4 Activities of the New Testament Church
When you begin reading the book of Acts, you are introduced to a new concept/institution from the Bible: the Church. We aren't talking about a building with a sign out front; rather, we are talking about the invisible group of believers that exist throughout the world. These early believers that make up the Church establish for us what the duties and responsibilities are of this body.
The buildings that we meet in and the congregations we are a part of are the visible representation of the invisible church. So, if we want to be faithful to the cause of God's Church, then we must do what these early believers did in Acts. Here are four things they emphasized and practiced:
1) Evangelism (Acts 1:8)
It is abundantly clear that one of the main purposes of the Church is to carry the Gospel message that Jesus saves to the entire world. In fact, as Jesus prepared to depart from this world, He instructed His disciples to be His "witnesses...to the end of the earth."
Evangelism and sharing the Gospel are not optional tasks for the Church. One could safely say, if the church is not sharing the Gospel then it should hardly be called a church. Everywhere these early disciples went, they called people to believe in Jesus, repent of their sins, and serve Christ with their lives.
2) Discipleship (Acts 15:36) While evangelism was undoubtedly an important task, it wasn't the only task. According to the book of Acts, Paul and his fellow laborers would travel from city to city sharing the message of Christ and seeing people saved. However, in Acts 15:36, we are shown that they would return back to the cities where they had previously gone and see how the new believers were doing.
The Church is not merely called with only winning people to Jesus, but we are also called to be places where saints can grow in their relationship with God. This can only come through solid preaching of the word of God, serving in the body of Christ using spiritual gifts, and growing in holiness and sanctification through continual repentance and growth.
3) Fellowship (Acts 2:42b)
One of the amazing realities of being a Christian is that you are not in this fight alone. The devil would like to isolate Christians and make them feel alone, but we are not alone. This is why I have never subscribed to the idea that you can be saved and not attend church.
One of the main ideas of the Christian Life is that we belong to a visible body of believers that spurs and stimulates us on to holiness and righteousness. We just can't get that without the Church. Additionally, the church serves as a partnership where believers can draw strength from one another and correct one another in love when necessary.
4. Worship (Acts 2:47)
Simply put, man's purpose on earth is to glorify and worship God. All other purposes stand underneath this main one. God has placed us here to lift our voices and lives in praise to our great Savior. The Bible teaches us that the early church praised God continually. It was one of their main focuses.
As a part of the local church, believers have the amazing opportunity to gather together each week and corporately worship God in spirit and in truth as the Bible prescribes. To neglect this is to neglect the will of God.
True worship is about more than emotion. True worship is about come face to face with the realities of who God is, accepting who He is, and worshipping Him because of who He is. If my life is in resistance with the truth's about who God is, then I cannot worship Him.