An Apostolic Fellowship – Part Two

We have begun looking at Acts 2:42 and the practice of the early church where apostolic fellowship was of prime importance.

Acts 2:42 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching (doctrine, and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

The word doctrine in Greek is didache. It refers to teaching, instruction, or the subjects taught. In the Great Commission, the Lord gave the Church a mandate to teach. He instructed the apostles to make disciples, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Luke refers to doctrine three other times. The Jewish Sanhedrin condemned the apostles, telling them,. “Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine” (Acts 5:28). On the island of Cyprus, Paul preached the Gospel to the Roman proconsul who was “astonished at the teaching (doctrine) of the Lord” (Acts 13:12). The Greek philosophers in Athens requested of Paul, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which your speak” (Acts 17:19).

The ministry of the apostles and the lives of the disciples revolved around the preaching and teaching of the Word. Note the following: 

Acts 4:4 “But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.”

Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”

Acts 6:4 “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

Acts 6:7 “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”

Acts 8:4 “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.”

Acts 12:24 “But the word of God increased and multiplied.”

Acts 13:44 “The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.”

Acts 13:49 “And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.”

Acts 15:35 “But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.”

Acts 18:11 “And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”

Acts 19:10 “This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.”

Acts 19:20 “So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.”

Acts 20:32 “And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

One requirement of every elder (leader) is that he be able to teach (1 Timothy 3:2). Paul exhorted Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:2 “… and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

Handing down good doctrine from generation to generation keeps the Church strong. Psalm, chapter 119, stresses over and over how vital good teaching is to believers’ lives

Verse 1 “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!”

Verse 9 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”

Verse 11 “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

Verse 105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Verse 130 “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”

Verse 165 “Great peace have those who love your law (doctrine; Word); nothing can make them stumble.”

Christians who enjoy the moving of the Spirit must also develop a love for teaching from the Word of God. The Word makes believers grow. I have been in gatherings considered outstanding because :the Spirit moved and we didn’t have time for the preaching.” The Church needs to return to the New Testament pattern of gatherings centered on the Word. 

A New Testament Church, an apostolic fellowship, is well-taught. It offers ongoing, systematic teaching of the Bible. Everyone who comes into the house of the Lord, the Church, should learn basic doctrine. In other words, know what they believe and why they believe it. Members as well as new believers need to know what the Church believes and why it does what it does. They must understand the household of faith. Hearing the Scriptures taught, believers grow strong in faith (Romans 10:17).

Many people today read the Bible only to meet emotional needs in a personal crisis. They do not read it to discover truth and understand its doctrine. They read it superficially when they could gain strength from its depth of wisdom. They need to do more than just read, they must study to show themselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15).

Winds of false doctrine will blow Christians off course if they do not have a good background and solid foundation in the Word of God. Their faith and commitment to the Word of God sustain them in their day of battling with personal issues and doubts. People who stand for nothing will fall for anything. They are susceptible to being deceive by this evil generation.

Leaders must renew their emphasis on the Word of God. Do not just read it devotionally but study it to learn the ways of God. His plan for your life and His plan for the Lord’s people. A church that is not well taught and giving itself to the apostles’ doctrine will not endure the test of time.