During the previous two thousand years since the Lord’s resurrection and ascension a large number of churches have been founded. Among them, there is a church that performed its ministry in the most proper way in accordance with the will of the Lord; it was the Early Church established by Jesus’ disciples and apostles whom Jesus Himself had taught. Even though it was oppressed with harsh persecution, the Early Church exploded with revival and laid the foundation to evangelize the whole world as well as all Judea and Samaria. Even today, if there are churches like the Early Church, God works with them and signs and wonders are unfolded greatly in them. In this lesson, we will look into the characteristics of the Early Church.
1. Many signs and wonders are unfolded
Acts 2:43 reads, “Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.” Here, ‘signs’ refer to things that are impossible to achieve by human power but that can be achieved solely by the power of God the Almighty. ‘Wonders’ are works that occur through the control of natural phenomena.
For instance, bringing down rain showers in the midst of a long-lasting drought, changing the course of typhoons and hurricanes, and even causing them to dissipate are referred to as ‘wonders’. Reviving the dead; causing the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk and jump are called ‘signs’. These are the works that bring about the occurrence of something in reality that is impossible for men to accomplish.
Such works are achieved only by the power of the almighty God. Therefore, when someone manifests signs and wonders it is demonstration of the living God to men. By witnessing such evidences of the living God, even unbelievers and men with little faith cannot help but admit the existence of God and grow in their faith.
Today, science and knowledge have advanced unprecedentedly, and sin and lawlessness prevail. To allow for people to possess faith the manifestation of these signs and wonders are essential. That is why Jesus said in John 4:48, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.”
Then, how could so many signs and wonders occur in the Early Church? It is because the members were living in fullness of the Spirit all the time and they tried to dwell in the teachings of the Lord. That is how the works of the Spirit so greatly exploded in the church. Additionally, it was the apostles themselves who ministered to the church.
‘Apostles’ are ones who have no intent of their own but just obey their master completely according to his will with all their hearts. Thus, the Lord’s apostles are the ones who have achieved the heart of the Lord, become sanctified, and followed completely the will of God just as the Lord did. People like this gain God’s love and are guaranteed in what they say and do so they will receive strength from above and even manifest the power of God.
The Early Church members grew up in faith as they saw the powerful works of God, and even laymen members, not pastors, like Deacons Stephen and Philip manifested the power of God. They gave glory to God and preached about the Spirit’s works. As a result, the church experienced constant revival.
1 Corinthians 4:20 says, “For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.” The power is given to those who have cast away every form of evil, become sanctified, and accomplished the heart of Lord. I hope you will also achieve such a sanctified heart and receive the power to manifest signs and wonders.
2. They held everything in common and shared their property and possessions amongst them
Acts 2:44-45 says, “And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.” It shows how much spiritual love they shared with one another.
Believers are our brothers and sisters who were bought with the price of the Lord’s blood. The Early Church members believed it, so they practiced the Lord’s love in deed and truth without thinking of their personal ownership of things. There were members who had witnessed the resurrected Lord in person. They were full of hope for Heaven and they did not have any desire to pile up their possession on the earth. They sold what they had, helped the poor, and had all things in common with other members.
Today, Mammonism (greed in the pursuit of wealth and riches) and egotism are rampant. It is very difficult to find believers like the Early Church members. But if you really love God and love your brothers and sisters as yourselves, it is not hard to become like them. By doing so, you can build a sense of solidarity as a spiritual family and easily get rid of greed for material things. You have no need to be reminded that if you love your neighbors as yourselves and the aroma of the Christ comes out from you, many people will return to the Lord’s arms by seeing your deeds.
The Early Church members sold their property and possessions and shared them with others. The property and possessions were not just limited to material things. But also it means that they shared their hearts with one another. They did not persistently assert themselves but they respected others’ views and embraced them. So, the church did not have any discord or dissension. The same applies to our daily lives. Only when we sacrifice ourselves, care about others’ situations, serve one another, and make peace can we become spiritually beautiful churches.
3. Day by day they continue to gather with one mind in the temple
Acts 2:46 reads, “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.” Here, ‘bread’ spiritually refers to the Word of God. Therefore, ‘breaking bread’ denotes reading, listening to, and learning the Word of God, and making it the spiritual bread of our spirits.
The Early Church members diligently learned the Word of God from the apostles. They watched and prayed to practice it. They also continued to assemble together daily in the temple. By praying fervently in the Temple every day, they were strengthened in prayer and became able to live in the Word of God. Moreover, they both received blessing on the earth and piled up rewards in Heaven by evangelizing people and working faithfully.
Today, many churches forsook their assembling. Some of them do not offer up Early Dawn Services. However, churches should come together and devote themselves to praying as recorded in Hebrews 10:24-25, saying, “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Church members must dedicate themselves to gathering and the fire of prayer should be always burning in the church. Only then can the church be a church where the Spirit works grace and the truth overflow all the time.
4. They praised god and had favor with all the people so the lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved
Acts 2:47 reads, “Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” They praised God, which indicates that they always rejoiced and gave thanks in their Christian lives. They were filled with hope for Heaven and praised God with joy and thankfulness. So, they could emit the fragrance of the Christ and be praised by others around them. God sent many souls to them.
When the fragrance of the Christ comes out from believers, people say, “They are real Christians. I want to be a Christian following them.” Through this, God will receive glory and lead many souls to the church. When churches act in the will of God like this God will be pleased with it and bless them with great revival.
The Early Church members believed the Lord and loved God above all. As written in 1 John 5:3, reading, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome,” they endeavor to keep God’s commandments. If you love God more than anything else, God will also love you.
If churches are loved by God they can manifest signs and wonders and guide many people to the way of salvation like the Early Church members did. Believers can receive answers in any situation or condition; souls will prosper; good health, financial stability, and blessings of family can be received. I hope you will gather together in church with one heart, pray fervently, and give out the fragrance of the Christ everywhere you may go just like the Early Church members did. By pleasing God in this way you will receive power to preach the gospel in Jerusalem, Samaria and all Judea, even to the remotest part of the earth.