Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for June 16

Here’s the Explore the Bible Sunday School lesson commentary for June 16, written by Mark Rathel, professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida.

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for June 16

UNITED

Acts 2:41–47

In the early chapters of Acts, Luke shares several vignettes of the early Church. The vignettes not only describe the nature and growth of the church in Jerusalem, but they also describe the nature, purpose and mission of the Church. Acts 2 describes a united Church.

Discipled (41–42)

Luke described the nature of the Church that was a result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Acts contains five short sketches of the growth of the Church (2:41–47; 4:32–35; 5:12–16; 9:31 and 12:24). God intended the Church to grow. Unfortunately, many churches in America are in decline.

The basis of the early Church’s growth was the proclamation that was made in Acts 2:38–40. The early Church not only proclaimed the gospel; they discipled the converts.

The first act of discipleship is baptism. Notice the Church’s activities after baptism — devotion to the teachings of the apostles, fellowship among believers, prayer and observing the breaking of bread.

The breaking of bread may describe common meals or may be a reference to the Lord’s Supper. However, if the reference is to the Lord’s Supper, it seems strange that Luke does not mention the drinking from the cup.

How can mature Christians and the Church help new believers to grow in their spiritual lives? What is your church doing to help new believers grow in the crucial early days of being a Christian?

Unified (43–45)

The early believers were filled with awe — literally “fear,” as in the fear of the Lord. Further, God performed many signs and wonders through the apostles. Acts describes believers sharing life together. The Church in Acts was willing to share to meet the physical needs of other believers.

They experienced life as a community. Some sold possessions and property to meet the needs of struggling Christians.

Nowhere else in the New Testament does the Bible describe Christians divesting themselves of possessions to help others. Selling and divesting property was a decision of individuals rather than an expectation of discipleship. How can churches — particularly larger churches — minister to their members in today’s culture?

In community (46–47)

The early believers shared life together. They continued to worship in the temple, albeit not through the sacrifice of animals. The sharing of meals (bread) from house to house demonstrated the unity within the community. Most likely, “breaking bread” described fellowship meals as well as the Lord’s Supper.

Luke described the community spirit as one of sharing meals with joyful and sincere (or generous) hearts. The Lord Jesus Christ uses the reality of community within the Church to grow it both numerically and spiritually.

The early Church was a learning church dedicated to the apostle’s teaching, a loving church meeting needs within the fellowship of the church, a worshiping church and a praying church.

How does your church compare to the description of the church in our passage? How can your church minister to its own members in today’s culture? How can the culture of a church impact that church’s ability to share Jesus in the community? What are signs of a church experiencing the community’s favor as described in Verse 47?


By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida

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