The Early Church Was a Learning Church
“They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42).
Some might think that for a church to be spirit empowered, all use of intellect must be abandoned: Some say, “I’m not into doctrine. I just want to love Jesus.” Yet, if you really want to know who Jesus is, and you want to grow in that love for Him so that you can intelligently worship Him, you must study doctrine. Moreover, if you want to be spiritually strong and useful, you must know the apostles’ doctrine.
The apostle Paul told Timothy, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16).
They relied upon what we find in Scripture.
Where do we find this doctrine? In the pages of Scripture: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
They were driven by a passion for the Lord.
To “continue steadfastly” speaks of a real passion. They were living in a first love relationship with Jesus and had burning hearts. This was not a casual attitude, such as one might have when joining a social club. There seemed to be a real excitement in what they did. They applied themselves to what was being taught from the Word.
There must be both anointed preaching and anointed listening.
We must listen not only with our heads, but with our hearts: “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
We must come not only to hear the Word, but we should also come with a desire to apply it. Jesus said, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24).
A Word of Warning
To hear God’s Word and not apply it will actually damage your spiritual life. Contact with holy things—if it does not convert—hardens the heart. And the light of Jesus Christ—if it does not convert the listener—plunges him into deeper darkness. As the saying goes, “The same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay.”
These four traits of a healthy church apply not only to the church as a whole, but to individual believers, as well. If you want to be a strong and effective believer, you must be a learning Christian, a loving Christian, a worshipping Christian, and an evangelistic Christian.
Jesus said, “If you abide in My Word, you are my disciples” (John 8:31).
May we desire God’s Word like a babe thirsts for milk. May we not only learn it and memorize it, but also live it and internalize it. May we be a part of His church today, turning our world upside down.