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Just The Beginning

Published on Nov 19, 2015

Notes from my messages in the Greenwood Christian Academy Chapel services for 5th-8th grade and 9th-12th grade on Thursday, January 16, 2014. (This presentation wasn't seen during the services due to technical difficulties.)



Just the
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ACTS 2:42-47

Beginning with 3000 conversions, the apostles founded a permanent fellowship of believers in Jerusalem.

The language of these verses emphasizes the continuing nature of this fellowship.

“They devoted themselves to” all of the defining elements of Christian living.

devoted The verb translated “devoted” (proskartereo ) is a common one that connotes a steadfast and singleminded fidelity to a certain course of action.

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Acts 2:42
a. It was a learning church
One might perhaps say that the Holy Spirit opened a school in Jerusalem that day; its teachers were the apostles whom Jesus had appointed; and there were 3,000 pupils in the kindergarten!

They sat at the apostles’ feet, hungry to receive instruction, and they persevered in it.

Since the teaching of the apostles has come down to us in its definitive form in the New Testament, contemporary devotion to the apostles’ teaching will mean submission to the authority of the New Testament.

Teaching To the Jewish mind the Torah is not something dead, fixed forever, but a living teaching to be applied in the light of circumstances to the lives of individuals.

The apostles were as yet the only teachers of the Church, and in this work they were executing the second part of their commission, which required them to teach those whom they immersed all things that Jesus had commanded.

The same command which made it their duty to teach, made it also the duty of the disciples to learn from them, and to abide by their instruction.

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Acts 2:42
b. It was a loving church

fellowship: Koinōnia (from koinos, ‘common’) bears witness to the common life of the church in two sense.

First, it expresses what we share in together. This is God himself . . .

secondly, koinōnia also expresses what we share out together, what we give as well as what we receive.

koinonikos is the Greek word for ‘generous’.

It is to this that Luke is particularly referring here, because he goes on at once to describe the way in which these first Christians shared their possessions with one another:

all the believers were together and had everything in common (koina). Selling their possessions and goods (probably meaning their real estate and their valuables respectively), they gave to anyone as he had need (Acts 2:44–45).

2:42 fellowship:

Greek koinōnia, a close mutual relationship and participation in life together.


Acts 2:42
Table fellowship denoted intimacy, and discussions or even lectures at meals were common.

Yet it is difficult to believe that Luke had in mind here only an ordinary meal, placing the expression, as he does, between two such religiously loaded terms as “the fellowship” and “prayer.”

Even an ordinary meal among Jews, of course, would have had something of a sacred flavor. In a Christian setting, where hearts were warmed by devotion, it would have been an occasion for joy, love, and praise connected inevitably with Jesus.
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Acts 2:42
Public (temple)

Private (homes)
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Meeting Together

Acts 2:44


Acts 2:44-46
It is important to note that even in Jerusalem the sharing of property and possessions was voluntary.

According to verse 46, they broke bread in their homes. So evidently many still had homes; not all had sold them. . . .

It is also noteworthy that the tense of both verbs in verse 45 is imperfect, which indicates that the selling and the giving were occasional, in response to particular needs, not once and for all.

At the same time, although the selling and the sharing were and are voluntary,

and every Christian has to make conscientious decisions before God in this matter,

we are all called to generosity, especially towards the poor and needy.

Already in the Old Testament there was a strong tradition of care for the poor, and the Israelites were to give a tenth of their produce to ‘the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow’.64

How can Spirit-filled believers possibly give less? The principle is stated twice in the Acts: they gave to anyone as he had need (45), and ‘there were no needy persons among them … the money … was distributed to anyone as he had need’ (4:34–35).

As John was to write later, if we have material possessions and see a brother or sister in need, but do not share what we have with him or her, how can we claim that God’s love dwells in us?

Christian fellowship is Christian caring, and Christian caring is Christian sharing.

These actions reflect . . . radically valuing people over possessions.


Acts 2:46
c. It was a worshipping church

There are two aspects of the early church’s worship which exemplify its balance.

First, it was both formal and informal, for it took place both in the temple courts and in their homes (46), which is an interesting combination.

they supplemented the temple services with more informal and spontaneous meetings (including the breaking of bread) in their homes.

There is no need to polarize between the structured and the unstructured, the traditional and the spontaneous. The church needs both.

Temples were among the best public places to gather, and people often congregated there.

The favorite meeting place of the early believers was in the temple (cf. Luke 24:53), at the eastern edge of the outer court called Solomon’s Colonnade (cf. 3:11; 5:12).

There, in typically Semitic fashion, they carried on their discussions and offered praise to God.

As Jews who were Christians and also Christians who were Jews, they not only considered Jerusalem to be their city but continued to regard the temple as their sanctuary and the Law as their law.


Acts 2:47
d. It was an evangelistic church

Those first Jerusalem Christians were not so preoccupied with learning, sharing and worshipping, that they forgot about witnessing.

From these earliest believers in Jerusalem, we can learn three vital lessons about local church evangelism.

First, the Lord himself (that is, Jesus) did it: the Lord added to their number.

Doubtless he did it through the preaching of the apostles, the witness of church members, the impressive love of their common life, and their example as they were praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people (47a).

Secondly, what Jesus did was two things together: he added to [Acts, Page 87] their number … those who were being saved

He did not add them to the church without saving them (no nominal Christianity at the beginning),

nor did he save them without adding them to the church (no solitary Christianity either).

Salvation and church membership belonged together; they still do.

Thirdly, the Lord added people daily. The verb is an imperfect (‘kept adding’), and the adverb (‘daily’) puts the matter beyond question.

The early church’s evangelism was not an occasional or sporadic activity. . . . No, just as their worship was daily (46a), so was their witness.

Praise and proclamation were both the natural overflow of hearts full of the Holy spirit. And as their outreach was continuous, so continuously converts were being added. We need to recover this expectation of steady and uninterrupted church growth.
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Just the
Acts 2:42-47 Luke makes a clear connection between personal faith and membership in the Christian community.

Life in this new community involved devotion to apostolic teaching of God’s Word, fellowship, sharing, joy, and praise, and it resulted in the Lord’s continuing to add to their number those who were being saved.

I decided to rewrite this passage, to better reflect the youth group (and even church experience) I see today in America…

"They occasionally read the Bible, (as long as someone remembered to bring one),

and they hung out for a bit, and maybe said a quick prayer before they ate…or not.

Every so often a few of them vaguely sensed God’s presence, but usually only on a retreat or if the band was really good.

Everyone had their own stuff, and unless an offering was taken, they cherished it and held onto it so they could trade it in for more and better stuff.

They met once a week, (unless the weather was nice or they had something better to do, or their boyfriend or girlfriend didn’t want to go).

When they did get together, there was lots of gossip, drama and infighting… and tons of texting.

Many people on the outside called them hypocrites.

Once in a while someone who accept Christ and maybe get baptized.

Their group basically stayed the same size, and they were OK with that."

I then asked my students to look at our lives; our church; our youth group, and translate Acts 2:42-47 into their own words; words we as a group could strive for and aspire to.

This is what Ashe, one of our amazing students wrote:

"They devoted themselves and their lives to God and His commands, and to fellowship with His believers.

People were amazed by the love and compassion exhibited by the Christians.

They came together as the Body of Christ despite their differences.

Anything that belonged to one member belonged to the entire Body.

They loved and cared for one another with glad and sincere hearts.

They thanked God every day and praised His name for all they had.

The people saw how authentic their faith was, and longed to be a part of it.

God added greatly to their number as the people saw what was good."

May it be so.


The Bible Speaks Today (New Testament) // Alec Motyer, John Stott, Derek Tidball, series editors // © The Authors 2007 (See text of each volume for more details.) // Used by permission of Inter-Varsity Press, England // Electronic text hypertexted and prepared by OakTree Software, Inc. // Version 1.0

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary // Frank E. Gaebelein, Ed. // Zondervan // 1415 Lake Drive, S. E. // Grand Rapids, MI 49506 // ISBN: 0-310-36440-X // Copyright © 1990 // Electronic text hypertexted and prepared by OakTree Software, Inc. // Version 1.2

IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament // © 1993 by Craig S. Keener // Electronic text hypertexted and prepared by OakTree Software, Inc. // Version: 1.0



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