Unity affords the greatest identifying mark of the people of God. That’s why Luke emphasizes, all the believers were together and had everything in common.
They were continually and faithfully devoting themselves to the instruction of the apostles, and to fellowship, to eating meals together and to prayers.
Acts 2:42 (AMP)
At various times in Acts, especially in the early chapters, Luke gives summary reports of how the church is doing. Here we have the first. In it, our author describes what a biblical church really looks like, not only in the first century but in every century from the Lord’s ascension until his second coming.
Teaching marks a biblical church. Thousands of new converts needed to understand precisely how Peter linked Old Testament text with the ministry of Jesus. Theologians call it “Messianic Christology”. It became the core of New Testament doctrine.
Furthermore, the new Christians engaged in fellowship. Someone called the church “the colony of heaven.” Here the believers fulfilled the words the Lord gave his disciples just before the crucifixion: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
Then the believers joined in breaking bread – Luke’s term for what Paul calls “the Lord’s Supper.” Quite possibly they practiced it differently than many churches do now, likely with a full meal. Still, the memorial to the Lord’s death, until he comes again, remains the central theme of believers breaking break together. Quite likely, the phrase also describes Christian’s fellowshipping together at mealtime.
Their worship also included prayer, in our text literally, “the prayers,” new and old, probably public and private.
A sense of awe was felt by everyone, and many wonders and signs (attesting miracles) were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed [in Jesus as Savior] were together and had all things in common [considering their possessions to belong to the group as a whole]. And they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing the proceeds with all [the other believers], as anyone had need.
Acts 2:43-45 (AMP)
In addition to their worship, these believers became actively involved in the work of the Lord. Luke uses the same language to describe the apostles that he used of Jesus in 2:22. The miracles showed evidence of a new era. God gave miracles when Moses brought down the law and when Elijah and other prophets thundered a new message across Israel. “Miracles” does not appear in Acts after Chapter 15, even though God continued to do miracles beyond that point.
Their work also included learning how to live and love together. They sold their possessions and made sure everybody had plenty.
Communism? Absolutely not – this was voluntary, contemporary, and discretionary.
Recognizing the other believers as brothers and sisters in the family of God, the Christians in Jerusalem shared all they had so that all could benefit from God’s gifts. It is tempting – especially if we have material wealth – to cut ourselves off from one another, concerning ourselves with only our interests and enjoying only our own little piece of the world. But as part of God’s spiritual family, it is our responsibility to help one another in every way possible. God’s family works best when its members work together.
Day after day they met in the temple [area] continuing with one mind, and breaking bread in various private homes. They were eating their meals together with joy and generous hearts, praising God continually, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:46-47 (AMP)
The early church was marked by faithful attendance – meeting together daily in the temple courts. They prayed, gave, ate, and rejoiced together. They practiced the presence of Jesus – still a good idea for his people. Luke makes good use of the Greek word “homothumadon”, translated together, applying it in 1:14; 2:46; 4:24; and 5:12.
Their witness included a demonstration of hospitality. No home would be large enough to house even a small group of believers for a short time, so they literally went house to house. Luke wants us to see how good it was – they enjoyed favor with the people. Not the Sanhedrin, but common folks all around the city. Witnessing may be the main theme in Acts, but praising certainly represents a secondary strain common in Luke’s writings (the word “ainountes” is uses nine times in the New Testament, seven by Luke).
What happens to believers who worship, work, and witness for their Lord?
The Lord grows the church. Let’s not miss the order – first godly relationships with each other, then growth.
Father, thank you for the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit. May we allow him total control of our lives so that our behavior as individuals, family members, and participants in the body of Christ may be everything God wants to show a needy world. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ! Amen.
Holman Old Testament Commentary
NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible