The Unwavering Constancy of the Early Church

The Unwavering Constancy of the Early Church
Author: Andrew Archer, Student Ministry Director
What's the Point? - Part 1
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts,  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”
– Acts 2:42-47
Awe. Unity. Joy. Glad and sincere hearts. Needs being met. Favor among all people. Praising God. People crossing over from death to new life every single day. These things and more were the reality of the early church. What Jesus told the apostles in John 14 was unfolding before their very eyes—that they would do even greater things than they witnessed Him do. 

I think it can be easy to focus on and desire the results of the early church; however, we often have less control than we would like to admit when it comes to guaranteeing the outcome of a given situation. The truth is that we can only control the left side of any given equation—we can only control the inputs, not the outputs. So, rather than focusing on the results of the early church, I’d like to look at what they did that led to those results. 

What did they do? The early church spent time together. They worshiped together. They shared communion, ate together, grew together, prayed together, and cared for one another’s needs. They also shared the Gospel with anyone who would listen. Gathering, growing, remembering, praying, praising, caring, and thanking God—these were the defining actions of the early church's life.

The early church had a common aim that they were pursuing over everything and in everything they did—they were living to know Jesus and make Him known.

However, it’s not just what they did that interests me; it’s how they did it. The “how” can be summed up in one word: devoted. The church held an unwavering constancy on these things. They were non-negotiables. They didn’t miss gathering together. They didn’t choose to skip out on communion because they weren’t feeling up to it. They didn’t pray just when they felt like it. They didn’t care who had a need that they might have to sacrifice to fill. It was all day, every day, 24/7.

Now, this is not to say that the early church never sat around and played games or joked about life or anything of that nature. They went to work. They shared meals at home. If they had some extracurricular activities, they probably did those too. The early church had a common aim that they were pursuing over everything and in everything they did—they were living to know Jesus and make Him known. 

As we look at the early church, I'm sure that we feel the desire to have the results like they did; however, we must ask ourselves if we are as devoted to the inputs as they were. Our job is not to produce change or even save people; our job is to be faithful to what God has called us to do—to know Jesus and make Him known. The early church lays out a great strategy for doing that.

I want to encourage you to refrain from thinking of your neighbor who isn't as devoted as you think they should be. Instead, be honest with yourself about where you still have room to grow. Can your devotion to Christ grow in how you gather, learn, remember, pray, praise, care, and show thankfulness? Pick one of those areas to work on and ask someone you trust to hold you accountable as you grow in that area.






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