This subject has been on my heart for many months, and in the back of my mind for many years. However, I have put off writing about it for quite some time due to the topic's controversial nature. What about the “Biblical Church” could be controversial? you may ask. Well, the fact of the matter is that most, if not all churches, denominations, and Christians are a far cry from the original church. Let’s start this week by looking at the original Christian church. To do this we are going to head to Acts.
Lets start in Acts 2, verses 40-47 which says,
"With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, 'Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.' Those who accepted his message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
From these verses we can gather several facts regarding the first church. First, those who accepted Christ were quick to get baptized and get involved. In fact they didn’t seem to waste any time all becoming part of the new church on the very day they accepted Christ. How was this church commitment possible you may wonder?
Point number two gives us insight into exactly how this was accomplished. It was possible because the church consisted of All believers. Verse 44 says, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” The first church did not consist of separate entities or dozens of denominations. The first church was physically unified and it was spiritually unified. Later on in Acts we will see that some physical division occurred simply due to geographical restrictions, however, the concept was still the same. Followers of Christ made up one church. This unity is what fed fact number three. Those who are a part of the Church supported all other members of the church.
Verse 45 tells us, “They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” Remember that many of those who were saved during this time were far from home. They had returned to Jerusalem for the celebration of Pentecost and when they were saved they stayed soaking in as much information as they could gather about their Savior. They stayed for fellowship, they stayed for support, for guidance, and for the unity that comes from eating and staying with those who are likeminded in thought. As they stayed leaving behind their homes and belongings everyone in the Church took an active role in providing for needs. Finally, fact number four tells us that God blessed this first Church, He blessed their unity and their desire and we know that as verse 47b tells us, “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
This is where we will stop today, but I want to leave you with these questions to ponder this week. Is the modern day Church full of Christians who are quick to jump in and get involved? Is the Church fully unified, both physically and spiritually? Is today’s church providing for the needs of its members and all others who are in need? Finally, is God blessing the modern day church as a whole? I ask that you prayerfully consider each of these things as you move through this week and prepare yourselves for next weeks study.
Check out the companion video on YouTube.