The Church Gathered Together

Two Men Praying

Togetherness is a characteristic seen in the Lord’s church throughout the book of Acts. Let us briefly consider the examples of the church gathering together and see what lessons we can learn.

Together on the Day of Pentecost

And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1).

The day of Pentecost was the day when the church of Christ would be established. It began at a time when the disciples were together. This togetherness will be a theme for the church throughout the book of Acts.

Together and Had All Things in Common

And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need” (Acts 2:44-45).

It is important to note that this was an exceptional circumstance. Jews had come from all over the known world to Jerusalem for Pentecost (Acts 2:9-11). Many obeyed the gospel (Acts 2:41, 47) and continued in Jerusalem. As they stayed longer than they originally planned, naturally a need arose. So some sold property to help their brethren (Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35). Though this was a unique case, the principle still applies to us. We should be eager to help our brethren in need. Paul wrote, “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:10).

Together from House to House

Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart” (Acts 2:46).

The “breaking of bread” in this verse is not the Lord’s Supper – that was mentioned earlier (Acts 2:42). This refers to the sharing of meals. The regular assembly of the saints is important (Hebrews 10:25), but other gatherings are as well (Hebrews 3:13). Breaking off social interaction is meant to lead the erring brother to repent (1 Corinthians 5:5, 11; 2 Thessalonians 3:14). It is hard for this to be effective when there is no social interaction to begin with.

Together and Spoke with Boldness

And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

Again, circumstances are a little different today. We no longer have miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). But togetherness and a common purpose led to boldness – the same will happen today. Standing up for the truth will invite persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Standing together will help us in our cause because there is strength in numbers. Solomon made this point: “And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

Together and Praying

And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying” (Acts 12:12).

This was a time of persecution under King Herod. James had already been put to death (Acts 12:2). Peter had been arrested and was to be killed as well (Acts 12:3-4) before being miraculously delivered (Acts 12:6-10). Because of the situation, the church gathered together to pray (Acts 12:5, 12). This showed that they were putting their trust in God (cf. Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Pet. 5:7). They could have prayed individually and privately; but for them, togetherness at this time was important.

Together in Supporting Evangelism

From there they sailed to Antioch, from which they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had accomplished. When they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:26-27).

The church in Antioch had sent out Paul and Barnabas to preach (Acts 13:2-3). This meant that they supported them in the work. When Paul and Barnabas returned, they gave a report about how the work went. Evangelism is the work of the church as it is “the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). It is important for the church to know the good that is being done. When churches support gospel preachers, we all have fellowship together in the work of evangelism (3 John 8).

Together to Receive Instruction

So when they were sent away, they went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message” (Acts 15:30-32).

When the church came together, they were taught the words of the apostles (Acts 15:30, 22-23) and prophets (Acts 15:32). While we do not have apostles and prophets alive today, we have their word in the Scriptures. We are to continue in the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42). In order to do this, preaching and teaching must be done. Paul told Timothy, “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me” (2 Timothy 1:13). He was to take these words and teach them to others (2 Timothy 2:2). This must also be done today.

Together to Break Bread

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight” (Acts 20:7).

Breaking bread here refers to partaking of the Lord’s Supper. This is an important memorial to help us remember Christ’s death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). This practice is limited to the assembly (1 Corinthians 11:33); therefore, we must assemble to obey this command. This assembly is to be a priority. Paul was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem (Acts 20:16), yet he stayed in Troas seven days so that he would be sure he was able to assemble with a congregation and partake of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:6).

Conclusion

There are many things that are important for us to do as individuals in our service to God. But we must not neglect what we are to do together. Both our individual and collective service to God is important. We should strive to improve our service to God in both areas.


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