God's Requirements for the Church—Acts 2:42
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
I am so thankful that God set forth His own requirements for the church. Men, down through history, have tried to change the church's vision, curb its influence, and water down its power, but we can be thankful that God's institution of the church comes fully equipped with protection from all entities or opposition; even the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18)! So what are God's requirements for His church; the body of His Son, Jesus Christ? We will look at four of them today, merely as pillars, but there is much more that can be included under each heading.
First, Bible teaching, also called in this passage, the apostles' doctrine. Without unwavering, absolute, unapologetic Bible teaching, pragmatism will prevail and people will begin to devise their own self-centered systems of theology. Basically, they attempt to reinvent God into whatever they can explain, or whatever suits their personality. Then, they attach the word “sincere” to it and people buy its validity. It's kind of like the golf-lover who dreams of heaven as one big country club where everyone golfs forever. No it's not! That's one person's biased opinion of what it should be like based on their preferences. (Actually, it's going to be centered around the throne of God, not on some pastime that likely garnered more loyalty from that person on earth than was ascribed to God. But let's not get too far off the beaten path).
Next, fellowship is very critical to the body of Christ. To neglect this necessary, integral part of the church (Heb. 10:25) would be like a bunch of arms walking around, or heads bouncing down the road independent of a frame; in other words, a non-functioning organism. After fellowship, we see the participation in the Lord's Supper. We are instructed to do this often as believers until the Head of the Body (Jesus Christ) comes back to take us home. Finally, corporate prayer plays a huge part in our worship time as the church. Jesus even referred to His temple as a “House of Prayer” as recorded by the same author (Luke) in Luke 19:46. It must be an essential key to corporate worship! We don't need to add unnecessary requirements to the church, because I don't believe we are doing our best to live by these few. Let's resolve to obey God's template for the New Testament church and do it with excellence!