Thursday: A Picture of the Early Church

Daily Lesson for Thursday 9th of November 2023

Read Acts 2:1-47:41-47. What kind of picture of the early church is present here?

Acts 2:1-47 ends with a beautiful picture of what the early church was like. Acts 2:1-47:41 says that those who were baptized were “added to them” (NKJV). We could read this to say that someone did the math and added the number of new believers to the number of existing believers and established a new total membership for the group. But that is a shallow understanding. Hidden in the wording is the idea that these newly baptized believers became part of the group as equals.

Meanwhile, a core function of the early Christian church was disciple­ship. As new members were added, they were discipled in three ways. First, they continued to be taught by the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship. The words “doctrine” and “fellowship” in this text literally mean “instruction” and “partnership.” The apostles’ preaching confronted incorrect beliefs and offered new explanations for what people were seeing and experiencing. But it didn’t teach them how to live out that new truth in their lives. Rather, the application of truth to one’s life happened in relationship as part of the group. New believers were carefully and intentionally discipled through direct teaching, as well as through participation in the daily lives of the other believers, all under the supervision and leadership of the spiritually mature and grounded apostles.

It is poor preaching that tells people what to do but not how to do it. However, even if one reads how-to books or listens to sermons that explain how to do things, there is no substitute for seeing people doing it and then imitating them. Paul knew this and instructed his followers to imitate him as he had imitated Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1). When others can see you and the reality of your experience with Christ, it will impact them, as well.

Challenge: Think of someone in your life who you wish was a believer. Pray every day for him or her to have a personal experience with Jesus.

Challenge Up: Whom are you discipling and leading into a relationship with Jesus? Look for ways to bring him or her into fellow­ship with other believers.


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