What are the key marks of Christian community?
41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
Four things characterised the earliest Christian community, as reported in verse 42. For us as a Christian community, this is like looking back to the start of the family tree. Did you notice those four key features of Christian community?
- Commitment to the apostles’ teaching; 2. Commitment to fellowship (the gathered community); 3. The breaking of bread (what we call the Lord’s Supper); and 4. Prayer.
Where do we see these four in our Christian community? The apostles’ teaching has been handed down to us in the New Testament. This is why the primary focus of our ministry is discovering and applying what the New Testament teaches (and thus also how the Old Testament leads us to the New Testament). Commitment to the Sunday gathering and to our smaller Growth Groups gatherings are our community’s expressions of fellowship. The Lord’s Supper is a signpost to the gospel, the good news of Jesus. While we celebrate the Lord’s Supper from time-to-time, our primary expression is in seeking to have the gospel central in everything we say and do as a Christian community. Prayer? This permeates everything we do: our Sunday gatherings, our Growth Groups and our personal lives.
These are markers of Christian community seen in the earliest Christian community: commitment to what the New Testament actually teaches, commitment to gathering together with the gospel as central in everything (celebration of the Lord’s Supper being one expression of that), with prayers being spoken to God in everything the community does.
Head: How might my attitude to Christian community be reshaped by what verse 42 reports?
Heart: Am I committed in my heart to the gospel of Jesus (i.e. the apostles’ teaching) and thus to the community of people that the gospel has connected me with?
Hands: How can I better express my commitment to the Christian community the gospel has connected me with?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the Christian community the gospel of Jesus has connected me with. I ask that we would be like the earliest Christian community: committed to what the New Testament actually teaches, committed to gathering together with the gospel of Jesus central in everything we do, and a community that speaks prayers of trust in you in everything we do together. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
A song to listen to: Raised with Christ https://open.spotify.com/track/0J498s9cMaZDWpUSSGilgQ
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the Must See Passages series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.