Based on what Luke writes about the early church culture, I think we can determine a lot about their values and priorities. I imagine myself interviewing peter and asking him questions about discipleship: Peter describe what’s going on in your community. What do you do on a daily basis? What does fellowship look like to you? Tell me some stories about your community? What does it look like for someone to be discipled? What is the process for discipleship that you have?
Understanding the early church discipleship culture can help us understand how to pray for our own ministries.
Let’s look at this culture a bit deeper:
a) I’m going to list a few words that I believe describes the culture
b) Some of the scriptural evidence of these cultural elements
c) challenging question to inspect our own personal culture of discipleship
Just the fact that they are asking this question: “Brother’s what shall we do?”is evidence of hunger
Are you asking questions regularly to God and your church community?
Selling their possessions (real estate and land)and belongings (personal property). This wasn’t like “I gave my old shirts to Goodwill” This is sacrificial giving.
Meeting day by day in their homes. (hospitable)
What can you sell and give away?
It says they met “Day by day attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes."
This was not a “come if it’s convenient” culture.This wasn’t even a concern because people were so hungry for discipleship they showed up daily to learn.
Distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
Does anyone among you have a need? Make that need known and let’s trust God to provide through the generosity of the church. Not giving the Goodwill leftovers.
Signs and wonders through the apostles
And all who believed were together and had all things in common
devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship
They take words to heart and devote themselves to these words by the power of the Spirit.
9. In awe
Impacted by the wonders that were being performed. Which implys that the wonders were real. But also that people were sensitive enough at least to recognize them as awe-inspiring.
11. Favor with all the people (kindness) and they were praising god! You don’t have to stop praising God to have favor. But sometimes you will be persecuted. Just leave the result up to God and keep praising him boldly and be nice in the process.
(An Exegetical Summary of Acts 2:47
‘they were liked by all the people’ [NCV], ‘were well liked by all the people’)
The Lord added to their number (partnership.) They meet day by day and the Lord adds to their number day by day. This verbiage shows a connection between the two.
14. Attending (The attending ones) To devote oneself to, to keep on, to persist in.
(English Standard Version Chapter 2
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
An Exegetical Summary of Acts 1–14 2:46
This verb means to continue to do something with intense effort, with the possible implication of doing so despite difficulty)
15. Ate food with (gladness, grateful Hearts) - Joy
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains 25.132 ἀγαλλίασις, εως
a state of intensive joy and gladness, often implying verbal expression and body movement (for example, jumping, leaping, dancing)—‘to be extremely joyful, to rejoice greatly, extreme gladness.’
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains 88.55 ἀφελότης, ητος
humility associated with simplicity of life—‘humility, humbleness, simplicity.’
As opposed to going to starbucks and demanding 162º coffee.