Clicky

The Role of The Early Church in Spreading Christianity
Skip to content

The Role of The Early Church in Spreading Christianity

Today, we have the privilege to walk down the sacred path traveled by our spiritual forefathers, exploring the divine work that transpired in the early stages of Christianity.

Just as the tender seedling is vital to the growth and life of a magnificent oak, so too was the early church in cultivating and nurturing the spread of the Gospel message.

As we delve into the majestic work of God’s hand in the early church, let us draw inspiration from their unwavering faith and boldness in sharing the good news.

During these formative years, the first followers of Christ embraced the great commission presented to them in Mark 16:15, where Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”

This sacred calling resonated deeply in the hearts of these dedicated disciples, driving them to selflessly embark on a journey that would forever change the course of history.

Together, we’ll take a closer look at how the Holy Spirit worked through these brave men and women, empowering them with spiritual gifts and abilities to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ.

Through their divinely guided actions, the foundational roots of our faith began to spring forth, transcending cultural barriers and spreading throughout the entire world.

So, dear friends, let us embark on this illuminating trip back in time, celebrating and honoring the immeasurable faith and courage of the early church.

For it is by standing on their shoulders that we continue to carry out the very same mission entrusted to them – spreading the life-changing message of Christianity to all corners of the Earth.

The role of the early church in spreading christianity

I. The Early Church: A Beacon of Faith and Love

In the book of Acts, we witness the birth and growth of the early Church. Their steadfast faith and deep love for the Lord and one another made them a powerful witness to the world.

From the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the believers, the early Christians demonstrated a remarkable unity and commitment to their call. As it is written in Acts 2:42-47, they devoted themselves to:

  • The apostles’ teaching
  • Fellowship
  • Breaking of bread
  • Prayer

These core activities not only nurtured their growing faith, but also demonstrated their love for one another and their eagerness to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Led by the Holy Spirit, the early believers boldly preached the message of the gospel. Despite facing persecution and opposition, they remained steadfast in their mission to spread the Word of God.

They trusted in the Lord’s promise found in Acts 1:8:

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they traveled far and wide, proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ and displaying God’s love to those they encountered.

The early Church also demonstrated an unwavering commitment to caring for one another. In Acts 4:32-35, it is written that they held all things in common, ensured that no one among them lacked anything, and distributed possessions to those in need.

The sacrificial love shown by the early Christians touched the hearts of many who witnessed their acts of compassion and generosity, prompting many to believe in Jesus Christ and join the ever-expanding Church.

As followers of Christ today, we have much to learn from the early Church’s example of faith and love. United by the Holy Spirit, let us continue to devote ourselves to the teaching of God’s Word, fellowship with one another, breaking of bread, and prayer.

In so doing, may we build upon the foundation of the faithful early believers and serve as a beacon of hope for those in need of Christ’s love and salvation.

II. The Apostles’ Journey: Spreading the Word to the Ends of the Earth

After Jesus’ ascension, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, as prophesied in Acts 1:8: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Empowered by this Holy Spirit, the Apostles began their incredible journey, spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

In their travels, the Apostles established churches and preached the Good News of salvation. Some significant Apostolic journeys include:

  • Paul’s three mission trips: In these journeys, Paul traveled extensively throughout modern-day Turkey and Greece, taking the Good News to Jews and Gentiles alike. He established churches in places like Corinth, Philippi and Ephesus, and wrote letters to the believers, many of which are included in the New Testament.
  • Peter’s trip to Rome: As the Apostle to the Jews, Peter played a foundational role in developing the early Christian church. He later traveled to Rome, where he is believed to have been martyred. The Vatican claims to be built upon the gravesite of Peter, and the Pope holds the title of “Bishop of Rome”
  • Thomas in India: According to tradition, Thomas the Apostle traveled as far as India, spreading the Good News and establishing churches in the region. Today, the ancient Mar Thoma Church in Kerala traces its heritage back to the efforts of Thomas.

The faithfulness and dedication of the Apostles to Jesus’ Great Commission shaped the course of history. Matthew 28:16-20 records Jesus’ command:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

In obedience, the Apostles laid their lives down for the sake of the Gospel in the face of persecution, martyrdom, and death.

The Apostles’ journey continues to inspire us today as we, the body of Christ, are commissioned to carry on their work. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we are called to be bold witnesses, sharing the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ within our communities and around the world.

As we follow in their footsteps, let us remember this powerful promise from our Savior: He is with us always, even to the end of the age.

III. Building the Christian Community: The Power of Fellowship

In the early church, believers practiced fellowship by gathering together in each other’s homes, sharing meals, and participating in communal prayers. Acts 2:42-47 beautifully describes the manner in which they selflessly comforted and encouraged each other in their walk with Christ:

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers (v.42)…. So continuing daily with one accord 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 (v.46-47).”

The depth of their bond with each other and their commitment to nurturing a vibrant spiritual community laid the groundwork for the growth of the church.

As followers of Christ, we too must cultivate a sense of unity by immersing ourselves in the power of fellowship. By nurturing our connections with one another, we create a solid foundation that strengthens the church body. Here are some essential components of Christ-centered fellowship:

  • Prayer: Lifting up one another in prayer is a vital aspect of fellowship. As we pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we demonstrate our love and concern for their well-being (Ephesians 6:18).
  • Encouragement: Offering words of comfort and support can uplift someone who is struggling or facing challenges (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
  • Accountability: Holding one another to a high standard of Christian living can provide the support we need to continually grow in our walk with the Lord (Galatians 6:1).
  • Service: By participating in acts of service, we both demonstrate the love of Christ to others and foster unity within the church body (Hebrews 13:16).

To enhance our fellowship with other believers, we can participate in small group Bible studies, volunteer within our local church, or extend a helping hand to fellow Christians in our neighborhood.

By investing our time and energy in the lives of those around us, we are truly living out the commandment to “love one another” (John 13:34). Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us to be consistent in our efforts to foster Christian community, stating,

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

In conclusion, the power of fellowship lies at the very heart of Christian community building. As we engage in prayer, encouragement, accountability, and service, we not only nurture our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but we also contribute to the growth of God’s kingdom on earth.

Let us consciously strive to live in harmony with one another, so that we can build a thriving Christian community that stands as a beacon of Christ’s love and compassion to the world around us.

IV. Seeds of Transformation: Early Church Influence on Society

In the early days of the church, believers sought to transform society by putting their faith into action. They lived out the principles taught by Jesus and the Apostles, demonstrating the power of the Holy Spirit at work in their lives.

One particular verse that captures this spirit is found in the book of Acts, where the Apostle Paul writes about the immense impact that the Christian community had on the people around them: “So the word of the God grew mightily and prevailed” (Acts 19:20, NKJV).

The Early Church established a blueprint for Christian community and service, which we can still learn from today. There are three key areas where the early Christians exerted significant influence upon society, and these are:

  • Charity and Support: Early Christians put their faith into action by caring for their own people, as well as others in need within the community. This included caring for widows, orphans, the elderly, and the sick, as we see in Acts 6:1-7. By doing so, they transformed the way society understood and practiced compassion towards the vulnerable.
  • Economic Redistribution: Early believers chose to share their possessions and resources with one another, ensuring that no one within the community was in need. This practice is described in Acts 2:44-45 and Acts 4:32-37. This radical generosity served as a powerful witness of God’s love and provision, and it created a strong bond of unity and trust within the Christian community.
  • Moral Reform: The teachings of Jesus and the Apostles brought about a moral transformation in the lives of believers. They valued honesty, sexual purity, and selflessness, living in sharp contrast to the corrupt practices common in the broader society. Their changed lives served as a powerful testimony of the transformative power of the gospel (Ephesians 4:17-24).

As we look to the example of the early Christians, we are inspired and challenged to seek similar transformation in our own lives and communities.

By embracing acts of charity, the sharing of resources, and the pursuit of moral reform, we can follow their example and become powerful agents of change in the world today. As we surrender ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can trust that

“He who has begun a good work in us will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, NKJV).

V. Bringing Light to the World: The Church’s Lasting Legacy

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be the light of the world, shining brightly amidst the darkness and leading others to find hope and salvation through God’s love and grace. Our Lord declared in Matthew 5:14-16,

You are the light of the world…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

In this section, we celebrate the Church’s lasting legacy in bringing light to the world, witnessing the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who embrace the truth of the Gospel.

Throughout history, the Church has played a critical role in shaping societies, influentially involved in the domains of:

  • Spiritual transformation through evangelism and discipleship, bringing people closer to God.
  • Educational development by establishing schools, colleges, and universities, fostering a love for learning and wisdom.
  • Charitable works such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and caring for orphans and widows, demonstrating God’s love in practical ways. (James 1:27)
  • Advocacy for the oppressed by raising a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves and fighting against the forces of darkness in society.
  • Promoting peace and unity by breaking down cultural barriers and demonstrating the unity of God’s people, reflecting His desire for harmony among all of His creation.

Moreover, the Church has persistently been a source of spiritual nourishment, guiding individuals and communities to overcome challenges and temptations and to cherish the presence of God through prayer, worship, and the study of the Holy Scriptures.

Besides, the Church has inspired hope in times of despair and has consistently pointed towards the only true source of everlasting joy, our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we reflect on the Church’s lasting legacy, let us also look forward to the future with anticipation.

Let us be committed to the Great Commission, going forth to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19), sharing the love and light of Christ with others and encouraging those around us to grow in their faith and relationship with God.

In doing so, in the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:8, we can “walk as children of light” and contribute to the Church’s continued impact in a world desperately in need of the light of the Gospel.

Conclusion

In conclusion, dear friends, we see that the early church has indelibly woven its mark into history, showcasing a profound and enduring love for Christ, and remaining steadfast in its mission to spread the Good News of salvation throughout the world.

During times of joy and celebration, as well as in moments of darkness and tribulation, the fledgling church nurtured resilient followers, fostering fellowship and championing compassion amongst fellow believers.

The early church stood as a beacon of hope, shining its light into the oppressive shadows of the time, illuminating the path towards spiritual enlightenment and personal transformation.

By embracing the teachings of Jesus and living out His example, the courageous men and women of the early church endeavored to build a legacy rooted in love, creating a diverse community that transcended culture, race, and gender, ushering in a new era of spiritual connection among humanity.

It is our fervent hope, dear friends, that in reflecting upon the awe-inspiring role of the early church in spreading Christianity, we too may find inspiration and courage to be vessels of hope, love, and peace in our own journey of faith.

May we learn from those who have gone before us and strive to live humbly and passionately, guided by the eternal flame of Christ’s love that continues to light our path to this day.

May we be reminded that we are all integral threads within the tapestry of the church—a wondrous, living testament to the transformative power of God’s love.

Despite our many imperfections, each of us has been given a purpose, a calling that is uniquely ours to fulfill, just as the apostles, missionaries, and countless believers of the early church did so long ago.

As we go forth, let us carry these lessons in our hearts, letting them guide us to walk our own spiritual journey with unwavering conviction and grace.

And in doing so, may we continue the work of the early church, effortlessly spreading the redeeming love of Christ throughout the world, leading with love and emboldening others to do the same.

God bless you, dear friends, and may your journey of faith be filled with the same zeal, unity, and determination that marked the early church in its quest to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

With every step, may you feel the loving presence of our Savior, leading us all in our pilgrimage toward everlasting light and life.

Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.