How are you doing with memorizing Acts 2:42, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers”? We want to hide this verse in our hearts because it tells us so much about who we are as the Church. This verse is a snapshot of what the Church was like at the very beginning.
The Church was born on the Day of Pentecost when God sent His Holy Spirit upon the apostles of Jesus and in His power they preached the good news of Jesus—His life, death, resurrection, and exaltation. When 3000 people—3000!—from among the huge crowd listening to Peter received this good news, repented, and were baptized in the name of Jesus, the Church was born. (You can read the story in Acts 2:1-41.) God forgave their sins for Jesus’s sake and birthed them spiritually into His family.
The very next thing we see in the Bible about this group of people is that they devoted themselves to 5 priorities: the Apostles’ teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread, the prayers … all mentioned in Acts 2:42 … and the use of resources to care for the church (Acts 2:44-45). This is the DNA of the Church.
DNA is a marvelous creation of God! It is the distinctly shaped molecule found in every living organism which carries its genetic blueprint. DNA determines how an organism develops, functions, and reproduces. Characteristics that are passed on from generation to generation are transmitted via DNA.
Our DNA as a church is what we see in Acts 2. At the core our DNA is devotion to Jesus Christ. Our identity is rooted in Him. He is the reason we exist. When we hear the gospel of Christ, repent, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Spirit comes into our lives and makes us new people. This new life expresses itself in devotion to God’s Word, to the fellowship of His people, to worshiping the Lord, especially through Communion, to prayer, and to stewardship—using our resources for God’s purposes.
The first element of devotion in Acts 2:42 is “the apostles’ teaching.” The apostles taught what Jesus told them to teach.
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:44-47)
Jesus opened the minds of His followers to understand how the entire Old Testament—the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms—pointed to Him as the Messiah and was fulfilled in Him. Jesus is the focal point of Scripture. Equipped with this understand, the apostles obeyed Jesus, went forth and taught from the Old Testament (the New Testament had not yet been written) that Jesus of Nazareth is God’s Messiah, the Lord.
We are devoted to the apostles’ teaching—to the Bible and its message. It is God’s Word that brings new life as His Spirit works through it. It is God’s Word that has the power to change us from the inside out. It is God’s Word that points us to Jesus, predicted in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament.
The Bible is our book. It is our curriculum. It is our Owner’s manual for us. We will stand upon it. We will be like Ezra in the Old Testament who “set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). Study it, do it, teach it.
We do this in our Life Groups. Next to worshiping together on Sunday morning, participating in a Life Group is the most important avenue for spiritual growth we have in our church. Within these smaller groupings of people we study the apostles’ teaching, we fellowship, we pray, and we care for one another. We live out our DNA.
In Life Groups we grow together in Christ. Understanding that discipleship occurs in relationship, we build relationship in Life Groups so that we can mature in Christ’s likeness together.
After Labor Day we resume our Life Groups. Decide now that you will join a Life Group. Discover what Life Groups are offered—that information is available in this newsletter, on our website and in our Life Groups brochure.
We want the DNA passed down to us from the apostolic church in Acts 2 to flourish in us to the glory of God! We are devoted to the Lord Jesus and to the practices of the early church. It’s in our DNA!