“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers”. (Acts 2:42) (kjv).
The Church is not a building as many people have come to believe, rather it is an administrative tool for maturing the saints of God. It represents a community of believers and designed to help believers grow in the image of Christ, and to follow the leading of God’s Spirit to serve others in love. It is a place where people are taught and equipped to go out and claim their immediate environment/neighbourhood for Christ.
This is the heart of the Christian revolution. When this goal is not achieved the purpose of the Church is defeated. Our goal should not be to gather in a location or building but ‘to be the Church’. The bible tells us that we are the light of the World (Matt 5:14), therefore we must become like Christ before we begin to do the works of God. It is the growth that occurs in the inner man that helps us to do the works of the Father. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63a)
The early Church understood the agenda and purpose of God and this largely influence their lives and results they achieved. The unity of purpose and vision essentially resulted in an explosion of God’s power among them, which even unbelievers could not deny.
Acts 2:42 captures the four major characteristics that defines a church. They continued in the Apostles doctrine and teachings, fellowshipping with one another, observing the Lord’s Supper and praying. A church that wants to remain relevant must not overlook these key elements. If we desire to experience the power and testimonies of the early Church, we must study and share the word of God on a regular and consistent basis. The number of hours currently spent for fellowshipping and sharing the word of God in many places may never deliver this result. (Ephesians 4:14). Regular and consistent bible study produces thorough bred believers who are unmoved and cannot be tossed to and fro nor carried about by every wind of doctrine. (Ephesians 4:14)
The Church is a place for fellowship, the bible says we must not forget the fellowship of the brethren (Heb 10:25). There is a corporate anointing that follows and protects every member of a local assembly. Staying away from the cover can be dangerous. Fellowship engenders affection and care for one another. (Romans 12:10) When one is weak, we should uphold him in prayer. Ephesians 4:32 says we must be kind, tender hearted, and forgiving. Fellowship also helps us to humble ourselves to comfort each other and edify one another (1 thess 5:11).
The early Church observed the Lords supper, shared meals together and broke bread. (1 Cor 11:23-25). God is not looking for a church that is individualistic where people have different agendas but a united Church with all things held in common. The Power of God experienced in the early Church was largely a result of the unity that existed among the people. This explains why God could not tolerate Ananias and Saphira when they attempted to undermine the unity of the church.
The early Church prayed together. Church is supposed to promote and teach people how to pray and practice prayer. We should always pray regularly for one another without promptings because in the kingdom there is no super star as anybody can pray and the lord will still do what he wants to do.
The lord is saying we should continue to study, fellowship, break bread and pray together until we all come to the unity of the faith, (Eph 4:13). We can only achieve this if we submit to God’s word and let Christ to be formed in us.