Soon after the Day of Pentecost, the new Church entered a time of rapid expansion and tremendous miracles. It is no secret what allowed these things to happen. In Acts 2:42-47 it says:
"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and sign were done by the apostles.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
Breaking these verses down, we see that the new believers continued steadfastly or were continually devoting themselves to four things. The first thing they continually devoted themselves to was "the apostles' doctrine". The apostles' doctrine was simply what the apostles taught. Instead of listening and immediately forgetting what they heard from the twelve apostles, they continually devoted themselves to doing whatever was needed to UNDERSTAND and DO what the apostles had taught.
In order to continually devote themselves to what the apostles taught, they had to devote themselves to fellowship with each other. This was all new information to these people and they needed each other's support and encouragement to "stick with it". They didn't just hear this new message and "get it" right off the bat. They, just as everyone since, had to meditate upon what they heard. They had to think about it and talk it over with others who had heard it also. The continually devoted themselves to fellowship with each other so they could continue stedfastly in what the apostles taught.
The third thing they continued stedfastly in was "breaking of bread". These new believers ate together as the new family that they were. During the course of eating together they talked. They got to know what the other was thinking, and what they thought about this whole new message. Eating together is a vital ingredient for any family unit to develop unity.
The fourth thing they continually devoted themselves to was prayer. One assumes this prayer was more than likely together with those whom they were already fellowshipping with and eating together with. This new spiritual family spent time together, ate together and prayed together. In the process of spending all this time together a community of great reverence for God and faith developed. This "fear" resulted in many signs and wonders to be done by the apostles.
Everyone who believed was together and they shared all they had as a family. If one had an extra blanket, he shared it with someone who had none. If one had an extra pair of sandals, he shared it with someone whose sandals had just broken. They were a family who genuinely loved being together and sharing fully with each other. They looked out for each other and they rejoiced in being able to "pool their resources" to help each other.
These new believers were together daily. They did not have a meeting daily; they simply were together on a daily basis at the temple and eating together from house to house. Those were happy times, for it said they broke bread together from house to house with gladness and singleness (simplicity) of heart. They were all praising God and had the favor of the people. EVERY DAY, the Lord added to the church, those who were being saved.
In Acts chapter 4, the religious leaders of the time commanded Peter and John to stop speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus. Peter told them that they were going to obey God and not man. Peter and John then went back to the company of believers and prayed. In verse 29 one of the things they prayed for was MORE BOLDNESS to speak God's Word. In Acts 4:31-35 is the record of what took place after the prayer:
"And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all.
Neither was there any among them that lacked; for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
And laid them down at the apostles' feet; and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."
As someone once said, "be careful what you pray for, you just might get it!" They prayed for more boldness and they proceeded to "speak the word of God with boldness". There was no fear in the early church. They did not care what people thought of them or of what they said. They boldly proclaimed the truth of God's Word and trusted that God would take care of the rest.
These believers, which now numbered a multitude, were of one heart and soul. Their hearts beat together in unity of purpose. Anything they had in this life they considered as "community property". They shared everything, for they were a family. They were brothers and sisters who gladly shared their hearts and lives with each other.
It is truly incredible how among this multitude of believers, there was no one who lacked. If someone needed something, the family of believers did whatever it took to take care of their own. They needed no government assistance for they took care of themselves as a family should do. The apostles would collect the abundance that was given and then distribute it to those who needed it. What a simple way to handle need. If one had abundance it was given to one who had need.
The early church did indeed practice a form of socialism. Not government sponsored socialism, but spiritual community sharing. The believers were so thrilled with their new faith, they saw no need for the territorial and selfish attitudes towards "things" that had been in existence for generations. Love dictates doing whatever can be done to help another who has need. Never before or since has so much love been manifested as recorded in the first few chapters of Acts.
Shortly after these amazing records, persecution caused the believers to scatter to other locations. They carried with them the spark of not only the gospel, but the spiritual family they had experienced in Jerusalem. Church is supposed to be all about sharing fully with each other. This kind of commitment to each other opened the doors for God to add to the church, and as Acts 4:33 said; "great grace was upon them all". I pray that we, as the church, can once again have Great Grace upon us all. Amen.
After all that, all that I can most humbly offer is a most heartfelt "AMEN!"
My pastor spoke on this very subject this past Sunday.
That each Christian remember to exercise the power of UNITY, rather than the power of division.
Let's all make that our mission each day.
We are all missionaries, right?
Thank you for a WONDERFUL post.
If you want to see mind boggling miracles and have them manefest in your home I recommend watching www.god.tv online and the tv and radio show of www.sidroth.org (Home of It's SuperNatural TV show) .
But the most important thing is love.
If I have not love, I am nothing at all.