Life-Study of Actsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 2:14-47, which records Peter’s first message to the Jews, Peter explains the economical filling of the Holy Spirit (vv. 14-21), witnesses of the Man Jesus in His work, death, resurrection, and ascension (vv. 22-36), and instructs and entreats the Spirit-moved ones (vv. 37-41). Then in 2:42-47 we have a description of the beginning of the church life. In this message we shall consider the beginning of the church life as presented in these verses.
Acts 2:42 says, “And they were continuing steadfastly in the teaching and the fellowship of the apostles, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Here we see that the first group of believers produced through the apostles’ preaching and ministering of Christ on the day of Pentecost continued steadfastly in four things: teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. Teaching is the unveiling of God’s New Testament economy concerning Christ and the church. Fellowship is the communion and communication between the believers in their communion and communication with God the Father and Christ the Son. Breaking of bread is the remembrance of the Lord in His accomplishment of God’s full redemption. Prayer is cooperation with the Lord in heaven for the carrying out of God’s New Testament economy on earth.
The first two matters, teaching and fellowship, conjoined by “and” to be one group, are of the apostles, but breaking of bread and prayers are not of the apostles. This indicates that besides the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, the believers in Christ should not have any other teaching and fellowship. In God’s New Testament economy there is only one kind of teaching revealed and recognized by God—the teaching of the apostles. Likewise, there is only one kind of fellowship which is of God and acceptable to Him—the fellowship of the apostles, which is with the Father and the Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3) and which is the unique fellowship of the unique church, the Body of Christ.
The last two matters, the breaking of bread and prayer, conjoined also by “and” to be another group, are practices of the believers’ Christian life. These practices are not related directly to God’s economy for the keeping of the oneness of the church, the Body of Christ. Hence, they are not of the apostles, who brought in God’s New Testament revelation and His fellowship among all the believers in Christ.
We have seen that the new believers continued steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles. The only proper teaching in the New Testament is the apostles’ teaching. Any teaching other than the apostles’ teaching is not scriptural or orthodox. The orthodox teaching is that of the apostles recorded in the twenty-seven books of the New Testament from Matthew through Revelation. Therefore, Paul said to Timothy, “Even as I urged you, when I was going into Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus in order that you might charge certain ones not to teach differently” (1 Tim. 1:3). To teach differently is to teach differently from the teaching of the apostles. If we have different teachings, we shall be divided into different groups. But if we have only the teaching of the apostles, we shall be one.
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