x342.......They Broke Bread together

41* Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42* ¶ And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43* And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44* And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46* And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47* Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2: 41-47)

The church that followed the day of Pentecost was certainly the most obedient church that the world has ever seen, and they had the greatest results that any church has ever had. In one day 3,000 people were saved, and the Lord added to the church daily--! These ought to be the type of results we should strive toward in Christianity of today. Remember that these people had the most hostile environment in which to work--they lived in the city that had just slain Jesus! They had no other support--this was the beginning of Christianity--they were the only Christians in the entire world--! Yet they knew their authority and did some incredibly bold things and I believe had an almost perfect form of obedience to God. To put it another way--this is the only example of perfect Christianity that is found in the word of God and we would not dare to compare our obedience to theirs. There are a number of things they did that certainly are examples for us to follow. They witnessed the Gospel in the streets--they manifested the gifts of the Spirit to the world--they met "daily" in the temple--but they did not build their own temple--they went to the Jews who had just killed Jesus and took their authority over their unbelief and brought many into the kingdom.

Now, there are many things we can learn from their example--and in fact much of what we do in our modern idea of church comes from their example certainly. Certainly we need praise and worship--we need anointed teaching of the Word--but this is certainly not the only things they considered "church"--and I believe we miss out almost completely on one of the most important things that these believers did.

They broke bread. Twice it is stated that they "broke bread" together every day. (verse 42 and 46) Now what is the significance of this? Most often when we read this we tend to think of the ceremonial idea of the Lords supper--and certainly they did remember the Lord as He instructed them to do in this type of breaking of bread. But this was not the only function of the breaking of bread to be sure. As the Bible says--

42* ¶ And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

It is clear that as they broke bread together they studied the apostles doctrine--(teaching) and they prayed together. And they had "fellowship" Unfortunately we have taken the word fellowship and given it another connotation--a rather social idea that this "fellowship" is more like social interaction--this is the Greek definition of fellowship--

koinonia {koy-nohn-ee'-ah} n f

----- fellowship 12, communion 4, communication 1, distribution 1, contribution 1, to communicate 1; 20

1) fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse 1a) the share which one has in anything, participation 1b) intercourse, fellowship, intimacy 1b1) the right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office) 1c) a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship

This word fellowship really means that they communicated together--they shared what they knew--they all joined together in participation in the job that the Lord had given them.

Fellowship is another term that has been corrupted by tradition. When we say fellowship, very often we take that as being social interaction. At the men's fellowship a bunch of guys from church get together and talk about who won the ball game. At the women's fellowship the ladies get together and pray and gossip (oops!). The word "fellowship" as we can see means communication--on an equal level--that is to say there really is no leader in fellowship--just an agreement in the Lord and an equality of Spirit--and the opportunity to share what we all know in the Lord and to make plans together to do the work that the Lord has given us to do in our community. This is certainly what the early church did in their fellowship--since they had the results of "adding to the church daily those who were being saved"

We want to stress the following idea. In the church as we know it today--we certainly have praise and worship and prayer together--but it is always under the control of leadership. WE need to see clearly that the early new covenant church did not have leaders that "exercised authority" over the church as we so commonly beleive--but rather was lead individually and corporately by the Holy Spirit. As the Bible says quite plainly--Christ is the Head of the church--AND--the Head of every man. This certainly should be the highest goal of the church today and in the Bible, this is our example--and we must see the wonderful results that they had.

We certainly need leaders, we need to gather together and worship God and have teaching. But we are sorely lacking the kind of "breaking of bread" that the early church had. WE are definitely missing the kind of Christian "fellowship" that they participated in. These things were not ceremonies. Breaking bread was not the "ceremony" of the Lords' supper (although they certainly did this remembrance--there was much more to "breaking bread" than simply observing the Lords supper). We definitely need to be able to listen to all the voices that the Lord has put in our churches---the Bible clearly says that every member of the body of Christ needs one another--and it is not to be ruled by one part. (see 1cor 12, Romans12--Eph 4) If we broke bread together on a regular basis and had fellowship with intent of making plans to "conquer" our communities with Gods love--perhaps we would see the same result the early church had of being added to daily.

The Bible describes the glorious church as ministry, in every part of the body, on a common level, flowing in a unity that is not of man but of the Spirit.

We should try it some time!