Characteristics of the local church

Read Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-35

  • List all the attitudes and actions of God’s people.
  • Go through each item in the list and discuss their meaning. Some are straightforward, but others may need to be discussed in depth for their meaning and relevance. For example, the word ‘devoted’ gives a sense of a binding commitment or promise, similar to a wedding vow. In particular, discuss the meaning of these terms – the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42); the ‘fellowship’ (Acts 2:42); the ‘breaking of bread’ (Acts 2:42); ‘everything in common’ (Acts 2:44) and ‘in heart and mind’ (Acts 4:32).
  • Is this what our local churches are like? If not, which characteristics are lacking and why?
  • If we were first-century people who were not followers of Jesus Christ, how might we describe this group of people who met together regularly for worship and gave things away?
  • Look at Acts 2:47, which says that the followers of Christ ‘enjoyed the favour of all the people’. What does this mean? Is that the situation for Christians today? In our local situation, which characteristics of the early church should we follow more closely in order to be the church God wants us to be?