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Online Articles

Acts of the Early Church

The book of Acts is commonly referred to as “Acts of the Apostles,” but the

book is not merely limited to that. We also get insight into the acts of the

early church. Looking at the example of what the early church was doing,

we can use that as inspiration to see what things we as a church can do, or

do better. The heading in my Bible for Acts 2:42–47 says, “Fellowship of

the Believers,” and I believe that gives us a great summary of what they

were doing.

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the

fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came

upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through

the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in

common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and

distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day,

attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they

received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and

having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day

by day those who were being saved. (ESV)

Here, we can see that the church is doing a lot of things. Among those are

devotion to teaching, fellowship, and prayers. The idea of devotion is more

than just doing something. Devotion carries the idea of actively trying to do

something with consistency. The church here isn’t just learning and

praying because it happened naturally, but they are making time to do

them consistently. Devotion also carries an idea of importance. No one is

devoted to something that is not important to them. The church here knew

that prayers and the apostles’ teaching were important, and that those were

the things that would bring them closer to God.

Additionally, we see the church had all things in common, were sacrificing

personal possessions to fulfill needs of others, and eating in one another’s

homes. They didn’t just see each other when they were gathered at the

temple. They were fellowshipping in one another’s homes and sharing

meals with one another. They cared about each other and were wanting to

be around each other. Without this type of fellowship, how would they

know what needs there were to fill?

Another passage where we get insight into the acts of the early church is

Acts 4:34-37.

32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul,

and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own,

but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles

were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and

great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among

them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and

brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet,

and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was

also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of

encouragement), a Levite, native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged

to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. (ESV)

Here, we see very similar things happening. There are individual Christians

selling their personal possessions in order to fulfill needs of others. This is

a great example of people being self-less. They see a need and were more

than happy to sacrifice to fulfill those needs. Another thing that is said

about the church in this passage is they “were of one heart and soul” and

“they had everything in common.” With a group of this size, there would


inherently be different types of people. Not just that, but stark differences.

Here, the point is not that everyone is the exact same, but rather they are

overcoming those differences with their singleness of mind and purpose.

The church here is not focusing on their differences but rather their

commonalities through Jesus.

Practically, what can we get from looking at these passages? First, the

church was purposeful in prayer. This year, the elders of Cedar Park have

tasked our groups to focus on prayer. By doing this, we as a church can

grow closer together by praying for one another and our church as whole.

Second, the church was focused on fellowship. They preferred one another

and spent time with one another. This was something they wanted to do.

Because of this, they were able to understand each other and know each

other’s needs. How will we be able to help our brothers and sisters, if we

aren’t spending time with one another? Finally, they were filling needs

through the fruits of their sacrifices. Specifically, they were filling financial

needs of others. Here in the US, we are very blessed. Although there are

financial needs within a church that arise here and there, it is not as

frequent or pressing as we see here in Acts. Because of that, we may not feel

the need to be doing this. From these passages, we can see that giving was a

very big part of the early church. Although there may not be a lot of needs

here, we still need to be a giving people, looking to take care of our brothers

and sisters in other locations as well. There are many opportunities to do

this elsewhere, so don’t forsake the example of giving from a perceived lack

of opportunity. Let’s be a church that is full of the same acts.