Every Christian can understand right priorities by studying the priorities of the early church.
When we read this passage it says that they were devoted. The tense of this word is that they were actively pursuing this in their life. It is not something that they were hoping would happen to them. They were actively looking for these things to happen in their life. Keep in mind that the early church was devoted to these things. It was a big deal in their life.
Priority I. The Apostles teaching
A. As I read of the devotion of the early church there are some things that pop out to me. The first is that they were devoted to the apostles teaching. Why weren’t they devoted to Bible Study or to the Old Testament scriptures? They seemed to focus on the Apostles teachings. I would assume that most of the people were Jewish and were fairly well schooled in the area of the Old Testament. Jesus however was something new. They focused on the Apostles teachings because they were the ones who were closest to Jesus. We learn a lot about people from the people who are close to them. That is what I believe the case is here. They were learning from those who knew the most about Jesus. This was built on the assumption that these people already know the Old Testament fairly well.
B. We live in a world that is very different from the one we are reading about. We are not a part of a world in which Scripture plays a central role. I would guess that the majority of the people in our society and even within our churches could be considered Biblically illiterate. We have bibles in our homes and all around us, but we don’t read them and we don’t study them. Yet this is one of the things that the early church was devoted to. They were committed to the study of the Bible. We have far too many distractions in our life that we find it hard to be committed to the study of the Bible.
C. Being devoted to the Bible is not something that we can say of ourselves. We might be literate when it comes to the Bible, but we are probably not devoted to the Bible. We need to be willing to push the things that are keeping us from being devoted to the Bible out of the way. Perhaps we could make those things rewards after we have made the Bible a priority. Give yourself a treat after you have spent your time in the Bible. This was something that was central to the early church. It is something which we probably say is important, but it also needs to become something that is important in practice also.
Priority II. Fellowship
A. These verses that we are looking at today are placed in an interesting position. In chapter one Jesus ascends into heaven. In the verses leading up to v. 42 Peter has preached a sermon and thousands of people chose to respond to the message that Peter gave. We are told in v. 41 that 3000 were added to their number that day. This was probably a trend that was happening at this time. This is an interesting notion when you consider that a modern idea of fellowship probably involves a few close friends. When there are 3000 being added in one day, it is hard to have a few close friends. A group like this had to generate a great deal of enthusiasm. These people were probably of the opinion that they had just discovered the greatest thing ever. They did with their relationship with Jesus Christ. It was the greatest thing to ever be discovered. There had to be an awesome amount of enthusiasm.
B. Can you imagine what it would be like to be around a group of 3000 new Christians? What would fellowship look like in a group like that? I would guess that it would look like a lot of fresh and excited Christians. They would be energetic and enthused about their faith in Christ. They would talk about their faith. They would challenge each other with the new things they were learning. They would likely talk about things they were learning and experiencing. It would be a time of excitement. I am almost certain that they were not talking about the weather. They would be talking about what God was doing in their life.
C. Fellowship was a priority in their life. This was something central in their life. It was a big part of their life. Just as these people were able to encourage and stimulate each other we can do the same. Encourage each other, love each other and
Priority III. Breaking of bread
A. There seems to be a lot of discussion of what it means here to break of bread. It seems to me that every discussion comes back to a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. It seems plain to me that this is what is meant by breaking bread. When Jesus celebrated the Lord’s supper for the first time with his disciples it was his last regular meal with them. He would leave the upper room that night to be arrested and crucified. Then after he rose to life he ate with the disciples again. As they were dining Jesus showed them the bread and said, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." At this point the disciples had no idea of what Jesus was doing or where he was headed after the meal. They did not know he would be arrested and die. So at that moment those words probably had very little meaning to them. Then Jesus acted similarly with the cup of wine. He said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” For these people every time they celebrated the Lord’s supper it was a reminder of what God had done for them and in their life.
B. Can you imagine how exciting it would be to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with 3000 new Christians. It had to be an enthusiastic time. Much like the fellowship would be exciting, this had to be a somber time as people recognized their sin that took Jesus to the cross. They also had to be celebrating because they knew that their lives would be very different without Jesus Christ. It was a genuine recognition of the forgiveness of their sins.
C. We try to achieve a balance in the church. We try to do communion often enough that we recognize what Jesus has done for us, but we also want to make sure that it is not so often that it becomes routine. We want communion to be special every time we celebrate.
Priority IV. Prayer