Posted by: reformbama | August 8, 2011

Acts Church Emphasized Teaching Not Activities…

Quoting Martyn Lloyd-Jones . . .


In Acts 2, what did the Christians come together for? Here were these people who had come out of the world to join the group of people called disciples, and they formed the first church, but what is the Christian church for? What does she do? What does she provide? Do Christian people come together for socials, dances, raffles, dramatic performances, lectures on politics, literature, and sociology? There was nothing like that in the early church. It is not my objective to denounce these things. But I do want to show how far removed they are from the Christian church. You can get all that in the world, and you can get it very much better there. The Christian church makes a fool of herself when she attempts these things–she does them so badly. If you want activities like that, then go and get them organized professionally. But that is not the Christian church. It is a travesty. 

I do not want to defend Christendom or advocate any particular section of the church or any particular local church. I want to hold before you the pictures of the New Testament church. That is the only church I recognize. Those people did not come to the church to do things like that. And when true revival takes place, those are the first things to go; people lose interest in them. A church that can only exist by resorting to things like that is utterly different from the New Testament church.

They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine [teaching] and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers“–purely spiritual activities. And that is the pattern for the church at all times.

So let us look at this. First, doctrine. The apostles’ teaching is put first in this list–that is why we must start with it, and it is very important that we should, because today there is real opposition to what we read here. The first thing these Christians desired was further teaching from the apostles. They coveted this with the whole of their being. Before we go any farther, let us ask ourselves a simple question: Do we desire “the apostles’ doctrine”? God grant that we may.

This longing for “the apostles’ doctrine” tells us something tremendously important. It is that Christianity is not only an experience. Now I have been emphasizing that it is an experience and not merely an intellectual point of view. When men and women become Christians, they undergo the most profound change they can ever know; it is indeed a profound experience. But it is not only that, and I must emphasize this because there are other agencies in the world that can give people experiences.

How do you tell the difference between becoming a Christian and some other experience, an emotional experience or a change as the result of psychotherapy or something like that? The teaching put out by the cults can produce a change. Adherents of a cult talk about their lives being transformed. How, then, do you tell the difference between an experience that is Christian and one that is not? There is only one answer, and that is the cause of the experience. Christians experience change as the result of believing the truth about Jesus Christ. Two people may say, “I’m very happy.” They may both say, “I used to do such and such, but not any longer. I’ve been delivered from it all.” But it does not follow that they are both Christians. How, then, do we know who is? The only test, I repeat, is the source of the experience.

As we have seen, the people in Acts came together because they had had the same experience. But the thing that strikes us at once about them is that they had had the same experience because they had believed the same teaching, the same message.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” There would never have been an early church but for a particular teaching. So we are bound to emphasize that the teaching must come first because it was that which led to the conversions, the change. It was Peter’s preaching, his teaching, his doctrine, that brought these people together. They “gladly received his word” and were baptized. And we are told in verse 44, “And all that believed were together.” What did they believe? The same teaching.


From: Authentic Christianity

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