They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. — Acts 2:42
Our passage for today has been used in countless settings not only to encourage but also to warn. The warning sinks in when we recognize the distance between this picture of the early church and some of our own church practices today. The encouragement comes when we understand that the church is still alive, thanks to the Holy Spirit. There are principles to be noted, explored, and followed.
The key element we see in this picture of the church is devotion. We see devotion toward God and toward building community, in following Jesus’ teaching and in calling on the Lord in prayer. This devotion is seen; it is visible. In the Old Testament, God called his people together to display his blessing and care to the nations (Genesis 12:3; 28:14). This continues in the New Testament.
Then and now, the church is to display God’s love and grace to a world that wonders who God is and what God is about. In Acts 2 we see a church that has open hands, hearts, and homes for others. Their praise to God and enjoyment of one another is contagious and attractive.
I imagine it was also messy. Can you imagine going from 120 people in fellowship to more than 3,000 in one day? And then growing more and more as time went on? In the midst of the mess of being together, God keeps building his church—one life at a time.