Summary: Community is central to life
The Centrality of the Community
Moving Ahead Together, Part 3
September 19, 2004
NIV Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 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, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Last week, I stated that there is no such thing in the Christian life as maintenance only movement - forward or backward. There is no way getting around that reality. It follows that as a church or a community of faith we are not created for maintenance either, we are created for movement.
Let’s read the text together.
We see in this text a radical devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ and community life, which we will be describing in this series. This community life is evidence of the Spirit working in their midst and our midst – a radical devotion to Christ, Awe of God, selling personal property to help others out, meeting daily for fellowship and worship that flows out of glad and joyful hearts, favor of the community, and the Lord bringing people to himself. This devotion is an issue for many of us. There is a lack of passion for God that moves us to act – witness, giving, desire for community, God, prayer, etc.
God ought to be the greatest object of our attention and affection. The more valuable something is the more it demands our attention. God is of infinite value and the sacrifice he gave is of infinite value therefore he demands that he have our attention.
Fellowship: We Incorporate God’s Family into our Fellowship
1. I must orient my life around a person - Jesus
ESV 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life- 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us- 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
Fellowship has its roots in what we have in common or share in common. So for the Christian our fellowship revolves around what we share in Christ. Fellowship is life giving when it flows out of life we receive from Christ. If we have no life then we have nothing to offer. I want us to be a life giving church. Unless you have life, you cannot impart life. So is Jesus your source of life or is it something else?
NIV John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
NIV John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
NIV John 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
NIV John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
NIV John 12:25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
When Christians are united with Christ his life is imparted to us. Our nature is changed, our appetites are changed, our desires are changed. I had two different conversations this week about peoples frustrations with what the bible describes the Christian life and what they see in the church. I said that maybe many people are not Christians. Christians are not people who see Jesus as one aspect of life, like school, or work, or family. For the Christian Jesus is their life. Read the book of Acts and if you do not sense something lacking in your life then something is wrong. If you read a statement like Paul’s that says to life is Christ and to die is gain and that does not resonate with your heart then maybe you are not a Christian. The NT describes Christians as obsessed with Christ, consumed with Christ; their lives were oriented around Christ.