Five Practices of Discipleship
Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:41-42 NKJV
In John’s gospel, chapter 8 verses 31and 32, Jesus said to some Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” It is instructive to note that Jesus said, “if” you continue.” The word “if” strongly suggests that continuing to follow Christ, after believing, is a condition to true discipleship, i.e., something essential, a must, a necessary qualification, requirement, or stipulation.
The early church, as recorded in the book of Acts observed five practices after repentance and their baptism for the remission of sin (text). First and foremost, then continued steadfastly in their devotion to Jesus Christ. Unlike so many believers who started fervently out in their walk of faith but have now somehow became inconsistent and lukewarm in the things of God; second, they were committed to hearing and receiving in their hearts the Apostle’s teaching. It is the Word of God that vitally changes lives and transform minds (see Jas. 1:21; Rom. 12:2; 2 Tim. 3:16).
Third, believers related to one another with Christian fellowship (koinonia Greek word, i.e., communication, partnership, participation, social intercourse, and communion (1 Cor. 10:16); fourth, the breaking of bread was an expression that referred to both the observing the Lord’s Supper and a common meal taken with other believers; and fifth, the truly repented engaged in all kinds of prayers—talking to God from their hearts, in Jesus’ name, their redeemer.
These five practices were, and still are, the cost of true discipleship (Matt. 16:24). Like when most Jews, in the early church period, who repented and received baptism in Jesus’ name, they were excommunicated from other non-believing Jews. No man would ever forfeit his Jewish privilege short of a full conviction to continue following Jesus Christ all the way!