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November 8 Today’s Reading: Acts 2-3
“All that believed were together.”
In the New Testament, three things always characterized and identified the people of God. There were three ordinances maintained in the early Church by which believers identified themselves with one another and with Christ.
If you want to understand what the Bible teaches about any specific doctrine, you must go to the place in the Bible where that doctrine is taught and explained. Romans 6:1-11 explains the meaning of believers’ baptism. Baptism, the burial of our bodies in water by immersion, is the believer’s public, symbolic confession of faith in Christ. It is the answer of a good conscience toward God and a picture of salvation by Christ our Substitute, picturing the fulfilment of all righteousness by His obedience unto death for us (Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Matthew 3:15). Believers’ baptism is the believer’s public avowal of commitment to Christ and His people.
Many think little of church membership. Many who profess to be believers today are not identified with or committed to any local church. Whatever their reason is, they are wrong. In the New Testament, those who followed Christ, by one means or another, applied for and obtained membership in a local church (Acts 9:26; Romans16:1).
The fellowship of believers in a local church is vital to their spiritual welfare. Our spiritual growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is, in great measure, dependent upon our relationship to and fellowship with the body of Christ. Believers need the fellowship, encouragement, and strength of one another. The first sign of apostasy is usually seen in the neglect of public worship in the assembly of the saints (Hebrews 10:24-29).
The Lord’s Supper
One of the most blessed privileges we have in this world is the privilege of coming together at the Lord’s Table to celebrate redemption by eating the bread and drinking the wine that symbolize the body and blood of Christ. This is not an ordinance shrouded in mystery. It is a very simple, but very precious picture of our redemption by Christ (1 Corinthians 11:23-30). Like baptism and church membership, this ordinance is for believers only. Those who discern the Lord’s body, who realize their need of and interest in Christ as their Substitute, are worthy to receive the ordinance, worthy because we are in Christ. Those who do not trust Christ are not to intrude upon it.
How blessed are those saints of God in this world who, “continuing together with one accord…eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart!”