Dear RCF Sisters and Brothers,
The Nicene Creed includes the statement, “I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.” The word “apostolic” refers to the fact that the Christian faith is not only founded upon the life and ministry of Jesus, but that it is also built upon the ministries and message of the twelve Apostles. It is evident from our Sunday morning discussion Bible studies that this new phase of redemptive history begun at Pentecost was placed by God squarely upon their shoulders. Peter was the primary spokesman but all twelve healed, preached, and taught. Their healings drew people to the new Christian faith and their teachings grew people in the new Christian faith.
Additionally, they became the central point of benevolence within the new community in both receiving and distributing goods, food, and funds to needy believers. The central venue for their activities was the Jewish Temple and the target audience seemed to be exclusively the Jews. They were unafraid of the Jewish leadership which had opposed and orchestrated Jesus’ execution only months before. They had a seeming disinterest in the Roman occupiers and the politics of the day.
The twelve apostles were the God ordained means to publicly proclaim the facts of Jesus’ ministry, miracles, and message. They testified as witnesses to His death, resurrection, and ascension. Through the preparation of Jesus and power of the Holy Spirit they linked the Old Testament Scriptures to the events which took place in Jerusalem months before. They promised to any who would believe in Jesus as Messiah that by His crucifixion their sins would be forgiven.
They shouldered a lot during these early months. It was now time for them to focus on what was most important for the health and expansion of the new community of Jesus followers. Others needed to take some of the responsibility to fulfil the mission Jesus had given them to take the Gospel “to the remotest part of the earth.” In today’s text God begins to set them apart from others so they may focus upon their unique role, and others believers are seen joining in to expand and build the new community of Jesus followers. Changes were coming to this new community of believers in Jerusalem, but no one knew just how significant these changes would be.
Please note that we will be recalling Jesus’ atoning death for us by partaking of the Lord’s Supper this Sunday. Please prepare your hearts as well as bread and juice for this remembrance.
Join us this Sunday morning as we continue in the theme To The Remotest Part of the Earth, and our Discussion Bible Study in the History of the Early Church. Please prepare by reading the entirety of Acts 5:1 – 6:7. This week’s title is “God Elevates His Purity and His Principals – Part 2”.
Attached is an outline of the text we will be focussing upon this Sunday morning. Please print it ahead of time, as it will help you take part in the discussion.
Here is the Table Discussion Question for Sunday:
The practical sharing and support among believers in the earliest months of the new community of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem was extraordinary.
Should that be normative for all believers in all times and places, including among us today? Why or why not?
In this series we have already discussed the following texts and topics:
The New Era Begins: Acts 1:12-2:21
Who is to Blame for Good Friday?: Acts 2:22-23
The New Community Begins: Acts 2:24-47
The First Official Pushback Is Pushed Back: Acts 3
The First Official Pushback Is Pushed back – Part 2: Acts 4
God Elevates His Purity and His Principals: Acts 5:1-11
We hope that you will join us online this Sunday morning!
We love you all!
Jim and Jenny
Acts of the Apostles, Part 6 – Outline (PDF)