By Kevin Ivy
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Tullahoma
As those who have been redeemed from our sin by the finished work of Christ upon the cross, we are compelled to ask, “what should we do now?” An obvious example is the early church. If we make the Acts 2 church our pattern, we will not live for ourselves, but rather will serve God by serving others. We will be motivated to lead others to faith and growth in Christ. We will want to support and help fellow believers. We will long to live lives that honor God and point to Christ.
As we meditate on Acts 2:37-47 this week there are several characteristics that stand out from that early church that we should seek to emulate as we attempt to answer the question, “what should we do now?” First, this early church was characterized by maturing in the Scriptures (v42a). They were continually devoting themselves to the teachings of the apostles. They understood that all Scripture had been inspired by God and was profitable and adequate to equip them for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17). This early church was characterized by meaningful fellowship as well (42b, 46). They were continually devoting themselves to fellowship and to the breaking of bread in their homes with joy. The words “one another” are used roughly 151 times in the Bible. There is a reason for that. The early church worked to stimulate one another to love and good deeds as they assembled together (Heb. 10:23-25). Thirdly, the early church was characterized by making supplication (Acts 2:42a). They were continually devoting themselves to prayer. They were characterized by wrestling with God in prayer. Prayer permeated every part of that early church.
A fourth characteristic of this early church was the public performing of miracles, signs, and wonders by the apostles (v. 43). Lives were being physically and spiritually impacted by these wonders. Fifth, the early church was ministering to their brothers and sisters in Christ (vv. 44-45). They sold and shared their property with any believers who had need. This love for one another and selfless service was an ongoing characteristic of the early church (Acts 4:32-35). The church of Acts 2 was also characterized by magnifying God (Acts 2:47a). They were praising God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). Finally, the early church was characterized by evangelism (Acts 2:47b). The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved and brought to faith in Jesus Christ.
This early church, and these characteristics are good for us to consider as we seek to answer the question: what should we do now? Let us keep in mind however, that it was not a perfect church. Their evangelism efforts stopped short of Jesus’ command to take the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). God allowed persecution to scatter them into those regions that He had already commanded them to engage (Acts 8:1). As we seek to follow the Acts 2 church’s example, let us not neglect the nations because we are comfortable staying among our own people and in our own neighborhoods. Local evangelism is great, but the gospel must get to the least reached. Let us never become content to be a landing strip in our churches, but let us strive to become a launching pad to the least reached peoples of the world in obedience to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. That is what we must be doing NOW!