Summary: Exposition of Acts 2:44-47 about the qualities of the early church
Text: Title: Koinonia Ekklesias II, Date/Place: NRBC, 7/1/07, AM
A. Opening illustration: read the first half of the letter from the MacArthur commentary from the philosopher to the emperor regarding the behavior of the first Christians.
B. Background to passage: The background is still the same, a picture of the early church as a model for us today. As we noted this morning, there are at least eight things that the early church was stubbornly devoted to, and we will cover the last four of these tonight.
C. Main thought: Again this is crucial to maintaining or achieving a NT church in our day.
A. Sharing to meet needs (v. 45)
1. It says that the believed together and had all things in common. There formed among the early church a very tight-knit spiritual unity. They bonded together, not only as members of the same church, but as brothers and sisters in Christ. And this unity manifested itself in the reality of taking care of one another. This was a voluntary sharing within in the Christian community with all those that had needs. The point here is not communism, but love flowing toward those that had needs. The point is that their relationship with Christ affected not only their schedules, but also their wallets. They sold property because they understood very deeply that possessions in this world were to be used for the glory of Christ, and that the deeds done unto others here will be rewarded.
3. Illustration: “Christianity is by nature a community religion…The body of Christ is incomplete without you, and you are incomplete without the body of Christ.” A great example was when you paid our mortgage for several months as we waited for our house to sell. Ronnie was telling us about the guy who told him that God told him to give him the tractor for the camp.
4. “The time is ripe for the Christian church to show the world a type of community that is radically different from the existing social structures.” It is time that we examine our version of taking care of the needs of others in our fellowship. The world should see a picture much like this or in the letter that we read. How does our deep spiritual unity manifest itself? Would the world look at our church and see that we really care, to the point that they want to be a part of us? When was the last time you sold property you sold property to provide the needs of a brother? How do we really take care of our widows and fatherless? And the question that we really should ask, is not do we set aside money for benevolence, but do we really care about each other to the point that we really desire to provide for the needs of others?
B. Daily fellowship (v. 46)
1. Our text says that they fellowshipped daily in the temple courts and from house to house. The word for fellowship is the word that I am using the title of the message. And it means sharing life with a deep closeness. It says they were of one mind and one accord. They were constantly eating their meals together with simplicity of heart and gladness. This means that their hearts were free from things that would impede close fellowship. They were real, and they were really involved in the lives of fellow believers. This kind of fellowship promoted spiritual growth, mutual accountability, and bearing one another’s burdens.
2. Acts 5:42, 16:34, Gal 6:2, 1 Thess 5:14,
3. Illustration: tell about the pastor’s wife who seemed like all she did was clean up and prepare for guests at her home, then the woman showed up at a really messy time, and she just showed her right in, tell about how families at Voddie’s church are asked to give up two nights a month to having people over for dinner, once for a family in the church, once for a neighborhood family. Three reasons that Christians don’t invite guests to their home based on a survey done by a pastor 1) frightened, 2) furnishings too modest, 3) too busy, expense too great, effort too much, mission trips and youth camps are ideal to build fellowship,
4. A NT church should include more than just worship service fellowship. There should be times of sharing and blending of hearts and lives that go far beyond time in the building. We must actively pursue it among ourselves, but also among those who are new to our fellowship. We must almost force ourselves to be genuine, and not but on a nice front. It is much easier, safer to stay isolated. Having people over for dinner and fellowship at your home is a forgotten aspect even among a southern hospitable culture. When was the last time you had a family over from the church to your home? From the community? Are you willing to share all that you really are with people in the church? We should be a church that will not violate the trust that comes with sharing by gossiping, being judgmental, or self-righteous.