Luke is recognized to be the author of the book of Acts. In this book, Luke seeks to highlight the way in which the church was built, how it was built, and how it operated as a cohesive unit. In Acts 2:42, Luke tells us about the first converts and their devotion to the Lord.
He highlights four matters of primary concern regarding the topic of fellowship. First, Luke tells us that the early church continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine. Continuing steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine is foundational for Christian fellowship. This is not the same as saying continuing steadfastly in the doctrine of your pastor. However, if you attend a Bible-believing church, it is important to place yourself under the guidance of your shepherd (pastor).
What is the apostles’ teaching? For us today, it is the Word of God. The apostles, and those closely associated with the apostles, wrote the New Testament. Thus, when the Christian continues in the Word of God, he is continuing in the apostles’ doctrine. Continuing in the Word is a non-negotiable matter when it pertains to Christian fellowship.
Second, Luke speaks of fellowship. While it may sound redundant to say that someone needs to fellowship in order to fellowship, it is important to address it in this way. The author of the book of Hebrews highlights a group of people who neglected to meet together, and the author goes on to say that it was actually the habit of this group of people. The Christian must actively seek out fellowship opportunities. There are not a prescribed amount of times that the Christian must fellowship with others, but regardless of this fact, he must seek to emulate the early church in seeking out fellowship opportunities.
Third, Luke highlights the way in which the early church would eat meals together. This is an important example to follow. The dinner table is a wonderful way to sit together and fellowship together. It is a time of sharing food, sharing stories, and sharing about Christ.
In the Old Testament, one of the primary reasons for many of the laws governing food, although it may seem odd to us, was actually to shield the people from the surrounding pagan nations. If the surrounding people ate certain foods, in large part, God took note and prohibited the same meal-time practices. This would, in essence, divide the Israelites from the Gentiles that surrounded them. If there were no common meal practices, then this would prevent the Gentiles and the Israelites from sitting down and eating together. The point is that meal times are both sacred and also times of fellowship.
Finally, Luke tells us of the way that the early church would pray. Most likely, what is being depicted is that they would pray in one accord, for each other, and together. The early church was committed to praying, and this also influenced their fellowship with one another.
“And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles” (Acts 2:43).
In verse 43, we can see that the outcome of their fellowship was fear, signs, and wonders. Simply put, God worked in the midst of their fellowship and blessed their fellowship. For fear to have come upon every soul meant that the people, in one accord, grew in their fear of the Lord.
Wholesome Christian fellowship ignites the fear of the Lord in the heart of man. The fear of the Lord is indispensable and should be sought after with every fiber of the Christian’s being.
Not only did the people fear the Lord, God worked miracles among those that He placed in leadership positions. While the miracles and signs that were done by the apostles would most likely not be duplicated today, it does not seem farfetched to say that when biblical fellowship occurs, God’s people will be strengthened for ministry.
“And all that believed were together, and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44).
Luke continues in his discussion of the fellowship of the early church by stating the way in which the believers united together. This does not imply that they united in spirit, although that would have been the case. Rather, Luke is expressing the fact that they spent time together and were interested in the lives of one another.
Not only did they spend time together, but they also “had all things in common.” This does not mean that they were like robots or twins. What it does mean is that they proactively took care of each other and shared with each other.
“And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need” (Acts 2:45).
Verse 45 flows smoothly out of verse 44 and expounds on the “had all things in common” concept. The people were so devoted to one another that they sold their possessions and their goods. The heart of the people was for their fellow Christian. Their desire was to give as the Lord gave, their longing was to bless as the Lord blessed, and their aspiration was to abound in generosity as they had so richly been given an inheritance from the Father.
This heart attitude prompted their fellowship. This attitude must also undergird the fellowship of the Christian today. Simply put, the people turned from being self-focused sinners to being selfless, born-again believers. This heart attitude radically changed the climate of the early church, and God was pleased.
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (Acts 2:46).
This verse depicts the people of God going to the temple of God. The temple of God was a place of fellowship and a place of praise and worship. The temple of God was a place of instruction and teaching, as well. The Bible tells us that the people sought the Lord in His temple together daily. They would also travel from house to house and seek out other Christians to eat with.
In the midst of it all, what was their heart attitude? Was it an attitude of bitterness in performing a duty for God that they would rather not have to do? Was it an attitude of, “I’m tired of spending time with others; I’m going to get a little me-time?” Not in the least. Their attitude was one of gladness in their fellowship. They found joy in fellowship. They also found a place where they could connect with others in their purpose, passion, and devotion; thus, they had singleness of heart.
“Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).
Finally, Luke brings his section to a close and highlights the way that the people praised God together. What is remarkable is that their devotion to the Lord actually won the people around them. They were not concerned about being like the world to win the world. Instead, they were focused on being devoted to God and unwavering in their convictions. The Bible goes on to say that this attitude actually helped to gain them favor from the people around them.
What was the response of God in the midst of their God-honoring fellowship? Luke tells us that God added new believers to the church each day as a result of the early Christians’ conducting themselves in the way that Luke described.
Having a focus on fellowship is a must for the believer. Fellowshipping according to God’s Word is also a necessity. Christian fellowship cannot be done without the guidance from God’s Word.
Father, I thank You for the ways that You have shown me how to fellowship. I pray that You would continue to give me wisdom on the matter, and help me to seek out opportunities to fellowship with other fellow believers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.