#5.

The Early Church Devoted Herself to Fellowship
Acts 2:42 — They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. It is instructive to note what the early church, immediately after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, established as priorities in her life. We noted before that prayer was one of the aspects that stood out in the life of the church as she continually devoted herself to it. Likewise, the Word of God - its reading and preaching - were a hallmark. We will see (God Willing) when we look at the Lord's Supper that there was a focus on this meal too. Note, though, that right up there alongside these three means of grace, Luke mentions that a continual devotion to fellowship was obvious in the early church. The word translated "continually devoting" is interesting. It means “to occupy oneself diligently with something,” “to pay persistent attention to”, or “to hold fast to something”. So we can picture life in the early church as dominated by teaching, engaging in fellowship, celebrating the Lord's Supper and praying. They were diligent in these things, persisted in them even if it was not easy to do. These were their priorities. We might ask ourselves why this was the case - why did these four activities (fellowship among them) characterize the church? There may be many answers but here are three for us to ponder:  They understood that the Lord had commanded them to do this and they were concerned to be obedient to Him  They knew that these activities were means of grace and would result in them growing in their faith and experiencing a greater measure of the Spirit's influences  They were being led by the Holy Spirit into the things that it was (and still is) most important for the church to do. He created a desire in their hearts to do them Do you have the same priorities today as the early church had, or have you substituted some, diluted your understanding of others and completely lost one or two? What place does fellowship have in your life (fellowship as we have defined it earlier in this series, rather than what it has come to mean in much of the church today)? How important is it seen to be that members in your church express their co-participation in Christ in the life of the body in acts of love and service, of encouragement and comfort? Is it a top priority? One thing that comes through in the text is that the early church put real effort into these four things - continual diligence, persistence and devotion add up to a lot of hard work! Do you put that kind of effort into fellowship? Are you continually devoting yourself in this matter? Do you want this to be a characteristic of your life and that of your church - or are you content with mere social gatherings and activities that require no real effort and diligence on your part? Learn from the example your brothers and sisters give you here, and put it into practice, so that if Luke were to visit your church and write about you to someone else, he would say, "They continually devote themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer".

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