Maybe the best model of the church in the New Testament is found at the very beginning—Acts 2. The church we see there:
- “Repented…” Acts 2:39—changed their minds.
- “Were baptized…” Acts 2:39—identified with Christ in his death and resurrection and declared themselves separate from this world.
- Identified themselves with…“as many as the Lord our God shall call…” Acts 2:39—as they separated from this world, they joined themselves with all who take the name of the Lord Jesus Christ…everyone…everywhere…forever.
- “Gladly received his word…” Acts 2:41
- “Continued steadfastly…” Acts 2:42…they did these things without fail, intentionally, with a common purpose.
- “…were together…” Acts 2:44
- “…had all things common…” Acts 2:44
- “…continuing daily with one accord…breaking bread from house to house…did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart…” Acts 2:46
- “…Praising God and having favor with all people (testimony outside the church)…” Acts 2:47
Clearly, this new thing we know as the Church had some common features. They were focused on doing certain things…breaking of the bread, apostles’ doctrine, prayers, and fellowship. They did these things intentionally and regularly and without fail. And they did these things together.
The churches today have fallen into the trap of thinking of these activities in terms of meetings or services. But Acts 2 says nothing about meetings of services. They WERE together doing these things. They were in one accord. They were in each other’s homes. They were eating meals together. They were providing for each other’s practical needs. They were, in today’s terms, a COMMUNITY.
Do our assemblies today look much like this first century Church? Would people around town characterize us as, “praising God and having favor with all the people?” Do the people around town even know we exist? Could you say, “the Lord added to (your local assembly) daily?”
We have meetings. We have services. We have schedules. But are we really a community. Are we in one accord? This is the issue Parenthesis 2018 is going to look at. We’d love to have you in our Accord with us (sorry—stupid Honda humor) as we unpack some of this.