Summary: Family, church, fellowship, connection
THE FAMILY OF OUR FAITH
Acts 2: 42-47 (p 772) April 15, 2012
Your faith cannot be healthy if its isolated…you cannot grow to be the servant God wants you to be on your own…
Spiritual maturity, real discipleship can only happen by understanding the real reason Christ left His church…
Last week was Easter Sunday…the glue that held these original followers together was “the resurrection” …as they greeted each other with “Maranatha” which means “He is Risen” the appropriate response was “He is Risen indeed!...The resurrection held together…men, women, Jews, gentiles, slaves, free, rich and poor….None of the normal stereotypes made any difference for people bonded together by a Savior who died…and now lives…Jesus has clearly proved His claim to authority…
So what did they do…these early followers of Jesus after He ascended back into heaven with the promise to return...what happened to these and women after the Holy Spirit clearly manifested himself, one Pentecost and 3,000 respond to Peter’s preaching…Our text says…”they devoted themselves”
These individuals…filled with the Holy Spirit, freshly washed of their sins, bonded together with others who believed the same thing.
“Devoted themselves…made a deep commitment to finding out what all these meant…and they made a deep commitment to the other individuals who believed.
I THE CHURCH BECAME THEIR LIVES
There were great leaders and teachers in this early band…Peter, James, John….the Apostles…Individuals that had been with Jesus in his ministry and had witnessed His resurrection began to share His teaching and what they now knew those teachings meant.
They prayed together…took communion together, ate together…shared their lives with others who had questions could answer some of those questions…and could understand what it meant to be a follower of Jesus.
Originally the Greek word for fellowship is the word “Koinonia”…it carries in its meaning a giving of yourself to others a sharing of your life with others…Koinonia can’t be done just on the 1st day of the week…It can’t be done at a distance. It can’t be done at arm’s length with your defenses up…
It implies getting in touch…opening your heart…Koinonia and real compassion are almost identical twins. Masks have to come off…fences torn down. Welcome signs hung…the front door left open…it’s got to be genuine and authentic.
The example of what “Koinonia” really meant was set by the Apostles…It was modeled by the churches earliest leaders.
They become examples…not of CEO’s or C.F. O.’s, but “Fathers” “Brothers”…this was not an invitation to be administrated (although that gift was needed)…this was a “family” to be lead and loved.
Many of these early believers were losing the bond they had to their earthly families (Christianity, changes priorities) or many of these early believers had no families and they were attracted to the church for that very reason they witnessed a bond they’d always dreamed of…
It’s the reason Peter says to Elders “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care” …Caring for a flock isn’t the same as ‘running a business”…every family needs a spiritual Dad…Peter says…Jesus is the heavenly Dad…you love his family like Him.
Listen to what the Apostle Paul tells Titus to do when it comes to doctrine….
Titus 2: 1-11 (p 844)
A lot of that sound so “old fashioned” doesn’t it…teach, train, encourage…set an example…show obedience.
What jumps out at me is those truths cannot be shared behind a pulpit…these truths are “Life truths”…”daily truths”…Object lesson truths”….let me show you what it’s like to love my wife, my mom, my son and daughter truths…let me model what its like to live in the family of God and how you treat people in it.
Tough to really do that…or share in that if you begin to think of church as a place you go instead of a people who are….huh?
Maybe the primary reason we do not devote ourselves to one another here in America is that we don’t have enough time because we’ve devoted ourselves to something else. You can’t be a part time shepherd…you cannot be a one day of week member of God’s family…
What happens in many of our churches is that we’re ashamed to ask people to be devoted because we don’t want to make that kind of commitment ourselves…so instead of being a biblical family…we become a watered down 21st century, too busy Sunday morning club….and instead of sharing our lives with each other…we bless God with an hour or 2 of our busy schedule.
But Rick I can’t share my life with hundreds of people!
Your right, but if the church is to become your family and more than just a place you go...when you have the time…then
II PEOPLE MUST BECOME VALUABLE
I’d remind you that there are around 3 to 5 thousand Christians together in Jerusalem right now…and God’s adding to that number…”Daily” … so how are they sharing their lives with each other…as a family?