Devotions to help you live out your faith


What can we learn from the early Church?

Acts 2 v 44-47 is a description of the actions of the church right back in the earliest days, just after Pentecost:

And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

First off, a little context. This is a description of the actions of the earlier church in the period shortly after Jesus’ ascension and the day of Pentecost. Pentecost was the day the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, after probably the most important prayer meeting in all of history.

So what can we learn from this passage?

First of all, it all starts with prayer. This period in the early church’s history came about because the apostles devoted themselves to prayer. If we want God to move, we need to pray about it and ask Him to, and also ask Him to show us what we can do.

Secondly, there is a need for us to have fellowship with other Christians. We are told ‘all the believers met together… they worshipped together…each day’(emphasis added) We need to be surrounded and in regular contact with other Christians. There is also a need for us to share – not just our possessions (books, cds, etc), but also our talents. Romans 12 v4-5 ‘Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.’ We each have a different role to play, but those roles need to be interconnected, not isolated. We need to be able to rely on the help of others who are better are certain things than us, and lend our help at the things we are good at.

Also, praising God has to be central (v47 – ‘all the while praising God’). We need to make sure in all that we do, God get the glory He deserves. Romans 14v6 also makes this clear: ‘What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli.’ (The Message) Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God. Make sure people know that you are acting the way you are because you are a Christian.

Finally, we learn there is a need for us to care for those who are in need – we are told the members of the early church ‘sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.’ That’s quite a challenge for us today, as we sit in our comfy little houses, with our widescreen TVs, texting on our mobile, or maybe surfing away on our computer, while in many parts of Africa people consider themselves lucky if their house has brick walls. 1 John 3 takes it even further: v17-18 says ‘if someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can
God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
Newsboys have a song Shine, and it has a pretty awesome chorus – “Shine, show them what you’ve got, make them wish that they were not on the outside looking in”. The simple truth is, if we live out our faith like the early church did, people will be interested, and we will see more people added to the number being saved.