The original church – the first true church – was born on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The original 120 disciples of Christ met on that day in Jerusalem and were empowered with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They began speaking in various languages and a crowd gathered and were bewildered because each one was hearing the disciples speaking in their own language or dialect. So the disciples were speaking in all of the languages of the surrounding people in Jerusalem that day.
The people were amazed and perplexed as they couldn’t understand how this was happening and what it could mean. On that day 3,000 souls were added to the body of believers (the church). The body of believers continually and faithfully devoted themselves to the instruction of the apostles, to fellowship, to eating meals together and to prayer.
The Word goes on to say that all of those who had believed in Christ were together and their possessions belonged to the group as a whole. The group began selling their property and possessions and were sharing the proceeds with all men, as anyone had need.
They did this every day and the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were being saved.
What this means is that the church was a community of all believers – even as the church expanded to other nations, they were still all one body. Scripture defines “church” in three ways. The universal church (sometimes written with a capital C) consists of all believers in all locations who believe in Christ. The second way the church is defined is when referring to local churches or congregations – but all are a part of the universal Church. Lastly, the church is defined as all congregations in a specific city or area (IE the church at Rome).
Again, the body of believers was scattered in all locations across the world, but they were still one church. I want to look at v. 45 that is the key to how they lead others to Christ every single day. It says they took the proceeds of all their possessions that were sold and shared the proceeds – gave the money – to all men who were in need. This is so important.
Continuing in v. 46-47 it says they met daily in one area and continued with one mind, breaking bread, eating meals together in private homes with joy and generous hearts, praising God continually, and having favor with all the people.
They had favor with the people because they loved and helped the people daily, which lead people to Christ and grew their numbers of those being saved every single day. This right here was the original church. This right here is what the Church is supposed to be. One body. Like minds. Fellowshipping and eating together. Having joy and generous hearts and praising God all of the time, and giving to those in need – tangibly helping them – and leading them to the love of Christ.
Today we live in a world full of division and separation. The message we should take from the original church is that we are better together – and that as one body we can do so much more for the world than we can possibly do broken.
As one of my favorite supervisors used to say, “teamwork makes the dream work.” We are the Church, one universal Church, one body. And our goal is to love God, love one another, and to help and better the lives of those in need in order to share God’s love and lead others to it.
– Pastor Sarah Grace