The Early Church had a devotion to the Lord that can be seen in their devotion to the gospel. We are told in Acts 2:42, they were devoted to the Apostles’ teaching. This is more than passive listening. They had a deep hunger to continually learn more and more about Jesus and the gospel of God.
They were devoted to …. The apostle’s teaching. It’s easy to read over this but please notice the presence of the definite article. Truth is specific, which also means it is exclusive. They were devoted to one teaching and that one teaching is specifically identified as – the apostles teaching.
This is specific and exclusive. It’s also less than two months after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Here’s the spiritual lineage of the early Church as of Acts 2:
Jesus >>> Apostles >>> First Christians
If the first Christians were narrow and exclusive, it’s because the apostles were narrow and exclusive. If the Apostles were narrow and exclusive, it’s because Jesus was and is, narrow and exclusive. This is a big problem for our postmodern American culture that wants all ideas to be the same. The first Christians were narrow because the Apostles were narrow because Jesus was narrow. This is also a big problem for those who want to slam the Church for being intolerant and appeal to Jesus as accepting everybody.
Jesus did not come as one of many Sons of God. Jesus came and presented Himself as the only Son of God, the only Messiah, the only Redeemer, the only Savior. Jesus is specific which means He is exclusive. The reason Jesus is specific is because His is unique.
Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6
The Apostles did not teach a new message. The Apostles proclaimed Jesus and they explained how to live as followers of Jesus. The Apostles’ teaching is the content of the NT.
The word “devoted” speaks of doing something with intense effort. Receiving the Word of God was never meant to be a passive experience. Here’s where it goes both ways. Not only were the new followers of Jesus devoted to the Apostles’ teaching, the Apostles were devoted to teaching them. The task of the Apostles was to reform Israel. They embraced that task by diving into the Scriptures. They taught and they preached and they told the story of Jesus.
A healthy Church is marked by a deep commitment to the Lord, to His people and to His work in the world.
Recommend Reading for parents with young kids:
Read Aloud Bible Stories, Jesus Storybook Bible, The Picture Bible OR The Action Bible.
Recommended Reading for adults who want to know more about the Bible:
- More Than a Carpenter (Josh McDowell),
- Has God Spoken? (Hank Hanegraaff)
Bible Reading Plans: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/