Summary: In Acts 2:42-47 we see a community of believers, have we maintained that spirit of belief in today’s society?
Community Acts 2:42-47
"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope...With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be ale to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, and to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. This will be the day when all God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, ‘My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring...When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
( selected excerpts from the Martin Luther King Jr. speech delivered on August 28th, 1963 on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.)
I think one of mans strengths can be defined by the word community. You might ask what I mean by that. Man, when left alone, is frail, his mood is often shifting as if with the tides. Our values become compromised, blended, and distorted over time. Through the benefits of community we are strong and able to function in society. The definition of the word "community" according to the Gage Canadian Dictionary is as follows:
"a group of people having common ties or interests and living in the same locality or district and subject to the same laws."
From today’s passage found in Acts, we have undoubtedly heard many sermons with somewhat different messages, I promise that today may not be an exception. I think that perhaps one of their greatest assets in the early Church was their great sense of community, doing everything in one accord. They had everything in common. Sounds today like that would be hard to imagine.
Keep this way of life in mind as we take a jump now in a new direction.
As far as trees go, the huge redwood trees in California are amazing. They are the largest living things on earth and the tallest trees in the world. Some of them reach to be 200 - 275 feet high, their trunks may be 8 - 12 feet in diameter and may be over 2500 years old. The largest of its kind in Northern California stands at 368 feet tall. You would think that something that large would need a massive root system reaching far into the ground to keep them standing tall and proud but, they don’t. Redwoods have a rather shallow root system especially when compared to that of the Mighty Oak. Instead, the roots are intertwined with others, each tree helping to hold the others erect and in place. If one of them was off by itself, it would quite likely fall. They need the others for survival.
From the simple definition of community, we see that people live in this same state, depending on others through their interests, common ties etc. Like the redwoods we need others for survival. It is difficult to remain living as a strong Christian in this society of ours even when we have the benefit of other Christians living beside us. In Acts 2:42-47, (NIV) we have such a Christian community. Luke says that believers were bound together in the same way through the teaching of God’s Word, through fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer; the believers had everything in common and were selling their goods to give to the poor as needed. They met together with glad and sincere hearts praising God and enjoying the favor all the people. It sounds somewhat like a fairytale lifestyle; even too good to be true. Today we tend to get drawn into the cycle of materialism, doubts, worry, even jealousy of what others have and enjoy. We have common sayings to reflect that very idea. When is the last time you heard someone say "well, they are just trying to keep up with the Jones’s." Isn’t that what life is about today for a good part of society? –one big expensive competition? He who has the most toys win! In this Christian community they had quite a different attitude; life wasn’t about a few people having all the toys; it wasn’t about race or gender. These deceptions, I think, are nothing more than arrows that Satan pulls from his quiver knowing that they will effectively cause us to stumble by the wayside. We have the saying which talks about "happiness being like a child in a candy store." We have to careful as adults today that Satan doesn’t run the candy store. Our temptations lure us away from the lifestyle that we so badly need to follow. It is certain that these arrows of Satan will persist and will try to destroy the foundational fabric that unites us in our relationships with God. Satan’s desire is to destroy what God has ordained, what He has brought into being, what he has joined together. I’m sure that there is nothing that Satan would any rather see than for us to fall from our relationship with Jesus; perhaps if nothing more, he will at least put a few speed bumps in our path to slow down our maturity in Christ giving more time for deception and temptations. . . .But. . . God has given us one another to rely on, to give and receive encouragement in times of despair; to be a helping hand, an understanding friend in difficult times, a mentor, an accountability partner. We need each other in order to remain strong in this corrupt society. Take the time, help others around us.