Committed to the Basics: Part 2
When we find ourselves struggling, in any area of life, it is essential for us to return to the basics. The basics are those fundamentals that have to be done in order to have success. If we ignore these basic fundamentals then we will struggle. This is true in our personal lives as well as the Church.
The only answer to the struggle that the Church finds herself in in our culture is a return to the basics. Acts 2:42 provides us with those basics that the early church were committed to as they grew from a little Jewish sect in Jerusalem to an unstoppable movement that changed the course of history.
Let me set the background. It is the day of Pentecost, fifty days after Passover, and about 10 days after Jesus ascended into heaven. The disciples of Jesus, there are about 120 of them, are in Jerusalem. The apostles, and possibly some other disciples, are in the upper room waiting as Jesus instructed. That morning of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descends on the apostles and they begin to preach to the crowds gathered in the city.
Jerusalem is still full of visitor. They came for Passover and stayed through Pentecost, and so there were Jews from different cultures who spoke different languages. The amazing thing is that the crowd heard about Jesus in their own languages.
The sermon Peter gave about Jesus being the Promised Messiah cut to the heart of many in the crowd and they asked what they needed to do to be saved. Peter told them that in order to receive this gift of salvation they needed to repent, change their allegiance from Judaism to Jesus, and to be baptized (immersed). These actions demonstrate their faith in Jesus Christ and are acts of obedience.
On that day 3,000 people were added to the handful of disciples who had continued to follow Jesus after His death. And this presented the first problem for the Church: how do you move 3,000 people from placing their faith in Jesus to becoming mature followers of Christ? Acts 2:42 tells us what the Church did; They continually devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to times of prayer (ISV). The new Church was committed. They were committed to four actions.
First they were committed to the apostle’s teachings. In other words these New Christians were taught about who Jesus is, how God worked through history to bring about salvation, how Jesus lived His life, and how they were expected to live. There was a need to lay a foundation of truth and then to continue to build on that foundation with reminders, applications, more difficult truths. The apostles, and these new Christians, understood that in order for them to follow Jesus they needed to know the truth of who Jesus is, what He taught, and how He lived.
While we don’t sit directly under the teachings of Peter, John, Andrew, Thomas, Matthew and the rest of the apostles we do have a collection of their teachings known to us as the New Testament. This is the foundation of every other basic essential that needs to be part of our church family. Without this we are not a Church of Jesus Christ we are just club. Being committed to God’s Word, in particular the New Testament, helps us understand how we are to live, what we are to believe, and what God is doing in the world.
The apostle Paul reminded his disciple Timothy:
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and found to be true, because you know from whom you learned it. 15 From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures that are able to give you the wisdom you need for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17; ISV)
If we are not committed to God’s Word then we are going to struggle in our lives. Far too often we have replaced God’s wisdom with the wisdom of this world and what is preached in the pulpits across this country is not the Bible, but some form of self-help pop-psychology. We need to return to being people of the Book. May we once again be committed to the teaching of our Lord and His apostles.
- Point to Ponder: We need to return to being people of the Book.
- Passage to Remember: 2 Timothy 3:14-17
- Question to Consider: How are you committed to the apostles’ teachings?