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Fellowship is More Than a Pot-Luck Dinner
If you look at the book of Acts, you’ll find the amazing story of how the church was born and grew to 3,000 people after one 297-word sermon preached by an impetuous, former fisherman named Peter. It’s one of the most transforming passages in all the New Testament. But what we fail to look at is the fact that now the church had a serious logistic issue. Like, “What are we going to do with all these people? How are we going to feed them? Many of them don’t even speak the same language we speak. We don’t have training materials, a church structure, or places for them to sleep. And we don’t even know if we like them? All we know is they have now received the same Spirit we received, and they consider us family, and we should start acting like family.”
This was a difficult problem for the infant church, which was only hours old. I can imagine Peter and the rest of the disciples fretting over the fact this problem was way above their pay grade. This was something Jesus needed to figure out before He ascended into heaven just ten days ago. But He didn’t. He just left them His Spirit and trusted them to follow His will.
I can imagine their prayers went something like, “Lord, show us what to do. These are Your people, called by Your name, and filled with Your Spirit, just like we are. So please, show us what to do.”
And that is exactly what the Lord did.
They Continued Steadfastly in Four Things
As you can see from Scripture, they “continued steadfastly” or “endured to the point of devotion” to four vital disciplines that allowed them to grow from a gang of strangers into His church (Acts 4:42). Not three. And not five. Just four. But these four were essential to their growth and devotion to the Lord and to each other.
And they continued steadfastly in (1) the apostles’ doctrine and (2) fellowship, in (3) the breaking of bread, and (4) in prayers – Acts 2:42.
Note what they were devoted to and the order they are listed.
And they continued steadfastly in
(1) the apostles’ doctrine— or preaching and the study of the Word of God.
(2) and fellowship— which is koinōnía and means a partnership, communion, or joint participation. This is something more than sharing a chicken dinner on Sunday.
(3) in the breaking of bread— this is more than communion or the Lord’s Supper. It is a shared communal meal, much like a family reunion, that was part of their worship service.
(4) and in prayers— both corporate and individual.
As you can see, there is much we are missing today that the early church deemed essential when they came together as the family of God to worship the Father. I believe there is much we can learn from them. But the key discipline that changes them, and can change us, from an institution to a family is in the “breaking of bread” or the Love Feast. And it is this forgotten love feast we will explore in this message.