Who does not like a good photograph? Photographs capture the special times in life, the birthdays, weddings, and moments that crystalize what is important in life. Though cameras were yet to be invented at the birth of the infant Christian Church, Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote down words that give us photographs of that church. The widest angle shot appears in Acts 2:42-47, after Peter’s Pentecost sermon. There we see what the church was doing in those early years. Those happenings represent what the one, true church has always been.
Throughout the next several weeks, we will look at each action in this wide angle shot of the early infant church. This week we look at how the infant Christian church devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings. Jesus appointed a group of 12 to give an authoritative interpretation of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and exaltation. People came near and far to hear them. They went near and far to tell people. On at least one occasion, 3,000 people in the city of Jerusalem repented and turned to God and received the promised Holy Spirit in response to this message.
Christianity remains more than a set of beliefs and convictions; nevertheless, it is no less than a set of beliefs and convictions expressed in the lives of those who embrace this new way of life made possible through the Holy Spirit. The events surrounding Jesus could have been interpreted in a variety of ways. Jesus prepared ahead of time, from the beginning of his ministry, a group of people who would go out and give God’s authoritative word on Jesus’ life, death, ressurection, and exaltation. Some received this message with joy, others were offended and opposed it.
These men and their associates were gifted to us. For them, it was never about them; it was about the message entrusted to them by Jesus himself. They suffered persecution, imprisonment, beatings, and much more, some even gave their lives to disseminate it and defend it.
These words have now been recorded for prosperity, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in what we call the New Testament. A healthy, biblical church distinguishes itself by a healthy and whole-hearted teaching of God’s Holy Word, both from the pulpit on Sundays and in smaller groups dedicated to learning from and living out God’s Word. These churches love God’s Word so much their blood, as Charles Spurgeon once said, becomes bibline, and they become, in effect, walking Bibles.