The Early Church 2
“THE EARLY CHURCH 2!”
Pastor Robby Roberson
April 1, 2009
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.Acts 2:42
1. THEY DEVOTED THEMSELVES.
This is a nominative plural masculine present active participle and means “to persist, keep on with devotion (Acts 2:42, 46; 6:4; Romans 12:12; Col. 4:2), serve personally, be faithful.” “Devoting/ (proskartereo) is the same word as is used in connection with the persistent devotion of the disciples to prayer in 1:14 (translated ‘constantly’ there). This word occurs six times in Acts (1:14; 2:42, 44; 6:4; 8:13; 10:7)…the word is used often with the idea of ‘persisting obstinately in’ something” (Ajith Fernando, The NIV Application Commentary: Acts, pg. 119-120). “The verb translated ‘devoted’ (proskartereo) is a common one that connotes a steadfast and singlesminded fidelity to a certain course of action” (Charles Swindoll, The Birth of An Exciting Vision, pg. 53).
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.Acts 1:14
All the believers were together and had everything in common.Acts 2:44
And will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”Acts 6:4
Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.Acts 8:13
When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants.Acts 10:7
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.Romans 12:12
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.Colossians 4:2
“We know that these activities were priorities in the early church because, according to Acts 2:42, the Christians were continually devoting themselves to them” (Swindoll, Ibid, pg. 53). “These ingredients for growth in Christ were potent” (H. Leo Eddleman, An Exegetical and Practical Commentary on Acts, pg. 29).
2. TO THE FELLOWSHIP.
Two important words should be noted here: (1) The…a definite article – it was a very specific fellowship; (2) Fellowship…is the word koinonia. The word means “a close mutual association (1 John 1:3; 1 Cor. 1:9), share, participation (2 Cor. 8:4).”
The word primarily means “participant…sharing with someone or in something…to take part…a close bond. It expresses a two-sided relation; a business partner or associate…a shareholder…companion…comrade or life companion…it is...an abstract and spiritual term for the fellowship of brotherly concord established and expressed in the life of the community” (Gerhard Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. 3, pg. 809).
This is expressed most fully in a marriage. “Marriage is closer and more comprehensive than all other forms of fellowship” (TWOT, pg. 798):
You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.Malachi 2:14
“In Phlm. 17 Paul appeals to the close link between Philemon and himself, and on this ground he asks him to show mercy to the delinquent slave, now a newly won brother in the faith. The koinoneo here can hardly refer to the mere bond of friendship; at the very least it includes spiritual union in the same faith. Similarly Titus, who in 2 Cor. 8:23 is called koinonos emos as Paul’s fellow-worker in the work of Christ” (TWOT, pg. 807).
So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.Philemon 17
Therefore the shared life would reflect, at least, these aspects of life:
- The spirit…koinonia most effectively occurs between people when both parties are experiencing a growing relationship or koinonia with Christ. “Fellowship with Christ necessarily leads to fellowship with Christians, to the mutual fellowship of members of the community” (TWOT, pg. 807). “In 1 John…is a favorite term to describe the living bond in which the Christian stands. Here, too, the word implies inward fellowship on a religious basis. To be a Christian is to have fellowship with God. This fellowship is with the Father and the Son…it issues in the brotherly fellowship of believers” (TWOT, pg. 808).
God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.1 Corinthians 1:9
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.1 John 1:3
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.1 John 1:7
- The soul…sharing life in the mind, will and emotions part of life. This may be why we are repeatedly implored along these lines in the new testament:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.Romans 12:10
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.Romans 12:16
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.Romans 13:8
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.Romans 14:13
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.Romans 15:7
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.1 Corinthians 1:10
Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.1 Corinthians 11:33
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.Galatians 5:13
That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.1 Corinthians 12:25 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!Galatians 5:15
Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.Galatians 5:26
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.Ephesians 4:2
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.Ephesians 4:25
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.Ephesians 4:32
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,Ephesians 5:19
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.Ephesians 5:21
Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,Colossians 3:9
Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.Colossians 3:13
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.Colossians 3:16
And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,1 Thessalonians 3:12
But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;1 Thessalonians 4:9
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.Hebrews 3:13
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.James 5:16
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,1 Peter 1:22
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;1 Peter 3:8
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”1 Peter 4:8
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.1 Peter 4:10
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”1 Peter 5:5
For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,1 John 3:11
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.1 John 3:23
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.1 John 4:7
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.1 John 4:11
And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.2 John 5
- The physical…have to be present! “If we care, we’ll be there…the martyred missionary Jim Elliot once said, ‘Wherever you are, be all there’” (Rick Warren, Better Together, pg. 73).
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.Hebrews 10:24-25