Together in Christ: 'Practical Spiritual Devotion' — Acts 2:42

Thursday, August 8, 2024

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
— Acts 2:42 NLT

Key Thought

I have been blessed to work with church planters in India, Africa, and Singapore and church leaders in the United States. I also encourage leaders there because of long-lasting friendships in Thailand, Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Brazil, and Peru. One question these church leaders sometimes ask is, "What do we need to do to have a real, Jesus-honoring church service?" The words they use may be slightly different, but the intent of their question is the same. They want to know what goes into a genuine worship experience that honors Jesus.

I believe part of the confusion arises because much of the Western church's worship sometimes seems more focused on entertainment than discipleship, excitement more than fellowship, powerful presentation rather than a move of the Holy Spirit, and emotion more than encouragement. I love powerful, passionate, and exciting worship involving strong preaching and great singing, too. But what about the millions of people who don't have access to this kind of worship experience? And, when I look at the kind of weak Christians many of these "powerful worship experiences" are producing, I am convicted that something is deeply lacking in our modern version of worship.

Thankfully, Luke uses the book of Acts to help us re-calibrate our goals for the times we come together as God's people in worship. Whether in this summary passage or other places throughout the book of Acts, we find these four things consistently present:

  1. The apostles' teaching, especially their teaching about Jesus.
  2. Genuine fellowship means sharing our lives, needs, love, and time.
  3. The breaking bread in meals and the Lord's Supper.
  4. Fervently offered prayers.

How do our worship experiences compare to those in the book of Acts? Why do you think we have routinely left out some of these four and added a few things of our own? How are our gathering of strangers for an experience different from lives shared in fellowship, love, and meals that we see in the early church? What can we do to ensure these four early church practices are present in the body of believers where we choose to involve our lives?

Today's Prayer

Father, thank You for the book of Acts and the vibrant faith of the early disciples. Thank you for Luke's summary of the four essential elements of genuine fellowship and worship. Convict, move, and use me to ensure that the life of faith I share is authentic to what You want, what honors Jesus, and releases the power of Your Spirit into us so we can be the presence of Jesus to our community. I pray this in Jesus' name and glorify His loving sacrifice for me. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Acts 2:36-47
  • 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 2:42 NLT — All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.