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 09 - Principle 5 The Book of Acts Our Example
Almost every denomination and Christian movement has begun with a desire to get back to the model and example found in the Book of Acts.94 Those that are Biblically building the Church and being led of the Lord are invariably drawn back to this Apostolic example which God has preserved for us. We have heard many reasons why different Christian movements practice a specific doctrine and why they promote a certain teaching. Yet, when we carefully study the Book of Acts we find that many practices in modern evangelical churches are not found in this record of the apostolic Church.95
It can be a good practice to read through the Book of Acts noting the practices of the Church. With careful reading there are hundreds of practices we can find in the Book of Acts so we can emulate early believers. When comparing this list with the typical modern evangelical church we sadly note few similarities.
Besides obtaining theology from the Book of Acts in the Bible, we must also use all of Godís Word to avoid error of interpretation. The Book of Acts together with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John provide the foundational knowledge for discipleship and Church work, the deeper spiritual realities of which are later expounded in the Epistles. There can be dangers when getting all of our theology from the Book of Acts alone. It is important to read the Book of Acts in light of the other Books of the Bible and especially the New Testament writings, to determine all foundational principles of the Church. It can also be noted that the Church was birthed in persecution which seemingly makes the Book of Acts not palatable for those who are not living under such pressures. Yet, we should note that the Church Scripturally is shown to always be hated by the world96 and not to fit in with the fashion and ways of the world system.97 Lastly, the end times Church will clearly be marked with tremendous persecution which makes the Book of Acts a vital record for us on how to react as Godís children during such times. We must also read through the Epistles and learn of the Spirit on how Assemblies in the Lord can grow to full maturity, especially as it relates to the end times.
A Chinese underground Church leader noted: ďGod is only interested in His work, not our work. He oversees and empowers those things that originate in His heart.Ē98 Thus, ďIs it found in the Book?Ē, should be one of the main questions we ask ourselves when part of a forming fellowship. If the direction, goals, vision, means and plans of a Church are not found within the Book of Acts and Scriptures one has to ask ďIs it Godís will?Ē The early Christians did not question Godís ability to reach foreign cultures (Gentile idol worshipping peoples), rather they trusted the Lord daily to build His Church and took orders from the Spirit of God. Thus, the Church grew and many became obedient to the faith.99 Godís Word was glorified in many regions that had never heard the Good News.100
We should also be very open to Godís leading in different local areas and not prescribe one style or method of meeting to be exactly replicated. Though there are principles and commands101 that all gatherings should exactly keep the same.102 Yet there were differences in the way believers met, which one can see in the Book of Acts and Epistles. Some examples can be meetings where one brother teaches,103 meetings where all share,104 gatherings where there are prophets,105 gatherings were there are strong teachers.106 Also in some places the believers met daily in areas,107 in others they met each day for a teaching, in others prayer meetings,108 in others unbelievers were present,109 and in others they practiced the Lordís Supper.110 Thus we see a wonderful variety of meetings and we should not demand all Assemblies to meet and form in one fashion. We can rejoice with all types of gathering. Perhaps one gathering of believers has one mature brother that teaches mostly compared to another Assembly where every meeting all are encouraged to prophesy. There should be no standard especially in times of persecution. Godís Spirit will lead in many different ways. In the underground Church in China primarily one brother will teach yet many are sent out as missionaries. It would be more fruitful in many countries to see this happen then simply a meeting where all get to share something but no missionaries are sent out. Such a meeting can just end in spiritual selfishness and self-importance rather then self-denial and humility.
As we look to the example of the early Church we can be encouraged that by faith they overcame many struggles. So we should not lose heart when we desire to emulate them in word and deed. The only true way of Church growth is to depend on the same principles and truths in the Book of Acts which the early believers had. What a blessed assurance we can have, for we have sure commands and principles that the Lord has left for us in the record of Scripture, especially the Acts of the Apostles.
Being a part of the Church work that is growing is not an easy task. Even though it is Godís work it still requires time, devotion, and suffering. Yet, as we allow the Lord to build His kingdom on this earth through our lives there is great reward and joy. Individual sacrifice becomes corporate surrender to the will of God and reaps the fruit of everlasting life.
ďIf we would reform the Church, we must make use of the Holy Scriptures and especially of Acts where it is clearly to be found how things were in the beginning what is right and what is wrong, what is praiseworthy and acceptable to God and to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scriptures knows no others than those who acknowledge Christ as their Head and willingly yield themselves to be ruled by the Holy Spirit who adorns them with spiritual gifts and knowledge.Ē111
May we come back to this apostolic simplicity to trust the Lord to build His Church and look to the Book of Acts as our example.

94 Originally rendered: Acts Of The Apostles
95 We encourage every believer to read the Book of Acts afresh. To learn principles, traditions and the way this ancient Church operated under the direction of the Holy Spirit of God.
96 1 John 3:13
97 1 John 2:15-17
98 Brother Yun
99 Acts 6:7
100 Acts 13:49
101 1 Timothy 4:11, Titus 2:15
102 1 Corinthians 7:17, 1 Corinthians 14:33
103 Acts 20:9
104 1 Corinthians 14:31
105 Acts 13:1
106 Acts 18:27
107 Acts 2:46
108 Acts 12:12
109 1 Corinthians 14:24-25
110 Acts 20:7 
111 Kaspar Schwenckfeld von Ossig (1489-1561)

Learn from the Book of Acts in this free Christian ebook from Gospel Fellowships.
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Category Christian Missions
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Author Gospel Fellowships Network
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Added On 06/03/2014 
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