Posted by: pastordarren | June 1, 2010

Marks of the Church

This past Sunday, our evening RENEW service, began a series based on the accounts of the early church from the book of Acts.  The account that we began with is the story of the gathering of believers from Acts 2:42-47.  This is a brief description of what the early church looked like as it gathered as a community of faith.  This text comes after the story of the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Disciples and others as they begin to form the church, the Body of Christ.  Verse 42 says, “They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.”

Here we see four primary things that the believers did when they gathered together:

  • Committed themselves to the Apostles’ teaching
  • Shared their lives together
  • Shared meals together
  • Prayers

Each of these four things became focuses of their lives together and allowed them to grow as the Body of Christ and move out into the world.  I believe that each of these was not only important for the church then but for us now and here is why.

Good Biblical teaching is vital for us as we form a solid foundation for our faith.  We don’t have the Apostles with us now who know and walked with Jesus, so we rely on scriptures for our teaching.  The teaching was the foundation of what they believed and helped new believers to distinguish between the truth of God and the distractions of the world.

Living lives together – fellowship – goes well beyond just physically being together and having conversations and fun.  True fellowship involves getting to know others and being known by them in such away that the masks come off and the walls come down.  We are able to know each other in such a way that we are safe in sharing our struggles and joys and we can care for each other through the ups and downs of life.

Sharing the common meal together was more than eating together, it was sharing the Lord’s Supper together in ways that showed they were not ashamed and were dependant upon Jesus.   They probably shared this meal together as often as they could when they met together to remind them of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

Prayer was also key to the early church.  This prayer was not just a prayer of requests but also prayers that brought the church into a deeper and stronger relationship with God.  They were strengthened, empowered, and called through their prayers for their every day lives and to go into the world.

As the church grew, it took on more but these four elements continued to be the core of who they were and caught the attention of others who saw they way they lived and drew them in as well.

As I look at the church today, I wonder if these are still the four things that form the basis of who we are ast believers or have we been pulled away with other focuses that give a different picture to others and color their image of the church.  What do you think?  Are these four elements still valid today?  Have we gotten away from them and if so, how do we get back?

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