Four Pillars of an Apostolic Church

Sun am 5th April 2009 – Kobus Swart

Acts 2:41-42; Luke 24:27-30, 51-53

Over the years, the church has drifted away from New Testament principles, and people have suffered a great deal as a result of it. In this apostolic season God is bringing many such principles under our attention again. There clearly must have been a reason why the early church walked in such power and with such blessing upon their lives. Let’s look at another one of these principles.

“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Act 2:42). These can be referred to as the four pillars of an apostolic church, and it will be in that order. First the apostolic teaching, then fellowship, then the breaking of bread and then prayer. These four pillars (and in that order) are also found in the Tabernacle of Moses in the holy place or the inner court. First the golden candlestick or lamp stand representing the apostle’s doctrine, the Word. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”( Ps.119: 105) Secondly is fellowship, represented in the table of showbread. Thirdly, the breaking of bread represented at the same table. The fourth pillar is prayer, represented by the altar of incense – intercession and worship.

This order is, for example, also found in Luke 24. “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:27). Here Jesus Himself is opening up the Word about Himself. First, a living Word or living bread. Imagine Jesus explaining the Word about Himself! A proceeding word by a sent one! (Apostolic teaching/doctrine in today’s terms would be present Truth as taught by a sent one).

“But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them” (Luke 24:29). Secondly, the result of the Word He opened up created the sense of relationship and fellowship.

Thirdly, followed the breaking of bread. “When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them” (Luke 24:30). Fourthly, followed prayer: “And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God” (Luke 24:51–53).

There are many more examples of these four pillars and their order in the Bible.

Once we have seen this truth we will practice it! The Spirit of God is knocking at the door; He is always ready to come in to those who open the door for Him. Our heart’s response should be, “Lord, what does your Word say, how do we apply these principles?” Prayer does not necessarily work if other things are out of order. How many prayers have you uttered before the Lord without the desired result? James explains that some of the reasons include wrong motives “…so that you may spend it on your pleasures”(Jas 4:3). Let us allow present truth – the bread of the Word broken by a sent one – to align our prayers into accurate decrees that bring kingdom realities to earth!

It’s time that the Church takes its rightful place in the wider community – becoming that power packed covenant people having favour with God and the people! (Acts 2:47).