“WHAT DID THEY DO?” By Pastor YAU
When we try to invite people to church, especially the non-believers, the question oftentimes asked of us was: “What do you do at church?” I ask this same question myself as a pastor who supposed to know what a church should do. What are the things a church should do? What makes a church different from a community center or a social club? To answer questions like these and others regarding a church and her ministries, let us go to the Bible in search for answers. (Please read the Scripture reference above)
A CHURCH IS TO PRESENT THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION: ()
Verse 41 indicates the baptism of over 3,000 new believers who had heard, accepted the message of salvation, repented of sins and were baptized. This is the first and the utmost thing that a church should do. No church should be called a church if it doesn’t present the gospel of salvation of man by faith in Jesus Christ. Peter proclaimed the message, vv. 14-36, the people were greatly moved, (vv. 37-40) and were baptized. (v.41) That is exactly what the Lord had commanded his followers to do in Matt. 28:19) Each week, the message of salvation was delivered from the pulpit, Sunday School classes and AWANA program to children in this church.
A CHURCH IS TO TEACH THE WORD OF GOD: (2:42a)
Right after they were baptized, they were taught the teachings of the apostles who had heard from their Master the Lord Himself. That is another thing commanded by Jesus in Matt.28:20—teach them whatever He has commanded. A church should teach the Bible, the word of God, in various forms such as Sunday School, Discipleship, Small Group Bible classes and other means. In our church we also have AWANA to teach children. We also promote Bible study by providing devotional material.
A CHURCH IS TO HAVE FELLOWSHIP OF BELIEVERS. (2:42, 46)
In these 2 verses, the Bible indicates believers had time for fellowship at home with food. Fellowship of believers is always a very important part of a church from day one. God called His people into groups, large and small, we call churches. These people are to learn from each other, to love and support each other and to serve the Lord with one another.
I can’t imagine how and what needed to be done to feed 3,000 people in a church as they did in the Bible. There must be lots of “service works” to get the job done properly. It is nothing unspiritual to serve each other’s need in food and other means. God never want lone rangers in His church. We are called family of God and not stranger. (Ephesians 2:19)
A CHURCH IS TO WORSHIP AND PRAISE GOD: ()
Some people believe that early churches were meeting at homes. I know of only one, the church at the home of a rich man Philemon. In , these new believers met in the temple courts to worship in praising God. Some free-will lone-ranger type Christians do not believe in congregational worship. But that is exactly commanded by God in the Ten Commandments and demonstrated by regular attendance of Jesus and Apostle Paul in synagogues. Worship represents our reverence to God. It shows our sincere seeking of spiritual growth and closeness to Him. Worship also provides the opportunity for Christian interaction.
A CHURCH IS TO GIVE TO GOD AND PEOPLE: (-45, -37)
The verses here indicate the whole-hearted giving of the believers, in material possessions, to God through His church for the needs of the people. Many of them gave all that they had, not the tithes we talk so much in churches today. Giving symbolizes gratitude and thanksgiving to God. It also demonstrates personal sacrifice and faith in God and His provision. It also provides resources for church ministries. Give of money is an important sign of obedience and love to God.
A CHURCH IS TO REACH OUT TO THE PEOPLE: (2:47b)
When the Bible says, “They were enjoying the favor of the people, and the Lord added to their numbers daily those who were being saved,” it indicates the non-believing population. The church needs to reach out to the non-believing community to bring them to salvation. This is also commanded by the Lord in Matt. 28:19.
CONCLUSION: These are not all that the early church did. There were many more they did if we read the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let us look at the above and see if there is anything we are not doing or anything we are not doing well as a church or as individuals. May we all pray that the Lord will make us effective believers and workers to strengthen His church.