The first characteristic of the early church is that the Christians were joyful to hear the Word of the Lord, and the people allowed God’s Word to sink in and affect their hearts. They did not hear the words and afterward go up to Peter and tell him that was a nice sermon. They allowed the words to be life changing, and did not sit and listen with wandering minds and closed hearts.
Secondly, the people devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. True disciples always want to learn more about God and are devoted to the teaching of the apostles found in the Scriptures. This devotion is not only seen by listening to sermons, but is exhibited in joining other Christians in Bible Study. This devotion is seen at home when time is taken to spend dwelling upon God’s Word.
The early Christians did not declare themselves to be in fellowship simply because they had been baptized or merely attended worship services. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. These disciples had all things in common and this is true Christianity. If all that we have is the Lord’s, then I must be willing to give what God has given to me to others who may need it.
The first century Christians met together daily to worship God. Wherever and whenever these Christians could meet together, they would. Do we have the same desire? Instead of joy and anticipation, too often we exhibit disappointment or even anger for being expected to show up every night for a few days. I know that we have jobs that are demanding, schools that push our children, and families that take much time to maintain. But when a congregation sees fit to come together for a common purpose, especially for worship, we should be overjoyed for the opportunity, not groaning about the sacrifice we must make.
It was not enough for these disciples to congregate together, study God’s Word, and give to any who had need among them. They had to share the Gospel to others, an action we see these first century disciples make repeatedly through the book of Acts.
It’s our job to learn from these lessons provided by the early church and live them out in our individual churches. Are you doing your part in your church?