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When Sunday is just one day out of the week

Posted by on May 10, 2011 in community, fellowship, gathering | 15 comments

When Sunday is just one day out of the week

As I’ve mentioned previously, our church is currently studying Acts together. Last Sunday, we worked our way through most of Acts 2. Next Sunday, we’re planning to finish that chapter.

Of course, Acts 2 includes this amazing summary of the new life that those first believers shared in Christ:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 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. (Acts 2:42-47 ESV)

Did you notice that twice Luke writes “day by day”? And, beyond that phrase, notice the number of descriptions that require close and constant interaction: “they devoted themselves” (literally, “they kept on being faithful to…”), “were together,” “had all things in common,” etc.

These early disciples did not see each other on Sunday and then live the rest of the week separated from one another. They were intimately connected with one another’s lives – right away! This does not necessarily mean that they gave up everything else in their lives. It means that they included one another in every aspect of their lives.

It is so much different today. Today, if Christians see each other in the crowd on Sunday, then that’s enough. If we also see each other on Wednesday night, then we call it a close relationship. If we grab a plate and scarf down our food quickly before prayer meeting, then we call it fellowship.

But, in our neighborhoods? In our work places? In our schools? At the park? No. We don’t hang out with one another in those places… only in the church building for church sanctioned programs.

The focus on Sunday (and the church building and the church program and church leadership) is killing the church.

But, when Sunday becomes just another day out of the week, and we learn to actually share our lives with one another throughout the week, wherever we are, and whatever we’re doing, we will see new life – the life of Christ through the Spirit – coursing through the church again. Why? Because when we fellowship (actually fellowship) with one another, we are truly fellowshiping with God the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)

(No, this post is not about honoring one day above others – which would have been a reference to Saturday, the Sabbath. In the early church, even those believers who honored the Sabbath above other days ALSO shared their lives with one another often during the week, not just on that one day.)


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 5-10-2011

    Just curious, how did you guys address that they attended temple together?

  2. 5-10-2011


    We haven’t talked about this particular passage yet. But, since they were all Jews, it seems normal that they would continue in one mind while in the temple.


  3. 5-10-2011

    But, and I am just thinking out loud here, why even go to the temple?

  4. 5-10-2011


    Why would they not go to the temple? There were many activities in the temple besides sacrifices. This was where most of their neighbors could be found from time to time. It was a great opportunity to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Then they could share their meals together in their own homes.


  5. 5-10-2011

    I understand that and I recognize the opportunity for proclaiming the gospel would be there, and that is obviously what got them kicked out of the temple, but did they still see themselves as Jews in the religious and liturgical sense? And if so, what implications does that have for reading and interpreting the New Testament Epistles for Christians today?

  6. 5-10-2011


    Sorry, but I don’t see any implications for reading and interpreting the NT. Christians always went to places where they would find others who were seeking God or seeking the truth. In Jerusalem, they went to the temple. Paul went to synagogues or the Areopagus. As Paul told the elders in Ephesus, he proclaimed the gospel in public and from house to house. If anything, this tells us to go wherever we find people who might be interested in our message.


  7. 5-10-2011

    But you didn’t answer my question. Did they still see themselves as Jews in the religious and liturgical sense? The temple was the religious center of Judaism and the location of liturgical action.

  8. 5-10-2011


    Actually, the temple was the center of both religious and social activities for the Jews. I do not think those early Christians continued the religious activities associated with the temple.


  9. 5-10-2011

    Was there a dichotomy of social and religious aspects of life amongst the Jews of first century Palestine? This is why I ask did they see themselves as Jews?

  10. 5-10-2011


    They remained Jews (ethnically) by birth, but they did not continue in the sacrificial and liturgical system of Judaism. I always thought the New Testament was clear about that last part? In Christ, their relationship to God, their relationship to other Christians (Jews or otherwise), and their relationship to nonChristians all changed.


  11. 5-10-2011

    Sacrificial actions, I agree. Liturgical actions, it would appear that the early Christians retained some of the practices.

  12. 5-10-2011


    Which ones, and how are you defining liturgical actions?


  13. 5-10-2011

    Mainly prayer and teaching. Of course, the Temple was ultimately a place of sacrifice to God, and with the death and resurrection of Jesus, animal sacrifices were no longer necessary. It would appear that the early Christians maintained the cycle of prayer and study of the scriptures which was a part of the liturgical action in the Temple, but they saw the scriptures as fulfilled in the Lord and proclaimed this as such in the Temple in a similar way that the Lord applied the scriptures to Himself while he taught the disciples on the road to Emmaus. However, when the time for animal sacrifice came, they left because it was meaningless in view of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.

  14. 5-10-2011


    Yes, many of those activities continues. Though, like you said, the reason for and understanding of the activities completely changed.


  15. 5-10-2011

    Thanks, Alan. As always, it has been a pleasure.