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So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
— Acts 2: 41-42 ESV
What would you say you are devoted to? Your spouse? Your family? Your job? Your hobby?
In Acts 2: 42, we see the priority list for the early church. We see the first Christians devoted themselves to obeying Jesus’ last command: “Go and make disciples!” (Matthew 28: 19).
In these two verses, we see the early church living out the mission Jesus gave them. We learn that the mission of the church is not to do good works, to be liked by the world, or to be a country club for people of faith.
Rather, we learn that the mission of the church is to make disciples through going with the gospel, baptizing new believers, and teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded.
Notice the “ed” words in verse 41. The crowd received the words of Peter. They were baptized and then they were added to the number of the church.
This is a basic guide to the beginning of the Christian life. New believers receive the Word, then they are baptized according to Jesus’ command, and then they are added to the community of a local church.
But, for so many, that is the end of their understanding of the life of faith. But, Acts 2 goes on.
The church at Pentecost committed themselves to telling others about Jesus. But they also committed to living life together.
They devoted themselves to outreach and in-reach. For the church of Acts 2, the Great Commission is not a call to simply make converts, but to make disciples.
The mission is not to simply add souls to the rolls of Heaven, but to form fully devoted followers of Jesus.
In Acts 2: 41-42, we see the early church striking the perfect balance that many churches struggle to meet.
We see a perfect balance between what churches have separated, namely evangelism and discipleship. This is part of why Christian’s gather together, to continue the mission of “teaching everything Jesus commanded” (Matthew 28: 20)
We also learn that the Great Commission can’t ultimately be done alone. As God’s people go about the Great Commission, it grows a community, the church, a family of disciples making other disciples. The Great Commission always creates a great community. The local church is central to God’s Mission because the local church is God’s mission.
501©(3)s do good work. Nonprofits serve our communities in incredible ways. But only one organization has been given the Great Commission: the local church.
In a day when church has become virtual and even voluntary for many believers, may we not forget the incredibly unique mission the local church has been given. The local church is God’s plan for His people and for the world.
May God’s people in the 21st century give ourselves to first century priorities.
Matt Shown is the pastor of Crossroads Fellowship in Cadiz, KY. Matt is a Daviess County native and is married to the love of his life, Dana.
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