Summary: In the book of Acts, Luke in painting us this picture of the church gives us the essentials which should be a part of any church. Among these essentials is koinonia - a term translated into English as fellowship or community.
Church Essentials: Part Two
The Book of Acts provides us with the history of the early church. Acts presents us with a picture of the traits and actions that typified the daily lives of believers. Luke in painting us this picture of the church gives us the essentials which should be a part of any church. Among these essentials is koinonia - a term translated into English as fellowship or community. This fellowship, which the early church demonstrated, and which we are to be a part of, is far broader and more encompassing than we often think. Being a part of community is the spiritual duty of every believer.
I. The Church is to operate as a community
A. Acts 2:44 (VOICE) " There was an intense sense of togetherness among all who believed..."
B. The church is not a club or simply a religious organization.
C. While a church may legally incorporate as an organization and needs to be managed as one. But it is important to note that the church is, according to Scripture, an organism. The church is a living and functioning system of interdependent parts (believers) which constitute the Body of Christ.
D. Romans 12:4-5 " For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another."
E. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27 " For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many... Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually."
F. A church is "not a meeting you attend. It’s not a thing you do. It’s who you are. It’s your identity. It’s your place of belonging.” –Tim Chester
G. Three elements that are observed that comprised the community of the early church - intentionality, unity, missionality.
II. Being part of a biblical community involves intentionality.
A. Acts 2:42 "And they continued steadfastly (devoted themselves, committed themselves, persevered) in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
B. Acts 2:44 (VOICE) "There was an intense sense of togetherness among all who believed..."
C. Intentional - done on purpose, not by accident.
D. Intentional means refusing to simply go through the motions.
1. Why are you doing what you are doing?
2. For so many "going to church" is a matter of convenience not a matter of commitment.
3. President Theodore Roosevelt made a commitment to attend church on Sunday, and continued it all his years in Washington, even as president of USA. The pastor of his church always received a letter or phone message from the president when he expected to be out of town, explaining his absence.
E. Intentional means having correct priorities.
1. Surveys show that many people feel it is quite acceptable simply to watch a church service on television, never committing themselves to regular assembly. Others say that just talking about God and religion with friends at work or at an informal gathering from time to time is all the "church" they need. - copied
2. The early church was focused on growth and nurture as believers.
3. Acts 2:42 "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship (constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles)"
4. They realized that lasting, productive relationships, based on mutual love and respect, are the substance of Christian life and growth.
5. Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
6. Hebrews 10:25 "not forsaking (neglecting) the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
7. "not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten" (VOICE)
III. Being part of a biblical community involves unity
A. Acts 2:44, 46 "Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,... So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart..."
B. "an intense sense of togetherness"
C. Acts 4:32 "Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul."
D. Colossians 3:15 "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful."
E. The term translated fellowship in our Bible is "koinonia" which means communion, joint participation. Community is a "common unity" of purpose and interests. It is living a shared life.