Summary: As we examine Acts 2:42-47, we notice that we exist for five purposes.
The Romans celebrated January 1st as a general holiday. Sacrifices were made to the two-faced god, Janus, who was able to look both ways at once. Janus symbolized change and transition, such as the progression of the past to the future. January 1st was a holiday on which gifts and visits were exchanged, feasting and revelry took place, in addition to the sacrifices that were made to the god Janus.
Participation in these pagan sacrifices was of course discouraged by the Christian Church. Rather, Christians were expected to spend this time, both January 1st and December 31st, in quiet meditation, reading of Scripture, and acts of charity.
So, as we make a transition from 2006 to 2007, I would like us to pause to consider the question, “Why are we here?” In order to answer that question, I would like to show you a picture of the 1st century Church as it is described for us in Acts 2:42-47.
So, with that in mind, let us read Acts 2:42-47:
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. (Acts 2:42-47)
Someone once said, “The two greatest days in a person’s life are the day he was born and the day he finds out why he was born.”
Most of us don’t recall the day we were born. However, that day obviously took place; otherwise, we would not be here.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t recall the day we found out why we were born. Many people still don’t know why we are here. And that is a pity. John Calvin actually puts it even stronger when he said, “All who are ignorant of the purpose for which they live are fools and madmen.”
Thomas Carlyle said that “the man without purpose is like a ship without a rudder.” If you don’t know your purpose in life, you will wander aimlessly through life. You will simply exist from one meal to the next, and from one day to the next.
When God saved us I suppose he could have taken us immediately to be with him in heaven for all eternity. But he did not. He left us here on earth. And he left us here for a purpose.
I would like to suggest that we are here for five purposes. These purposes are illustrated throughout the pages of Scripture, but I will simply draw your attention to a picture of the 1st century Church described in Acts 2:42-47. These purposes are:
1. We were formed for God’s family,
2. We were created to become like Christ,
3. We were shaped for serving God,
4. We were made for a mission, and
5. We were planned for God’s pleasure.
I. We Were Formed for God’s Family (2:42, 43, 46b)
First, we were formed for God’s family.
Notice that the 1st century Christians were devoted to the fellowship (2:42). That means just what it says: they were committed, dedicated, faithful, and loyal to their new Christian family.
Furthermore, all the believers were together (2:44). They spent a lot of time with one another. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts (2:46b).
Every Christian ought to be a member of a true Christian church. The apostle Paul wrote to the Church of Ephesus and said, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:19). I want to highlight several important key truths from this text of Scripture.
First, the church is a family. Paul says that that Christians are “members of God’s household.” That is, Christians are members of God’s family. The church is a spiritual family. In fact, your spiritual family is going to outlast your physical family. The Bible says there isn’t marriage in heaven but there are Christians in heaven. So we’re all going to be related in heaven—together—and this spiritual family will actually outlast the blood family that you have here on earth.
Second, God expects you and me to be a member of a family. Notice Paul says, “Consequently, you are. . . fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” Membership in God’s family is not optional. Every Christian needs a church family. A Christian without a church family is like a person who says, “I want to play NFL football but I don’t want to be a part of any team,” or, “I want to be in the army but not serve in any platoon,” or, “I want to be a bee but I don’t want to be a part of the hive,” or, “I want to play an instrument but not be in an orchestra.” The fact is that we need each other in order to grow as Christians.