They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42
Quite an appropriate sermon (from a visiting speaker) given the week I’ve just had. From the very beginning of the Christian church, the words of God were of prime importance. At the time they would’ve had the Old Testament, as well as the teachings of the apostles. Today, the apostles teaching is contained within the New Testament, and if we are to maintain a vibrant living church we need to study the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments that we might know the word of God.
As well as the word of God, the early church devoted themselves to each other, caring for one another, sharing material possessions as each had need. This was the outward workings of the family of God, brothers and sisters in Christ. Today, whilst the culture might be slightly different, the principal is the same and we must seek to address the needs of all those in the church. (Note, needs, not whims)
They also ate together, both informally and formally. They had fellowship together over a meal, as well as remembering their Lord and Saviour through bread and wine. Today, we should continue to nurture relationships with both each other and our Lord through meals and holy communion.
Finally they prayed. As God’s people today, we need to constantly seek him in prayer. Only through all these things can a church be alive in Christ.
The church at Thessalonika contained people who had stopped working in anticipation of the return of their Lord, but were becoming dismayed when people had started dying off even though the Lord hadn’t yet returned. Paul had to write to them to correct them.
Firstly, they were correct in that Jesus Christ would return one day.
However, they were wrong in thinking it would necessarily be within their life times. Yes, it could be soon, but it could be far off. They were urged to work as they would not know when he is to return – for no one, despite what they say, knows when the Son will return, but to expect him to appear like a thief appears in the night – unexpectedly.
Ultimately, the Lord will return, and both the living will see him without dying and the dead will be raised to life. For those who have trusted in him, this will be the day of salvation to eternal life with him and for those who still cling to their sin, this will be the day of judgement and everlasting punishment.