February 9, 2011: Acts 2:42-47; Acts 4:32-35

Submitted by Susanna Lee, Gracepoint Davis

What did the early church prioritize? The early church prioritized “the apostles’ teaching, and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”  In sum, they prioritized studying God’s Word, praying and building genuine relationship with other believers.

  • What was their schedule? Daily they met together in the temple courts and ate together in their homes.
  • How did they relate to one another? They related to one another as family members would:  they were together, had everything in common, shared everything they had, met the needs of others by selling their possessions and goods because no one was possessive about their possessions.  This was all possible because they were one in heart and mind.
  • What words in the text describe the feel of the culture of the early church? The following words describe the feel of the culture of the early church:  devoted, together, every day, broke bread in their homes, one in heart and mind, shared everything, no needy person among them, filled with awe, with great power, much grace.
  • What must it have been like to be a member of this church? As a member of the early church, they were always together and took ownership over other people’s lives. There was daily gathering to hear the Apostles’ teaching and daily sharing of meals with one another.  Everyone’s life must have been wide open in order for people to know the needs of one another.  Each member claimed other member’s life.  They shared everything.  Sharing is only possible when there is genuine love and when someone takes ownership of someone’s life.
  • What aspects of belonging to such a community would have been difficult for some people, and why? By belonging to such a community, the following aspects would have been difficult for some people:
  • Lack of privacy/personal space:  “all the believers were together”
  • No room for personal preferences:  “had everything in common”
  • No room for possessiveness or selfishness:  “no one claimed that any of this possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had”
  • No room for straddling the fence between the world and the church:  “all the believers were one in heart and mind”; “they devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

For anyone who had a grip on desire for privacy/personal space, personal preferences, or possessiveness, he/she would have had a difficult time where individualistic wants cannot coexist with communal demands to build a genuine community.  A person not being one in heart and mind but desiring the benefits of the community would also have a really difficult time belonging to such a community.  That person would not understand why he/she had to live like that and would consider personal sacrifices too big of a price to pay by not understanding why God desires for us to live in a community.

  • Consider Acts 2:47 along with this passage from Deuteronomy from a previous DT text:

Deuteronomy 4:5–6

5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”

What is the role of a properly functioning Christian community in God’s salvation plan for mankind? The role of a properly functioning Christian community is to showcase how great our God is through the way we live out our lives in obedience to God’s laws, principles & values and to win the favor of “all the people” or nations as they recognize that God’s way of life is the wisest and the only way to live.  The Christian community must function like a magnet to the world by drawing their interest and curiosity by the radically different way that we live as we adhere to God’s laws and values.

Application

How does today’s text apply to you?

Through today’s devotion text, I recommit myself before God to build “Acts 2” church at Davis as I live out a life of obedience and sacrifice.  The church is God’s idea and design for salvation plan.  We are not just born into a spiritual life but born into the church where God will use the members of the body to be nurtured, loved, trained in righteousness and holiness, and equipped to do God’s good work.  God’s salvation plan for mankind is to use the church, the believers as one body, to bring the message of the gospel to the world.  As the world sees the Christian community living so drastically different from this world, they will recognize the source of such power–God Himself.

The word “together” captivates my heart from Acts 2 and the phrase “one in heart and mind” from Acts 4.  I am designed by God to do life “together” with my fellow believers on a daily basis as we become “one in heart and mind” in our view of God, ourselves, the temporal world we live in, godly values that we need to uphold as long as we are in this world, and eternity that we will have with God and with other believers.    Being “together” necessitates letting go of my personal schedule/agenda or my list of things that I want to accomplish for each day, my personal preferences of how I want things to be done or when I wanted it to be done.  Becoming “one in heart and mind” is not something that happens naturally or by default.  It is only possible when I let go of the desires and stubbornness of my own heart and mind and I align my heart with God’s heart and my thoughts with God’s thoughts.  This is too difficult to do it on my own because naturally I am deluded, rebellious and utterly self-centered.  I need my spiritual leaders and spiritual peers to hold up the mirror for me when I am misaligned, to strengthen me when I am weak, and to set me straight when I am not in my right state of mind.  God being a communal God created us to be “devoted” to His teachings (the Word) and to the fellowship with other believers, my sisters and brothers in Christ.  Through our devotion to God’s Word and to God’s people, the world will see the marked difference between the church and any other community in this world.    Unless the church obeys God’s plan for the church, rather than being the conduit of the Gospel we become a hindrance to the Gospel that the world desperately needs.


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