Acts 2:46-47 “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the LORD added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (ESV)
There may be no greater example of what the church looked like in her “best” days than the description we find in Acts 2:42-47. By the time Paul writes the epistles, we see churches with flaws, strife, and challenges – much like our churches today! But in Acts 2, we see what the church could look like. There we find a simple but transformational phrase: “in their homes.” Unlocking this phrase may be the most critical thing we can do to align our churches with the work of God in a culture increasingly unlikely to wander through our doors on a Sunday morning.
If we’re not careful, though, we gloss over this simple but crucial phrase. We tend to fixate on verse 42 pondering the functions of teaching, fellowship, breaking bread, and prayer. Or perhaps we are intrigued by the idea of wonders and signs. Surely the sharing of property and meeting physical needs grabs our attention. And who can argue with the results found in verse 47? But “in their homes” is not flashy. It does not leap off the page. It can easily be missed.
Our tendency is to view the phrase through an individualistic lens. We make a personal application to our own fellowship with believers, a challenge to increased hospitality, or a nudge toward greater evangelism. The early church did not have this same lens. Everything was viewed through a communal lens. Something amazing – even supernatural – happened when the church met in homes over a meal.
And didn’t Jesus model this for us? A closer look at His life places a very high emphasis on what happens “in their homes.” Over and over we find our Lord doing some of his most powerful ministry around a table. This is not simply the recording of facts. It’s a model, a guideline, and an example of how we are called to live ourselves.
So the call on our lives is not to “do Sunday services better.” It’s a call to unlock the mystery of what happens when Jesus shows up to a meal. In a culture growing hostile to organized religion and indifferent to church attendance, perhaps a return to the practice found in the simple message of Acts 2:46-47 is exactly what our churches need and exactly what our hearts need.
Father, please open our eyes and hearts to how You may want to transform our homes into places where You add to our number day by day those who are being saved. Do this for Your glory and not for our own. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.