Thursday Dec 02, 2021

Acts 2:42

Thursday, 2 December 2021

 

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42

 

 

The previous verse saw three thousand souls added to the number of followers of Christ. With this great increase, Luke now records the results of their conversion, saying, “And they continued steadfastly.”

 

He uses the same word as in Luke 1:14 to describe their conduct –

 

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

 

The word used, proskartereó, signifies a consistent display of strength that does not fail, even in times of difficulty. It is a remarkable attitude considering that they had first been among those who mocked what they saw. But when they heard the words of Peter, and when they realized the magnitude of what had occurred in the coming of their Messiah, they were wholly converted. There is no record of any of these people falling away. Rather, their lives had been completely changed by the events that occurred.

 

In this state, it says they continued “in the apostles’ doctrine.”  The word is more precisely rendered “teaching.” It signifies both the act and the matter rather than just the matter (as in “doctrine”). Those who had joined the faith were willing to sit and be instructed on what it meant to enter into the New Covenant. Along with continuing in the apostles’ teaching, it adds “and fellowship.” Vincent’s Word Studies provides the meaning –

 

“From κοινός, [koinos] common. A relation between individuals which involves a common interest and a mutual, active participation in that interest and in each other. The word answers to the Latin communio, from communis, common. Hence, sometimes rendered communion, as 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 13:14. Fellowship is the most common rendering.”

 

Indeed, the life of the early believers wasn’t just in common, it was almost in commune. This will be seen in Chapter 4. There was an intimate fellowship that goes well beyond that experienced in almost all of the church today. To find any church that is even closely similar to what is described is almost unheard of. But, if such a body exists, it is more of a fringe cult than anything else.

 

This alone shows the descriptive nature of the book. It also shows the hypocrisy of those who pull various verses or passages out of Acts and force them upon a congregation in a prescriptive manner while completely ignoring other passages that are just as clearly stated. What is occurring in the early church, as is recorded in Acts, is a state of necessity for the body to survive, grow, and continue within the society in which it existed.

 

To impose the same type of life upon others in societies elsewhere would not only likely be unwise, it would most certainly be damaging to those who joined. As noted above, this is the type of environment that easily leads to complete bondage in cults. The reason is that any such teacher is not an apostle of Jesus. When such control of others’ lives is obtained, the most aberrant of doctrines quickly arise. This has been seen innumerable times in the present dispensation.

 

As for these early believers, they had a state of instruction, community, and a reliance on one another. Along with that, they continued “in the breaking of bread.”

 

The word used, klasis, is derived from a word, klaó, signifying “to break.” It is found only here and in Luke 24:35 where Jesus broke the bread in Emmaus after His resurrection. This is the final use of the word in Scripture, but the connection to Luke 24 may be intended to signify more than just the fact that common meals were shared, but that each meal was considered a participation in the Lord’s Supper.

 

In other words, the bread in a family would have been broken by the head of the house who would then say a prayer for blessing upon it. In the case of the breaking of bread among the believers, it would be asking for a blessing in the body of Christ. This is, of course, speculation. However, it is reasonable to assume this. Christ had said in Luke 22:19 (and Paul repeats in 1 Corinthians 11:24) to “do this in remembrance of Me.”

 

Along with these points of activity, Luke adds in the words, “and in prayers.” Even the prayer life of these early believers was a united activity, and it shows the highly intimate closeness of the body as they continued on in their relationship based on the memory of the Messiah who had come to the people of Israel.

 

Life application: It is often said that those described in the book of Acts who had converted to the faith continued to adhere to the instruction (Torah) of Moses. This is then used to justify that believers today are also bound to Moses.

 

This is not only untrue, it is one of the principle teachings that Paul argues against. In fact, the book of Galatians is so clear, unambiguous, and precise in arguing against it that it is astonishing that anyone gets caught up in this heretical doctrine. Peter is even used as an example of why this is untrue, being called out openly by Paul for his heresy. In fact, because it is the basis for the book of Galatians, Paul calls it out as anathema, or accursed right at the beginning of the epistle –

 

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9

 

Thus, this is not a light and unimportant matter. It is the highest of offenses against the cross of Jesus Christ. The reason these early believers continued on in the culture of the  Jews was because they were... Jews. To this day, Jews have a Sabbath. Jews circumcise. Jews (in part) observe their annual feast days. Jews get married under a khupa. These are things they do culturally, whether they believe in God or not, and whether they are believers in Jesus or not.

 

Even though these things are what they do culturally, they actually have nothing to do with faith in the finished work of Christ. Reinserting the Law of Moses, in part or in whole, is not to be tolerated in our lives as Christians. It is the arrogant attitude that says, “Jesus, You did a good job, but I will improve upon it. Thanks for Your help, but I’ve got this.” You will not survive the judgment for your arrogance.

 

Be sure to understand the historical record of Acts, but also be sure to understand proper theology so that you do not get swept up into the judgment of God for failing to simply believe that Christ has completed what is necessary for you to be saved. The words, “It is finished,” have meaning. Believe them.

 

Lord God, thank You for Jesus Christ who has fulfilled all that is necessary to bring me into a right relationship with You. Thank You that we are free from the bondage of the law, and that we are brought into the perfect liberty of living by faith in the completed work of Christ. Amen.



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