Acts 2:42-47 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. I’m starting some short posts about the church and what God wants it to be. It is fairly clear to me that by the end of the first century the individual church assemblies were not functioning the way Jesus inteneded. His 7 letters to the churches in Revelation are a witness to that.
I think that in these 6 verses we have 12 characteristics of the early Jerusalem church that I need to identify with in my church if I am to see the Lord add to the church those being saved.
So the first one is that they were a devoted church: they continued steadfastly. Interestingly enough when you do a word study of devotion it has little to do with some of the classic ideas we all have. For example, devotion does not involve reading the Bible, or praying or attending meetings. These are simply acts of devotion, but they are not devotion itself. Devotion an be displayed by doing these but devotion is bigger than these things. What is it then? Well after looking at some definitions here’s my suggestion: devotion is a state of the heart that is brought about by a longing and a love for the one that is longed after. Devotion is not a particular act but a state of heart that is swallowed up in God. Everything that comes after “continued steadfastly” is a result of thier single-minded devotion to the Lord. The psalmist put it like this: Ps 42:1 – As a deer pants (longs for, cries) for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I see your face?
That’s quiet a picture: a deer panting after water. Implying that the deer is on the brink of death unless it finds this flowing stream and is consumed by the thought of quenching it’s thirst. The psalmist says “just like that deer that longs for water so am I after you O Lord”. That is devotion! That is single-mindedness!
Application: Do we have that single-mindedness, that devotion to God? Can we say that there is only one thing we desire of the Lord: to dwell in his house; to see his face – with the mind that if I didn’t I would die? Can you say that?