Today is the beginning of a new series entitled “Blogging Through Acts.” As I study through the Book of Acts, periodically I will expound on a theme found there.
In these last days, we are witnessing the formation of unbiblical and unholy alliances as professing Christians are willing to work with any group naming the name of Christ (ex. Roman Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness) in spiritual enterprises. But don’t let the counterfeit ecumenical unity movement fool you into thinking that there isn’t a true unity among genuine followers of Christ.
While the disciples were waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit soon after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, Luke tells us in Acts chapter 1 that they were all together “with one accord” (v. 14). (It is one of Luke’s major themes. In fact, he describes the early believers as such seven times in the Book of Acts!) All of the Apostles, with their various backgrounds, personalities, and political views-along with the rest of Jesus’ followers-finally began to obey His command to “love one another” (John 13:34). Jesus’ prayer that his followers be one as He and the Father are One (John 17:11, 20-23) became a reality. At this point, the twelve no longer argued about who was the greatest, as they did on multiple occasions, including the night Jesus was betrayed (Luke 22:24). Jesus’ mother and brothers, who were present with the disciples at this time, didn’t seek any prominent roles or special recognition, as they could have potentially claimed as members of His family. What was it that brought these followers together for prayer as they waited for the promised Holy Spirit and united them as one? Their shared experience of the reality of the Risen Christ.
Chapter 2 continues in the same vein. After 3,000 people had been converted at Pentecost, verse 42 says “they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” What unified these 3,000+ souls? The Apostles’ doctrine.
Contrary to the popular modern saying “Doctrine divides, but the Spirit unites,” in Acts, we see it was doctrine that united the Believers. And that’s the way it has been throughout Church history. Christians have always been united based on beliefs that are in accordance with the Scriptures. Anyone can be nice to their neighbor, so generosity by itself is no testimony to the Gospel. It is our doctrine, however, that sets us apart as distinctively Christian. And it is this doctrine one must believe in order to be saved. We’ll see some of these truths as we go through the rest of this “Blogging Through Acts” series. (Hint: One major doctrine is in Rom. 10:9).