In Acts 2:43-47, the Apostle Paul’s physician, Luke, says this:
“And [awe] came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and they sold their possessions and goods, and [gave] them to all, . . . as any man had need. And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at [houses], they [had] their [meals] with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.”
In this passage, Luke gives us 4 characteristics of the first church:
- its worship
- its wonders
- its oneness
- its widening.
In the first part of verse 43, Luke describes the church’s worship by saying that everyone of the 3,000 people that were saved on the day of Pentecost kept feeling a sense of awe. Why? Well, mostly due to their salvation, which involved them changing the way they thought about themselves and the gospel, and resulted in them being baptized, and devoting themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, to partnering with the rest of the already established church, to partaking of the Lord’s Supper, and to praying.
In the second part of verse 43, Luke describes the wonders of the first church, which were a part of why everyone kept feeling a sense of awe. He describes them by saying that many wonders, which were the responses of wonder of the new disciples to the many signs, or miracles pointing to the identity of the One who caused them, were taking place through the Apostles. What kind of miracles may have occurred? Most likely, healings and exorcisms, since these are the miracles that Jesus did, and that the Apostles did later in Acts.
In verses 44 to the first part of 47, Luke describes the oneness of the first church. In verse 44, he teaches that the church had oneness in sharing in the Lord by saying that everyone who had believed the gospel were together and had all things in common. In other words, they were physically close to each other because they were now family, and they considered everything they had, in a sense, to belong to all of them, since they were family. In verse 45, he teaches that the church had oneness in serving the Lord. Since they were together and had all things in common, he implies, they began selling their property, or land or buildings, and possessions, or other things they owned, and were sharing the money they made with anyone of them that was in need of it. In verses 46 to the first part of 47, he teaches that the church had oneness in showing the Lord. He teaches this by saying that, day after day, the church continued with one mind in the temple, a public place with multitudes of people, at least partly so they could share the gospel, and continuing with one mind breaking bread from house to house, or observing the Lord’s Supper, they were also taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having a good opinion from all the common people of Jerusalem.
In the second part of verse 47, Luke describes the widening of the first church by saying that the Lord was adding to the church day after day those who were being saved by Him. Notice that it was not the church that was adding to their number those who were being saved, but it was the Lord who was doing so. But through what means was He saving people? Through the worship of the church, the wonders of the church, and through the oneness of the church in sharing in the Lord, serving the Lord, and showing the Lord.
So, do you keep feeling a sense of awe because you know that God has forgiven your sins, is teaching you, is allowing you to share in the Lord, to observe the Lord’s Supper, and speak to Him, and because you are seeing many good deeds (including evangelism) being done by the church?
Are you together and have all the most important things in common with those who believe the gospel?
Are you willing to share your property and possessions with believers that need any of them?
Are you daily continuing with other believers with one mind in public, regularly observing the Lord’s Supper, sharing life with other believers with gladness and sincerity of heart, and praising God?
Do you understand what it means to be saved? The Apostle Paul wrote about it this way:
“. . . I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-9
This is what the Apostle John said about the gospel in John 1:1-18:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. John beareth witness of him, and crieth, saying, This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me. For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
This is what Christ Himself said about the gospel:
“. . . God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:16-20
John the Baptist said this: “. . . he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on [stays directed toward] him.” – John 3:36
The Apostle Paul said this in Romans 2:4-16 and 1:18-32:
“. . . despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ.”
“. . . the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousnessof men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.”
Speaking of those that practice sin, the Apostle Paul uses this quote:
“. . . There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one: Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness . . .” – Romans 3:10-14
This is my appeal to you, as written by the Apostle Paul:
“. . . we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21
This is how you become reconciled to God:
“. . . if thou shalt confess [acknowledge] with thy mouth Jesus as Lord [Greek: kurios, or Supreme in Authority], and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him [depend upon Him]: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [who He is, what He has done, and what He can do] shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13