Life can get really busy, but God desires us to be together as His family
- We can’t be a blessing to others if we never contact them
“It seems that these believers, because of trials, were neglecting Christian fellowship and the mutual encouragement that believers need from each other … The OT Jew could not enter the tabernacle, and the high priest could not enter the holy of holies whenever he pleased. But, through Christ’s sacrifice, we have a living way into heaven. We can come to God at any time. Do we take advantage of this privilege?” Warren Weirsbe
Church Life involves Bearing With One Another
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
Attitudes to put on:
- Humility: not exalting self, thinking of others
- Meekness: controlling emotions
- Patience: not easily provoked
- Having a heartfelt desire to maintain a bond of unity
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:30 – 32
Attitudes to put off:
- Bitterness: so easily leads to other sins
- Wrath and Anger: do not produce the loving behaviour God wants!
- Slander: potentially very damaging to the individual and the fellowship
- Do not grieve the Holy Spirit – forgive as Christ has forgiven you
In what ways are we imitating the early believers?