Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 7:39 AM
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread...” (Acts 2:42a)
Yesterday, we started a list of activities from the early Christians describing how they walked. These activities are some things God uses to make us more like Jesus, a process we called sanctification. The list of activities in which the early Christians participated begins with Acts 2:42. It says that they were “devoted” to these activities. The first item in the list was the apostles' teaching, which we equated to study of the Bible, but the list of devotional activities continues: fellowship and the breaking of bread.
The word “devoted”, as we defined yesterday, implies a continuing, serious and reverent commitment. So what does it mean to be devoted to fellowship? First of all, if you were to check this verse against other translations of the Bible, many translate this as “the fellowship” and not just “fellowship”. An important distinction, because as Christians we are not devoted to the act of getting together and sharing life, but as Christians we are devoted to each other and out of that devotion comes the motivation to share life. In addition, it's our love and common bond of Jesus that draws us closer to each other, and because of the bond we have in Jesus we devote ourselves to encourage, share with, and help one another as we seek to know Him more.
We are also to be devoted to the breaking of bread. This is a direct reference to communion or the Lord's supper, and we should not neglect this sacrament and approach the Lord's supper with devotion. If you take a step back from the sacrament of the Lord's supper, you see that this is really a time of fellowship where we remember and share in the life of Jesus together. If we are to be devoted to one another, sharing life along the way, then a part of that fellowship should be sharing and remembering what Jesus has done for us.
So how are we to be devoted to the fellowship? Practically, you have to be around Christians to fellowship in the same manner as these early Christians did. For some, that may mean more regular attendance of church and life group, not that it's the goal; it's just a starting point. For others of us, it means putting more value on the Christians that God has put around us, and seeking to be available to sharing life and encouraging them on their walk with Jesus. Lastly, for all of us, whomever we have fellowship with, we should always be remembering and sharing Jesus with each other, and not sharing Him out of shallowness but rooted in Scripture. As we get together in fellowship, we should ask questions about what God is teaching us through our devotional times and sharing accordingly. Along this line—let's be honest—if we are uncomfortable sharing Jesus with fellow Christians, how will we ever be able to share with non-Christians?
So as we approach the new year and begin to make resolutions for ourselves (as is our modern day tradition), what possible resolutions can we derive from these early Christians:
- If you don't already, make yourself available for fellowship.
- Maybe that means putting a more regular emphasis on church and life group attendance so that you are available for fellowship.
- Maybe that means attending more church and life group gatherings so that you are available for fellowship. (Honestly, there's not much time for fellowship on Sunday mornings.)
- Maybe that means making an effort to spend time with others outside of organized activities. (This is where most fellowship should happen.)