Summary: Discover the elements of community practiced in the early church and challenge the people to experience this in small groups.
Building Authentic Biblical Community: Community:
What Happens in an Authentic Biblical Community
5 October 2003
SUBJECT: What Happens in an Authentic Biblical Community
RESPONSE: Discover the elements of community practiced in the early church and challenge the people to experience this in small groups.
HOW TO/HOW LONG: Sign up for a small group this week.
We started our discussion on authentic biblical community with the fact that God exists in community—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is the first community, the first small group, the first team. When we participate in community, we are reflecting the image of God.
We’ve seen that being part of a small group, a Life Group, was important and primary in Jesus’ life and ministry. He called a number to come to him, walk with him, talk with him, learn from him, and carry on his kingdom work. Jesus did speak to large crowds. He probably taught in the synagogue weekly, but most of his time was spent with his Small Group.
Last week we learned that as we experience unity in community, we are actually an answer to Christ’s high priestly prayer.
I would trust, that after these three weeks, by now, most of you are convinced that being part of one of our Small Groups is not only a good thing to do, but also a biblical thing to do. After all, being in a group will help us be conformed to the image of God, participate in something that Jesus thought was primary, and being involved in something that will be an answer to Christ’s prayer.
But by now, you should have a good question: What will we be doing in these Small Groups? Excellent question!
What better place to go to answer that question then to the very first church with the very first Small Groups? Let’s read together from Acts 2:42-47.
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.
Did you catch it? This very first church was committed to Small Groups! This church itself was born in the same Upper Room where Jesus met with and prayed for his Small Group. Fifty days after his resurrection, on the Day of Pentecost (kind of like our American Thanksgiving) the very first church was born as the Holy Spirit came down upon the congregation of 120 that were crowded into that Upper Room. The apostle Peter preached his sermon and we learn that 3,000 people repented, were baptized, and added to the church.
What did this church do? We read the answer to this question in Acts 2. Did you notice they met together corporately—in the temple courts? But they also met together in homes. These home groups, these small groups, these Life Groups were places where God’s people, these new believers cared for each other, learned from each other, prayed with each other, and encouraged each other.