A Devoted People – The DNA of the Church
David gave this talk at Woodside Church (Bedford) in 2017, as part of their "From the Heart of an Elder" series. Click here to download it.
After Pentecost and the miraculous coming of the Holy Spirit, we read the following account of the church together in Acts 2:42-47
“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”
From this we can see a glimpse of what the early church was like; a devoted people. Devoted was a very strong word which at the time of the New Testament would have been used in a number of contexts such as:
- Attatched to someone (like a friend)
- Faithful (like a dog with his master)
- Always standing ready and available (like a fire engine)
- Busily engaged in (like work)
- Continue/persevere (like climbing a mountain)
- Spend much time in (like an athlete training)
What Were They Devoted To?
- Truth – A body of truth they believed; they were devoted to learning and wanted to live their lives by. It’s the big plan of God they believed: Promised in the Old Testament that God would put everything right through his coming Messiah (Christ), fulfilled in Jesus, worked out in us over man centuries until Jesus returns.
- Fellowship – This is friendship and being a community. It’s expressed by:
- Spending time with each other regularly and encouraging one another.
- Opening their homes to each other.
- Sharing their possessions with those in need.
- Incorporating new believers into the same fellowship.
- Breaking Bread – They had meals together and remembered Jesus in this way regularly. Part of our DNA as a church should be taking this meal together both in church and in homes (Community Groups).
- Prayer – Realising they can do nothing in their own strength, the disciples knew they needed God and so expressed that regularly in prayer. Why is prayer so important?
- Because it expresses our relationship with God
- Because it expresses our total dependence on God.
- Because it is a major part of how God’s purposes on earth are fulfilled.
- Because it is good to ask.
- Because it expresses faith.
- Because it is the appropriate response to trouble.
- Witnessing with Miracles – Miraculous signs and regular additions to the church seemed to be a normal thing within the church. We need to continue to be devoted to it.
- Worship – Like prayer, worship is both corporate (together) and individual (expressing thankful hearts).
- One thing was missing – Worldwide Cross-Cultural Mission – The early church forgot that until Peter had a remarkable vision and the believers were scattered through persecution.
- Would you consider yourself (personally) devoted to the 7 things listed above?
- Are there any of the items you feel naturally more inclined to? How can you encourage someone who is less inclined to that point?
- As a Community Group, are there points you would like to be more devoted in?