Summary: Believers are called to come together as a learning community.
In Acts chapter 2, we read about the birth of the New Testament church on the day of Pentecost. We are told of how God moved through a sermon Peter preached. He preached this sermon to a crowd of people who were gathered as a result of the Holy Spirit empowering the followers of Jesus to testify about the wonderful works of God. The crowd was astounded by the fact that these Galileans were able to speak in the languages of those who were gathered from all over the ancient world to celebrate the special feast days in Jerusalem.
God used Peter’s sermon to draw 3,000 people unto Himself, for "those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day," (Acts 2:41). They turned to Christ, and in turning to him, they turned away from their sins. By believing and repenting, they were saved by grace through faith. But that is not the end of the story. Our text tells us what happened next.
The key statement in this passage comes in verse 44: All the believers were together and had everything in common. The outstanding characteristic of God’s new people was that, they understood that being saved means being saved into a new spiritual community. That the Christian life is not a life lived alone - it is a life lived together.
There is no such thing as private Christianity. Christianity is always personal, of course, because it entails a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but it is never private. True faith in Jesus Christ must be professed publicly and expressed communally. Although we never lose our personal identity, as Christians we are individuals who are called to live in community with other Christians.
Whenever the Bible speaks of God’s work in the world, it speaks of God saving a people for Himself, not individuals. You see, to be included in Christ is to be incorporated into the communion of the saints.
God calls His people to live together in community, as a community. In this series, I want us to look to the life of the early church in Jerusalem to learn what living in Christian community looks like.
The first thing we notice is that the early church was a learning community. They "devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42). This commitment to learn together is an element that is essential to believers living together in Christian community.
1. A Common Conviction about God Word- "the apostle’s teachings"
The early church experienced community around a common conviction that God had given them His Word. Likewise, if we are going to experience Christian community as a local body of believers, it will be as a result of our having a common conviction regarding the Bible.
A. We should believe in the inspiration of the Bible.
We should believe that the Bible is the absolute, authoritative, Word of God Himself. All Scripture is God-breathed. God, through His Spirit, moved through holy men of old to speak and write what is recorded in the Bible using spiritual words to convey spiritual truths.
"Every part of Scripture is God-breathed" - 2 Timothy 3:16 (The Message)
Just as I breath out in speaking to you, God speaks to us through the Scripture; and because the breath of God is the Spirit of God, Paul is telling us that the pages of Scripture are holy and anointed by God Himself.
"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
- 2 Peter 1:20-21 (NIV)
Some say that the Bible came to be written as a result of the writers interpreting historical events, and/or popular fables in light of their own personal beliefs. Instead, Peter makes it clear that the record of Scripture was directed and inspired by the Spirit of God.
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words." - 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 (NASB)
Paul taught that the inspiration of the Bible is so precise that every word the writers used was directed and guided by the Holy Spirit!
As a result of poor planning a Texas man needed some same-day dry cleaning before he left on a trip. He remembered one store with a huge sign, "One-Hour Dry Cleaners," on the other side of town, so he drove out of his way to drop off his suit. After filling out the tag, he told the clerk, "I need this in an hour."