What the Early Church Didn’t Have That We Think We Need (Part I)

The early church didn’t have money.

1Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us." 5And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!" 7And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him (Acts 3:1-10).

The early church had no denominational structure, no missions organizations or cooperating programs for missions giving.  They did not have a building.  What they had was the Holy Spirit who empowered them to be witnesses for Jesus!  While I am not against these structures or these programs—or even a building—we must not think that our ministering the name of Jesus rises and falls on this.  God provided the funds (Acts 4:32-37) as He always does.  But He has already given us the Spirit of Christ!  That is sufficient!

The early church did not need theological education.

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition (Acts 4:13-14).

Peter and John caused a stir when they healed the man from Acts 3 and used that as a springboard to speak of the name of Jesus.  The authorities were not so pleased, and brought them in for questioning.  When they professed the Jesus whom they had crucified but was now risen, they were astonished.  They were ‘uneducated, common men.’  Whereas the authorities were impressed by education and status, these men possessed no credentials of note, save that they “had been with Jesus.”  The evidence of the man’s healing was right there (v. 14), so they let them go—but they would not be left alone for long.  To say you need a seminary degree or a theological education to be of use to God is contrary to what God reveals in His Word.  I would much more prefer people notice that I had been with Jesus than been to seminary.

Tomorrow, I will discuss three more things:

  1. The early church didn’t have protection from the governmental authorities (Acts 7-8, 16-28).
  2. The early church didn’t escape doctrinal controversies (Acts 15). 
  3. The early church didn’t escape internal strife and deceit (Acts 5:1-11).
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