“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”
Acts 2:42-47 CSB
I personally like the transition that we are making in our Sunday morning discussions/sermons from what we learned in John’s epistles to looking at courage in living out the life of being a part of the local church. I’m looking forward to diving into our own church context within this discussion as well. What will it look like for Journey Church to be a truly courageous church in the coming months? Years? Decade? Can’t wait.
Sometimes in this type of “who are we” and “what are we doing as a church” pursuit, we sometimes stop to try to think about our identity and if it measures up well to what we would call a “New Testament church” or specifically how it compares to the early Church in Acts. This kind of conversation can go down different avenues: what does our weekly gathering look like? Do we sing at all of our congregational gatherings? Do we utilize musical instruments in worship? How often should we take Communion? All good questions to dig into, but let me lay something simple before you maybe start to ponder this yourself.
Focus on what Luke says in Verse 44. “Now all the believers were together and held all things in common.” What does this mean for us in the Church today? We can’t just assign rhetoric to the Church as a whole as we apply this and try to ignore the truth it has for us specifically. What does this mean for those of us who describe Journey Church as our church home or church family? I think we can start with two words: be there. Just be there. Make it a priority in your life and schedule to be there with other believers when the opportunities are there to do so. We like to spend time at home and I dare say that most of us would say that family is important, right? Don’t use those terms so loosely when talking about the local church that supposedly means something to you. Make it a priority to be there when others are there to be together (that’s the “all the believers were together” part).
The second part of the verse says that they “held all things in common.” I don’t think that Luke is suggesting that the individuals within these initial church gatherings didn’t have any differences. What I do think though is that he is suggesting that we may come together with those differences, and most likely we’re going to see them in one another. But I think that we have to be willing to literally set aside our differences and sacrifice at times what they mean for us as individuals for the good of the bride of Christ as a whole. What this means is, if you’re being obedient here, you’ve gotta let go of some of that stuff that you might be very passionate about that could be divisive when it comes to your church family. I’m just telling how this reads to me; if a little conviction is coming your way, you can dial up the Holy Spirit any time to discuss that with Him further. Billy Graham put it this way: “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” (And I’m telling you this because I love you.)
Be there, and put each other first. What will Journey Church look like if we do this and then really start talking about that “congregational courage” that Mark mentioned on Sunday?
I for one like the thought of what that could mean.