Summary: As we begin this new series, we’re going to learn what it means to live a countercultural lifestyle as found in the Book of Acts. Whenever God wants to do a new thing, it usually begins with a movement which results in a radical, countercultural communiti
A Counterculture Community
This year, we’re focusing on growing into mature disciples of Jesus Christ. Key to being mature is the lives we lead. As we begin this new series, we’re going to learn what it means to live a countercultural lifestyle as found in the Book of Acts. Whenever God wants to do a new thing, it usually begins with a movement which results in a radical, countercultural communities of faith. Throughout history, God has birthed new movements and countercultural communities of faith which literally end up changing the landscape of humanity.
When Israel was in bondage in Egypt and God came to their rescue, they started a 40 year journey to mold and shape the Israelites into the people he needed them to become to be His chosen people, a light unto the nations. And over 2000 years ago when the religious leaders were more concerned about religion than a personal relationship with God, God sent his only begotten son to start a radical comunity to lift up the downtrodden, free the oppressed and heal the broken. When the disciples gathered in the Upper Room after Jesus’ death in fear of their lives, the resurrected Jesus appeared to them and at the end of 40 days, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and the power of God and began a brand new radical movement which changed the course of history. This movement caused them to release an undignified, undomesticated faith which literally made them the hands and feet of Jesus on earth. A countercultural community is a people who are tired of living the predictable but who expect to encounter the miraculous. These are the people who are tired of living the same old life. They long for Jesus to set them on fire for God. Do we have anybody here today like that?
The early church was just such a radical movement which consisted of people who were on fire for Jesus, even in the face of persecution and imprisonment. In this movement, you could literally lose your life but because of this passionate lifestyle, they were willing to die for what they believed in. The current state of the traditional church has gotten so dignified, so domesticated and so safe that it has lost its fire, its passion and its way. God wants to do a new thing in the body of Christ. We are now more concerned with building great churches and ministries than tenacious, mature disciples. We have become a community which thrives on being in control rather than a radical movement of God giving up control to the one who controls everything. The early community was not a group of people bound by walls and traditions but driven by mission and rising the wave of the movement of the Holy Spirit as it leads. So what does a countercultural community look like?
First, it is committed to one another. In order to become this countercultural community, there has to be a lifestyle of commitment among us. Acts 4:32 says, “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” To be a countercultural community, there has to be a commitment to stand against the individualism of our culture, the “I can do it on my one” mentality and instead be a family which is unified and committed to one another. That only comes through a common faith, a love and mission in Jesus Christ.
That extend beyond the Hellos and talking about the weather or what you did this weekend to being concerned about the physical and spiritual well being of all those in the body of Christ. In the early church, there were no written rules or bylaws but there was an unspoken value that nothing they possessed was their own. They saw themselves not as owners but as stewards of everything they had for the express purpose of meeting the needs of others and advancing the mission of Jesus Christ. Everything they had was for the betterment of those in this countercultural community and the mission of the church. They realized they couldn’t possess what they didn’t own.
In the United States today, one measure of success is how much stuff you have gained. But in a countercultural community, greatness is measured by how much you give away. God wants radical followers who are willing to stand against the greed and individualism of this world and truly become the visible hands and feet of Jesus here on earth. The early church didn’t have to be reminded of this because this was at the very heart of who they were and why they gathered every week. You see, if you had food on your shelves or money in the bank, it was understood that you were to give some away to help and bless someone else. It was the norm in the early church to make sure that no one was without.