#DailyDevotion In Order To Be The Church You Must Do The Church Stuff
Acts 242They were loyal to what the apostles taught in their fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in the prayers. 43Awe came on everyone — the apostles were doing many wonders and miracles.
In our creeds we confess we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. Here we see the beginning of that. The church is catholic, it comes for the Greek kata and holos, according to the whole, that is what the church has always done and taught everywhere. We can turn to the scriptures and to the early church fathers’ writings to see what was done and taught everywhere and in all places. If you are teaching and doing something new, you are probably not doing or teaching correctly.
Apostolic, that is based on the apostles’ teaching. Despite the many denominations, there are not many churches but only one holy catholic apostolic church. Christ body is one. The Faith is one. Differences are not good. They divide and lead people astray. Paul writes in Eph. 220“You are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and Christ Jesus Himself is the Cornerstone.” The teachings of the church, the doctrine, is that of the apostles themselves. They laid down the foundation of the church. The early Christians, as Luke writes, were loyal to what the apostles taught. The church had the Old Testament to teach Jesus and they had the witness of the apostles whom Jesus taught which showed how Jesus fulfilled everything written about him in the Old Testament. The apostles also handed down the new rites, rituals, the new covenant, the sacraments, the prayers which Jesus had taught them to do during his ministry and before his ascension. These things the church continues to do unto this day.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit inspired some of the apostles to write things down as a permanent record. He had associates of the apostles like Luke and Mark to write down the teachings of the apostles so we would have a witness to the sure foundation of the apostolic teaching. We may judge all teachings of all teachers against the witness of the apostolic band given to us in the Scriptures. If teacher and scripture disagree, the teacher is wrong and should correct himself. If the teacher and scripture agree, you should listen to that teacher.
So we see, despite crowds of what I hope of good intentioned Christians, the Church is meant to gather together. The church doesn’t happen out there. You are not the church by yourself, though your body is certainly the temple of God, a living stone in the temple of God. No, the word church, in Greek ecceslia, like the Jewish synagogue, means to gather together. The essence of the church is when her members gather together to fellowship.
We see from this verse the very essence of what it means to be Church. We gather together in fellowship around the apostles teaching. You’re not gathered around the apostles teaching, you are not being and doing Church. They fellowshipped in the breaking of bread, that is, they celebrated the Lord’s Supper together. That is what the Church normally is supposed to be doing when it is being and doing Church. When they gathered together they had the prayers. Yes there were set prayers which we have a witness of in the earliest of the early Church’s writings, the themes being based on the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. Be the Church. Do these things.
Heavenly Father, you gather together your holy people around the word, the sacraments and the prayers of your people. Continually gather us together now in purity so we may be gathered together as the body of Christ on the Last Day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.