In response to Peter’s sermon and appeal for repentance and salvation, about three thousand people made a decision to accept Jesus as the Messiah and the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises to Israel. God was at work in the hearts of all these people.
Many had heard about Jesus from far away and may have traveled to Jerusalem with the hope to see Him. Some may have seen Jesus and heard His messages of God’s salvation but had not made a commitment to become a follower. At Pentecost, God miraculously intervened in the lives of the disciples and used them as witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus. Now they know that, in Jesus’ name, people can have the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38).
Read Acts 2:42-47. What activities did these early followers of Jesus do as a community of believers? What created this amazing unity of fellowship?
It is remarkable that the first activity this community of new believers engaged in was learning the apostles’ teaching. Bible instruction is an important way to facilitate the spiritual growth of new believers. Jesus had given the commission to His disciples to teach them “all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20, NKJV). This new community spent time learning from the apostles all about Jesus. They likely heard about Jesus’ life and ministry; His teachings, parables, and sermons; and His miracles, all explained as the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures in the writing of the prophets.
They also spent time in prayer and the breaking of bread. It is unclear whether the breaking of bread is a direct allusion to the Lord’s Supper or simply a reference to sharing meals together, as Acts 2:46 seems to imply. The mention of fellowship certainly infers that this new community spent time together, often and regularly, both in the temple in Jerusalem, which still served as the center of their devotions and worship, and in their private homes. They shared an intimate life. They ate and prayed together. Prayer is a vital element of a community of faith, and it is essential to spiritual growth. This new community spent time in worship. We are told that these activities were done “steadfastly.”
This steadfast fellowship generated good relationships with others in Jerusalem. The new believers are described as “having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:47, NKJV). No doubt the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives made a powerful impression on those around them and served as a powerful witness to the truth of Jesus as the Messiah.
What can your local church learn from the example set here in regard to unity, fellowship, and witness?