Summary: This is the 4th sermon in the "Changing Your Spiritual Appetite" series.
Series: Changing Your Spiritual Appetite [#4]
BE DEVOTED TO THE BREAKING OF BREAD
This morning we are going to look at the 3rd thing that the Early Church devoted themselves to- The breaking of bread.
Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)
“They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
As I was preparing this sermon, I started thinking about eating. Now this is something that I am good at. As I thought about eating things that are good for you, (which didn’t last long), I found this chart online. This is known as the Food Pyramid. As expected, there is fruit, vegetables, etc… I then searched again and found this awesome Food Pyramid. This is more like what I was looking for- Caffeine, chocolate, etc… By the way, you know which chart you should be following; and you also know that you are supposed to exercise.
You can read about many different banquets and feasts in the Bible. For the Jewish people, meals were big events. Meals were more than just something you enjoyed because the food tasted good. Meals were an event that could last for hours. Meals were a time when you would invite people to eat with you. This included people that you didn’t even know. Hospitality was very important. The purpose was to have deep fellowship with one another. The Early Church knew that they would grow closer together while sharing meals. On the night before Jesus was betrayed, He sat with His best friends and He broke bread with them.
1 Corinthians 11:17-21 (NIV)
“In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk.”
Being devoted to the breaking of bread means…
1. Physically showing up.
Did you notice the image of breaking of bread? These people were devoted. Their coming together was not accidental and it was not occasionally. They were devoted to the fellowship and the breaking of bread. They were devoted to learning and giving. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the Apostles. All the believers were what? They were all together. Why? They were constantly breaking bread and doing life together. They were all together and had everything in common. Nobody had a need, because they met all the needs. Can you see the fellowship, the commitment, the love they had for one another? They praised God and enjoyed the favor of all the people; and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Does that look like our lives? It can. I really believe it can happen. There was so much love, that there was much power; and because there was so much power, there were miracles and lives being changed every day.
Let me give you the modern USA version. The Christians are devoted to themselves and occasionally get to Church when they have a chance. No one is filled with awe because there is no signs and wonders performed by the believers. Very few of the believers are together and they have almost nothing in common because they have no real time for each other. If they sell something, they use the money to buy something better for themselves. They eat on the run, keep to themselves, and are too rushed to enjoy one another or give praise to God. They claim to love God; but they don't really love each other, and they feel very empty and alone. As a result, most people dislike them and their numbers are decreasing.
As we talk about breaking bread, the image I want you to have in your mind is sharing Jesus. You enjoy Jesus, I enjoy Jesus; but we do it separately. Yes, we’re together in here; but we’re really not together. You see, we live in a world which craves independence. I want to be financially independent, relationally independent, and spiritually independent. I don't want to need you. The problem is this- To be a follower of Jesus is the direct opposite of being independent. To be a Christ follower, is actually to be dependent. You cannot save yourself and you cannot make it yourself. To be a Jesus follower means you are completely dependent on the grace, mercy, power, love of Jesus, and the presence of God; and we are to be dependent on one another because we were created to be in community. To be a Christ follower is to be dependent upon God and upon His people. So, on the one hand we are called to have a personal, individual, unique relationship with Christ; on the other hand, we must have a shared relationship with Christ.