● Jesus called ordinary people to follow Him and they became His disciples.
● He gave them the Great Commission; as they boldly shared Christ, the church was established.
Acts 14:21 (NIV) They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,
● The church is God’s idea and works really well when we follow Jesus’ plans.
Matthew 16:16-18 (NIV) Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
● Our goal in this series is to be the church Jesus modeled and taught, following His way.
Jeremiah 6:16–17 (NIV) This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 17 I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’
● The disciples did it Jesus’ way – not any way they wanted to.
● They Shared Christ, Connected people to God and others, met needs and Ministered, and made Disciples. They were devoted to what Jesus had commanded.
o Devotion: to show steadfast strength that perseveres
● Their devotion revealed their commitment to Jesus and His Church.
Acts 2:42-47 (NIV) They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
What the disciples were devoted to:
1. Connecting through fellowship.
● Real fellowship is intimate, transparent relationships with a kingdom purpose, not an activity to pass the time.
● As they connected by doing life together, they matured, reflecting the light of Christ to a lost world.
1 John 1:5-7 (NIV) This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
● Biblical fellowship provides support, encouragement, accountability to our relationships.
Hebrews 10:24–25 (NIV) And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
2. Connecting through the breaking of bread.
● Communion is a memorial, remembrance, proclamation with thanksgiving for what the Lord has done.
Acts 20:7 (NIV) On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.
● Communion reminds us that we are saved by grace through faith, not our own doing.
3. Connecting through prayer.
● They prayed to keep their eyes on Jesus and not their circumstances.
Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV) “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
● They acknowledged that everything came from God.
● They sought to keep their hearts pure.
● They prayed for one another and protection.
Where their devotion was lived out:
Their devotion spilled out in all areas of their lives and as a result, God added to their numbers daily.
Small Group Discussion:
● 2 Timothy 2:2; John 3:22; Acts 4:32-37; Acts 2:36-47 (The Fellowship of Believers)
1. What did the believers of the early church devote themselves to? Why are these habits important?
2. Being devoted means being focused on a particular thing almost exclusively. With this definition in mind, what would you say you are devoted to? What would those closest to you say you’re devoted to?
3. What does it mean to “have all things in common”?
4. Why is the corporate gathering, as well as small group gatherings, important for us as believers?
5. How has being connected to other believers helped you stay devoted to the right things?
6. How can you encourage those around you to stay connected to other believers?