“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”Acts 2:42
The opening of The Horner Family Center is just a few short months away! Over the past few years, scores of individuals, couples, and families have been added to our church. God has blessed amazingly! With that blessing also comes responsibility—the responsibility to make disciples who are committed and passionate about their relationship with Jesus.
Just how do we do that? Where do we look for answers?
We don’t have to look far! We only have to look at Scripture and the model of the early church to see how they handled the responsibility of growth, growth that exploded from 120 to 3,000 overnight! What was their secret to making dynamic Jesus-followers out of so many?
Acts 2:42 tells us the church immersed their new members in four critical experiences. The Greek text of this verse (literally “they were devoting themselves to the teachings of the apostles and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers”) reveals four core life-experiences that propelled the growth of these dynamic believers.
The concept of “devoting themselves” can be translated, “they spent their time in,” or “they gave themselves to.”These new members of the early church were “all in!” Jesus had their hearts and they committed their time, their attention and their energy to experiencing the following…
1. They devoted themselves to having the apostles teach them. This was more than a one-day-a-week sermon. These were regular teaching times throughout the week. They wanted to know what the Scriptures said about Jesus, what the Apostles heard from Jesus, and what they had seen Jesus do. They wanted to know Jesus! Do you?
2. Fellowship (a word which occurs only here in Acts) may be described as “they shared what they had with the others” or “they were one with the others.”Others’ needs became their own. They committed themselves to mutual accountability, sharing spiritually, socially, emotionally, and materially.
3. The implication of the expression“breaking bread” is that “they ate together as believers.” This means more than merely having meals with one another. This eating together was an aspect of their common bond with Jesus Christ. Not just social in nature, the fellowship meal often ended with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Mealtimes were meant to be times of sharing conversation, joys, struggles and their new life in Christ.
4. The prayers which the disciples shared not only included the Jewish prayer at their stated hours (Acts 3:1), but also times of informal prayer with their brothers and sisters in Christ. The prayers may be translated as “they prayed to God together.” Praying side-by-side with their fellow believers, they petitioned God and saw him provide for needs, transform lives, and accomplish miracles.
How do we as a church immersed our new members in these four critical experiences, and fulfill our responsibility? Where is the best place for new members and you, too, to be “all in?” I believe the best answer is our Sunday School. First Baptist Dallas provides classes of all sizes, for all stages of life and maturity where members, new and old, can be immersed in solid teaching, mutual accountability, sharing the life of Christ in a meaningful way and, together, conversing with God and seeing Him move in unexpected ways. So…are you in?