In his account of the day of Pentecost, Luke described the manner in which the early church functioned. After recounting Peter’s preaching and the subsequent conversion of thousands into the faith, Luke delved into that which distinguished these early disciples–
fellowship. Their fellowship looked strikingly different from that of its contemporaries.
The purpose of the fellowship of faith is the formation of those involved. Luke describes four characteristics, or anchor points, that defined the church united in Jesus Christ:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).
This idea of “being devoted” expresses far beyond a cognitive commitment to the faith. A more appropriate definition could read that they “persevered” or maintained “steadfastness.” There is more action taken than mere mental observance. This idea of devotion links itself to athletics terminology as describing those who stretch themselves in order to accomplish a given task.
Tabernacle Baptist Church has adopted the task of knowing, showing, caring, and sharing the gospel of Jesus with our community. Your devotion to that collective cause begins with your adherence to the Apostle’s teaching – that is an outward sign of your fellowship. A devotion to the Truth of God means not only preaching God’s word, but a giving response to God’s word; which equates to a church that not only teaches the love of Christ, but also acts in compassion toward the widows, orphans, and those in need. You have to work in ministry to live in outward obedience.
This Sunday, you have the opportunity to sign-up for various Ministry Teams at our Fall-Kickoff event. I have challenged you to prayerfully consider stretching yourselves (see: devote yourself) and finding a place of service that is different from your typical experience. I encourage you to visit every table this Sunday afternoon and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to your "God-appointed" ministry.
Luke spoke clearly about the early believers’ devotion toward fellowship. They allowed nothing to impede their fellowship. The Greek word for fellowship used here goes deeper than the normal conception of that word in modern language. The word used by Luke here describes a warm, inviting fellowship that is founded upon complete trust – a collective working together toward a common goal. We will have tables in the middle of the room where we can internally fellowship while we have dozens of ministry teams represented along the outside of the room where we can externally serve our community. Our fellowship has a purpose!
Will you devote yourself to growing in Fellowship? You can engage in fellowship this Sunday, but also every Wednesday night beginning next week, August 22, as we formally kick-off our Engage! Wednesday Night discipleship activities. Have you signed up for a discipleship class? If not, please do so as soon as possible. Let’s spur one another in growth!
The anchor characteristics of the church include inward fellowship, outward service, and an upward call: they were devoted to prayer.
They prayed in seeking a communal understanding that Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit bound them together. Are you devoted to prayer? Starting next week, we will meet at 4:30 on every Wednesday in the Adult I Assembly Room (Old Conference Room) to intercede for those in need in our community and consecrate our Wednesday night fellowship. I encourage you to plan to Engage! in prayer so we can better understand God’s collective call for us. Let’s Engage with one another this Sunday morning and kick-off these Fall activities expectant of the Holy Spirit’s movement among us and in our community.
Expecting His Best,
Stephen V. Allen