What it was like in the Early New Testament Church

The book of Acts is a wealth of information about our spiritual ancestors. The only literature they had was the Bible. Their message was simple. Jesus Christ died and rose again for our sins. With this as the driving force, thousands of people came to know Christ as their Savior and were baptized into the church. This included traditional Jews, priests, some members of the Sanhedrin court, non-Jews, and many who were previously worshipers of idols as pagans.

They were driven and motivated by the reality of the resurrection with God continually working through them.

They were obedient to Jesus by observing communion also called the Lord’s supper.

Their singular premise was that the only means of salvation was through Jesus Christ.

Repeatedly the Scripture uses the phrase that they were all in one accord.

Twice we are told that they shared all things in common. Some people mistake this is to say that they were communists. This is absolutely not true! The members of the church were so enraptured by the Holy Spirit that they voluntarily sold property so they could put the funds in a common pot.

It was so much of a major sin to lie to God that when a man and wife named Ananias and Sapphira claimed to have given all they had in the sale of property but did not, they were struck down dead after being reminded that their gift was voluntary. Behavior and attitude were very important in those days.

Both Jews and Gentiles were held accountable for the murder of Christ.

Their bold declaration for salvation was faith followed by repentance.

When they were challenged about their testimony, their response was that they could not but speak about Jesus even if threatened by death.

Persecution and hard times were viewed as a privilege and honor reflecting what Jesus experienced.

They neglected to evangelize throughout the world because they were comfortable remaining in Jerusalem, but the martyrdom of Stephen compelled them to scatter.

Compare this outline to the church of today. We build comfortable structures where to relax. We sing songs some of which may not even be biblical but are appealing. We rely on the printing press to instruct us how to be better Christians without the enthusiasm, without the driving force of the resurrection. In too many churches the sermons are watered down so that no one is offended. Rarely are people visited in their homes. Believers are so weak that they have to be taught how to testify.

The above paragraph is not necessarily true of all churches. However, it’s true of many churches. What is most disheartening is that few Christians are compelled to live a godly life before the population because of their lackluster conviction for the resurrection of Jesus. The good news is that things can change. Even with the conditions of the modern church being a stark contrast to the New Testament church, people who profess to know Jesus as your Savior can be empowered by God’s Holy Spirit. They can share the amazement that overwhelmed them how a man once dead now lives!

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