Summary: All the believers were together and had everything in common...
Becoming a Community
Last week we began a series on the early church. A group of Christians that were on fire for Christ and who were committed to each other and to the spreading of the gospel, no matter what it took. We read a description of this church in Acts chapter 2 that I want to read for you again this morning.
We talked last week about the fact that this is the ideal, this is the model of what the church is supposed to look like. It paints a picture of oneness, of unity. It gives us a model for community in the church, for the church body meeting the needs of people in the way that it is called to do. The church is to be a family, it is to be a place to belong. Last week we looked at the changes that had taken place that took us from the OT law, the way it was, to the NT church, the way God intended it. The most significant of those changes was in the Presence. In the OT, God was distant and inaccessible because of the sins of the people. Now, through the sacrifice of Christ, God’s presence is available to all and we read about the physical coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. The Spirit came in power and filled the room and came upon each of the apostles and filled them as well, they had walked with God, but now they were filled with His Spirit. His presence was in them and gave them the strength for the task that lay ahead of them. The change in the presence brought about a remarkable change in the people. The apostles went from cowards who ran away from trouble to heroes of the faith. The people in that early church had gone from unbelievers who had nothing in common to sold out disciples who shared all they had together. The rest of the book of Acts is an amazing account what God did through this community of believers. The persecution, the boldness, the miracles, the growth, the explosion of the Gospel to the known world. What a change! And as those people’s lives were changed by the presence of God in them, they proclaimed a message that was different, it had changed as well. The process of guilt and sacrifice had been replaced by faith in Christ and the forgiveness that comes from a relationship with Him. So, there had been some significant changes that had taken place that lead up to this passage that we’re going to be spending the next several weeks looking at.
This morning and next week, we’re going to look deeper at the idea of community within the church and we’re really going to be concentrating on just one verse. Verse 44, look again at what this verse says. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
This is the place to start when it comes to building community in the church, togetherness and common ground. Those are the building blocks of community. We’re really going to get into those more next week, but before we do that, I want to first spend today, looking at the benefits of community. This was meant to be one sermon but it was too much to cram into one week and I remembered that I get to preach again next week, so we are going to split this into a mini series inside of our bigger series. This week we will look the benefits of Community to set the stage for next week where we will look at these building blocks and the barriers to community within the church.