Summary: Discover two keys to better relationships as Todd breaks down the early church’s relational habits found in Acts 2.
Welcome everyone, and if you’ll take out your teaching tool and open your Bible to Acts 2, I’d like help you understand some important things about the concept of fellowshipping. Or another word well use this morning interchangeably is belonging. What does this word mean? Why is it important? How does it work?
Few other words are as synonymous with what we’re doing in these 40 days as fellowship. Belonging. After all, those words are very similar to community, aren’t they? Yet, lots of people don’t know what they really mean or how to find that real sense of belonging. Connectedness. Community.
Think about it….
...Some think its donuts and coffee.
...Some think its living in close proximity.
...Some think its two guys in a boat. (That’s a joke!)
God says, as we’ll see in Acts 2, that fellowship – community – belonging – is really and simply healthy relationships with the people around me and the God above me! It’s horizontal and vertical. And it’s on various levels. Now we’re all different, so this looks different from person to person, group to group. We don’t all have the same closeness, and that’s okay. We don’t all have the same personalities or ways of expressing community and fellowship… and that’s okay, too. But we all do have one common need: to have healthy relationships! Everyone needs to know they belong and everyone needs to know how to belong.
You see, unfortunately we’re not taught how to have healthy relationships. You never had a class growing up in school, not a single class on how to have good relationship, and yet that’s the most important thing in life. It’s far more important than anything else: How to have good relationships, how to have a relationship with God, and how to have a relationship with each other. And I doubt even your parents taught you how to have good relationships. They may have not even known themselves. So they never sat you down and said, “Here are the secrets, the building blocks to good relationships; and here are the things that destroy them.” I’ve talked to so many people who’ve gone through a divorce, who have no idea, “Why did it happen? What really caused it to take place?”
So this morning I’d like to show you, from Acts 2, what a healthy relationship looks like and what you can do to have them, both vertically and horizontally. With your Bible open to Acts 2, let’s read, starting in verse 42….
“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.”
What a picture of community! Did you see all the references to the concept of fellowship in these verses? Let me review them for you, okay. There are actually six:
vs. 42 – “fellowship”
vs. 44 – “together”
vs. 44 – “in common”
vs. 46 – “together”
vs. 46 – “together”
vs. 47 – “their number”
What brought this about? How did it happen? To help you understand the process of building healthy relationships, let’s picture this morning two people who desire to get to know each other better. They want to have better fellowship. Community. So start drawing on your teaching tool the same diagram you see behind me and follow along with me this morning as I layout for you some steps to take to build better relationships.
One of the first things you need to do is this: cement your relationship with the bonding agent of Jesus! In fact, notice something really intriguing – all of the things in verses 42-47 occur after the phrase in verse 41: “they accepted his message.” ‘Accepted’ means to believe, take as true, own! Is that what you have done with the message of Christ? Have you established the proper relationship with him first and foremost? Until this happens, your relationships will, at best, be second rate. Why? Because he is the inventor of relationships. He started them in the beginning, and knows best how to make sure they work. So when we follow his plan and have his Spirit helping us, we have much better relationships. When we don’t, well, it’s a mess made by man!
In fact, would you just write down this little phrase somewhere on your teaching tool? “The bond of Jesus increases my sense of belonging.” That’s right – knowing you belong to God is the place to start. It is the eternal security many people are looking for and need. Let me say it again – it starts with God. That’s where learning how to relate begins.