A Steady Progression
A STEADY PROGRESSION
"They continued steadfastly in doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and in prayers" (v. 42). They were God-made converts, and so the true signs of an inward trans-formation are clearly evident. These were—love for the Word, love for one another, love for their absent Lord, and love for private and public prayer. Being grafted into the living Christ, they became possessed with His Spirit, and grew in grace and in the knowledge of their Lord and Savior. Believers who truly love Christ continue, persevere, endure, stick and persist. That person does not quit, back off, fade away, or slip back. He continues on stedfastly. But what does he continue steadfastly in?
I. He continues steadfastly in doctrine (didachē ) The doctrine consisted of what Christ taught and His death, resurrection and ascension. These are the same teachings and instructions that are shared in the New Testament. These are same teachings that the apostles wrote to various churches and bodies of believers. When people are saved, they need to be grounded in the faith, and the only message that could ground them was the message found in the New Testament. These are the teachings that the church needs today.
II. He continues steadfastly in Fellowship: The fellowship created by the Holy Spirit means more than the association existing in secular groups such as civic clubs and community bodies.
A. There is a vast difference between community participation and spiritual participation. Community participation is based upon neighborly association. Spiritual participation is based upon a spiritual union created by the Spirit of God.
B. The difference is this: the Holy Spirit is within the Christian believer. The Holy Spirit creates a spiritual union by melting and molding the heart of the Christian believer to the hearts of other believers. He attaches the life of one believer to the lives of other believers. Through the Spirit of God, believers become one in life and purpose. They have a joint life sharing their blessings and needs and gifts together. This passage teaches several things about fellowship.
1. Fellowship is experienced by believers because they join other Christians in learning the scripture and in worship (prayers and celebrating the Lord's Supper, Acts 2:41-42).
2. Fellowship forbids an unattached Christian life. The fellowship is maintained only if we "continue stedfastly" in the Scriptures and in worship. An unattached Christian life is just impossible.
III. He continues steadfastly in the Lord's Supper: The phrase "breaking of bread" means the early believers observed and remembered the Lord's death. They set aside some time to observe communion. The church is to observe the Lord’s Supper because the Lord's Supper was the one ordinance Christ gave to symbolize His death. And it was His death that saved us. Because of His death, we are now reconciled to God, in fellowship with God, made new creatures in Christ, infilled with the Holy Spirit, bearing all the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23).
A. All we now are and have is due to the death of Christ. We need to remember and thank God for His great love demonstrated in the death of His Son, and we need to do it often.
B. The Lord had commanded us to observe the Lord's Supper often.
Principle: This is an indictment against so many of us who observe the Lord's Supper so little! We can, of course, remember and concentrate upon the death of Christ without the symbol of the Supper. But Christ gave us the ordinance and commanded that we use it as the primary symbol to show His death until He comes (1 Cor. 11:26).