Have you ever heard of the principle of causality? You may know it better as the principle of cause and effect, the idea that one event or one action is the direct result of another. If you were to throw a bowling ball down a lane at a bowling alley, some or all of the pins will fall (unless of course, you throw a gutter ball!). In this simple example, the action of the pins falling is the direct result of the action of your throwing the ball. Throwing the ball is the cause, the pins falling is the effect. In Acts 2:42-47, the early church gives us a wonderful example of the power of cause and effect when it comes to a group of believers doing exactly what the church is called to do, make disciples.
Acts 2:42 tells us that the believers in the early church were continually devoting themselves as a community to the teaching of the apostles (the Gospel), to being in fellowship with each other, to the breaking of bread, and to praying together. The next several verses give us a beautiful picture of what that meant, what that looked like in action. Verse 43 tells us that all of the believers felt a sense of awe, or fear, and that the apostles performed many miracles, signs, and wonders. This was not fear as we may think of it. As the people saw what God was doing through the apostles, they were filled with a deep sense of respect, of reverence for God. Verses 43 through 45 tell us that the believers in the early church experienced a great sense of community. They were a community of believers who shared all that they had, caring for those who were in need.
Acts 2:46 tells us that, as a community, they worshiped together in the Temple and they met in small groups in each others’ homes, joyfully breaking bread together and praising God together. How often did they do so? In the NASB, Acts 2:42 tells us that they did so “day by day.” Not just on Sundays. Not just once or twice a week. They did these things every day of their lives. They met on a daily basis, they cared for each other on a daily basis, and they studied God’s Word on a daily basis. Their faith was shown in the way they lived their lives every single day. They didn’t just make Sunday the day that they practiced their faith. They did so every day.
So, what was the result of the actions of the early church believers, of these communities of fellow followers of Jesus Christ? If the actions of the early church believers were the cause, what was the effect? Acts 2:47b (NASB) gives us the answer:
And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
The effect of the way in which the early church did life together, the effect of the way in which they showed their faith to those in the world around them, resulted in lives being saved. People came to know Christ because of the way in which those early church believers lived their lives. And this did not happen only during an altar call on Sundays; it happened “day by day.” The early church was a community of changed lives whose example changed the lives of those around them. What an amazing example for the church today. May we, as the body of Christ today, always seek to be like the early church, to be a community of people whose faith in action is the cause of souls being saved each and every day.