Saturday in the Second Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 2:42-47

And They Devoted Themselves

This passage paints a beautiful picture of the New Testament Church: “And they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”  So we see here that the first concern was the teaching that the Apostles’ laid down, which they received from Christ or from revelation of the Holy Spirit.  What they taught was no man’s philosophy, nor politics, nor were they the “people’s apostles.”  What they gave was the word of God as the Spirit gave them ability, not something utterly new but a Christ-centered understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures emphasizing fulfillment and the need for faith and repentance.  And the people conformed their lives accordingly as awe came over them as the Spirit confirmed the Apostles’ words with signs and wonders.  It was obedience to this word that gave them the sweet fellowship they experienced, both in their mutual relations and in worship.  The “breaking of bread and the prayers” may be formal or informal; formal in the context of worship as that was experienced in the Lord’s Supper and prayers probably from temple worship but filled with new meaning given their fulfillment in Christ, informal in personal fellowship and devotion.

The loving fellowship they experienced expressed itself in holding “all things in common.”  This communal style of living was not compelled as Peter makes clear later in his condemnation of Ananias and Sapphira (5:4), but voluntary.  However, it does seem from this text and from 4:32-27 that the believers in the early church in Jerusalem did practice this kind of sharing, what the New Testament calls, koinonia.  And if I may be so bold, their fellowship puts ours to shame.  We call “fellowship” a time when the church gathers together for a meal in the fellowship hall.  That’s fine and well, but that’s still a far cry from what we see here.  Our culture teaches us that we have earned what we have and therefore have a right to enjoy it.  We also fear that if we give to someone in need we may be enabling them to continue therein.  And there is some truth to this as we read in many places in Proverbs.  Still, in their great love for one another, the Spirit compelled them to share far beyond the point many of us are comfortable with: selling lands and houses so that no one would have any need; and here we sit worried about having enough for retirement!  But because of this fellowship, now understood as generosity, they had glad hearts and were ready to give even more.  And it was this generosity and joy amongst themselves that gave them favor among the people, for people generally respond favorably to such generous and joyful believers.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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