The Expository Files

If We Do What They Did

Acts 2:40-47

Here’s a simple question. From the time you are baptized until you die, what must you do? Some may think, “just wait!” There is a waiting involved, but not “just waiting” in a passive sense. We “eagerly wait,” (Phil. 3:20), and while we wait, we participate in a “work of faith” and “labor of love” that gives us “patience of hope,” (1 Thess. 1:9,10 and verse 3). So what is the answer: From the time you are baptized until you die, what must you do?

There are many answers to that, all given by God in His Word. You could begin with Matt. 1:1, and read through to Rev. 22:21 and find God’s answers. Here is one passage you will discover. It is Luke’s account of those who obeyed the gospel on the day of Pentecost. After being baptized they: “…they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine…,” (Acts 2:42).

They Continued. What begun with their initial obedience to the gospel was continued by their belief and practice of the apostles’ doctrine. Continuing was expected of those who obeyed the gospel. They didn’t just wait for something to happen, or wait passively, they continued what they had started, obedience to Christ. Barnabas went to Antioch and told new Christians to “continue with the Lord,” (Acts 11:23). Gospel preachers admonished people to “continue in the grace of God,” (Acts 13:43), and disciples Lystra, Iconium and Antioch were exhorted “to continue in the faith,” (Acts 14:22). Why begin the greatest endeavor of man’s purpose, then quit! They continued.

They Continued Steadfastly. To do something “steadfastly” is to do it with fixed purpose that becomes your consistent behavior. These early Christians determined to “follow through” with purpose of heart. This became their daily way of life; their passion; a cause they would die for. Just as they had received Christ Jesus the Lord, it was their intention to “walk in Him,” (Col. 2:6).

They Continued Steadfastly In The Apostles’ Doctrine. There is no evidence they were confused about what to do or who to turn to. No indication can be found in the record that they assembled to appoint a chairmen to hold a creed-writing session. They knew what their standard was, the teachings of the apostles of Christ! The apostles gave instruction from heaven (Jno. 16:13) as Jesus told them (Matt. 28:20). How thankful we should be, we have the literary product of the Spirit’s work through the apostles, the New Testament. We are able to “speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine,” Titus 2:1) and “abide in the doctrine of Christ,” (2 Jno. 9).

The Results of this Persistence in The Apostles’ Doctrine? “Then fear came upon every soul and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one according in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved,” (Acts 2:43-47).

If you want what they had, do what they did!! They responded to a message, confirmed as God’s truth (many wonders and signs were done through the apostles). They believed; they shared; they provided. They enjoyed “one accord,” and ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, while they were praising God and “having favor.”

How can we have this? After baptism, continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine!

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 12.2; February 2005