Praise God all the Time

Concept #8: Praise God (Redefining Church)

Acts 2:42-47 tells the story of how those who became followers of Jesus after Peter’s first preach on the Day of Pentecost formed a community that later became known as the church. Modern Christians and theologians call it the Early Church to differentiate this stage of the church from the other stages that it went through during history. Over the last eight weeks, we’ve been looking at concepts that the early believers modelled and what we can learn from them if we wish to Redefine Church in the modern age. In this final instalment, Concept #8, we’re going to take a look at how the Early Church Praised God as part of their community.  Read: Acts 2:46-47 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and […]

With Glad and Sincere hearts

Concept # 7: With Glad and Sincere Hearts (Redefining Church)

The earliest believers modelled a way of being church (as opposed to ‘doing’ church) that is, in many ways, far removed from our twenty-first century concepts of church. In this series on ‘Redefining Church’, we come to the seventh concept explained in Acts 2:46: having glad and sincere hearts. It wasn’t just what the early church did, it was the way that they did it. There was a sincerity and gratefulness in the way that they gathered together to break bread and eat in community. Their dedication to their faith was sincere, not superficial, and this is an essential consideration for the modern church. Too much of modern life is superficial, and there is a danger that this superficiality leaks into our faith and into our churches. Read: Acts 2:46b They broke bread in their […]

Concept #6: All Encompassing Faith (Redefining Church)

For the early church, faith was not something reserved for Sunday morning services and a home group one night a week – it was at the very center of their lives. In this sixth concept in a series looking at “Redefining Church”, we get a window into the all-encompassing nature of the faith of the first-century church, and what it might mean for the twenty-first century church to have a faith that is more than just a compartmentalised part of our lives.  Read: Acts 2:46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity. Consistency and dedication were a huge source of strength for the community of believers that we have come to know as the “early church”. Faith was […]

Sharing Community is based on Micah 6:8, and this is a huge part of Redefining Church

Concept #5: Real Community and Sharing (Redefining Church)

The earliest believers provided us with a model for how “Church” should be done, and it wasn’t based on rules or doctrines, but on a genuine faith in Jesus Christ. The way the early Church lived out their faith is far removed from our modern concepts of church, and at the heart of it is the fifth concept in our series on Redefining Church – “Real community and sharing”. The early church wasn’t just united by their belief, they formed a genuine community of people who looked out for each other in every way, and shared their possessions among each other, so that everyone’s needs were met, and no one had to go without. What would it look like for the twenty-first century church to embrace the practices of the first century church?  Read: Acts 2:44-45 And […]

Acts 2 Redefining Church

Concept #4: Togetherness (Redefining Church)

The fourth concept in the model of church that is described in Acts 2 is togetherness. The unity that the early believers built the church upon is far removed from the dissent and disunity that we see in the twenty-first century church. In the aftermath of the Day of Pentecost, the early church was united by an unadulterated, Christ-centred faith. After two millennia of doctrinal debate and division, the modern-day church, although still focused on Christ, is no longer united as one, but divided into dozens of denominations. What impact does that division have, and is it possible to redefine our understanding of church to return to the unity that the early believers thrived within.  Read: Acts 2:44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. Unity, which refers […]

Devoted to the Gospel

Concept #3: Devotion to Breaking of Bread and Prayer (Redefining Church)

In this series focusing on the model of church demonstrated by the earliest group of Christians, based on Acts 2:42-47, we come to the third of eight key concepts: the way in which the early church devoted themselves to the breaking of bread and to prayer. These were solid foundations upon which the faith of these new believers was built – and are foundations that should be (but not necessarily are) at the centre of the 21st Century church. Was the early church’s concept of the breaking of bread the same as our 21st Century interpretation, or are there lessons to be learned about the way we approach the “Lord’s Supper”? What does it really mean to be devoted to prayer, and what does that mean for how we view prayer?  Read: Acts 2:42-43: They […]

Devoted to the Gospel

Concept #2: Devoted to Fellowship (Redefining Church)

At the end of Acts 2, we see a formula for the way that the Early Church operated – eight principles that underpinned a community of believers whom “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Last week we saw how these early believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This week, we’ll be looking at the Early Church’s devotion to fellowship – and how our modern concept of fellowship has been watered down over the centuries.  Read: Acts 2:42: All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. (NLT). When Luke writes about fellowship in Acts 2, the word that he uses is the Greek word koinōnía, which […]

Devoted to the Gospel

Concept #1: Devotion to the Teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Redefining Church)

Following Peter’s first preach on the Day of Pentecost, the fellowship of believers in Jesus Christ, which would come to be called “the early church” devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. They didn’t have Bibles from which to read, and there were no formal doctrinal statements, but these first believers were devoted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that the twelve apostles shared with them. What does it mean to be devoted in this way, and what lessons can we take from the way that the early church operated?  Read: Acts 2:42: All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. The early church didn’t have many of the problems that the twenty-first century church has. There was no arguing over […]

Redefining “Church” – Introduction

What can the earliest believers teach us about what it REALLY means to be a fellowship of believers? The church in the 21st Century is in crisis. No longer at the forefront of communities, it struggles to make itself relevant and reach out to the lost and broken. The essence of what it really meant, for the very first Christ-followers, to be a church, or a community of believers, has been lost in layers of rules and rituals. What would it mean for the church today to return to its roots, and shake off the centuries of dogma and doctrinal debate?  Read: Acts 2:42-47 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and […]