42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
What are your first thoughts after reading this passage? Are they excuses as to why we don’t do church this way today? “The wonders and signs were something God just did then to attract people to believe. Sharing everything we have isn’t really feasible in our culture. I can’t possibly sell everything and put it in a big pot to share with others. I don’t have time to meet in church every day, my kids have soccer practice and I’m on the PTA. There is no way I could have dinner at other people’s houses every night; it would be impossible to keep track of my diet. Their culture was different at that time and things aren’t like that anymore.”
The first church wasn’t about a once or twice a week meeting to study the bible out of their daily routine. Church was their family. All those who believed were together. Certainly, these days there are too many believers across the globe for all to live together in community. But what about the church you attend? What about the believers on your street? Do you even know which of your neighbors believe in Christ as their savior and those who don’t? Who in your community is struggling with something and how are you helping them? Paul exhorted the Philippians in chapter 2 of his letter by encouraging this behavior:
1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
We talk about being the hands and feet of Christ, but we only do it when it is convenient for us and when it fits into our schedules. How many people go without because the church isn’t doing what it is supposed to do? Why do we think “church” is a building and not a group of people? Why are there people starving and dying of disease right outside our million dollar homes and church buildings? When we are united in the one spirit of God for the purpose of serving others and blessing those around us, we will find how easy it is to do it. Certainly, we can’t do everything, but don’t let this stall you from doing something. If we stay united and work together, we will keep feeling a sense of awe.
What has happened to our sense of awe? Where is our gladness and sincerity of heart? Why don’t we spend all day praising God and having favor with the people? Many people avoid Christ today because us supposed Christians aren’t very Christlike. If I was on the other side, I probably wouldn’t want to hear what most churches are preaching today either. We have let our society dictate who we are and how we are instead of Christ and His Spirit. Instead of preaching the truth and loving others unconditionally, we are changing our doctrines to attract people to our churches. We have adopted the local culture instead of the culture of Christ. We aren’t united in one Spirit, we are separated by isolationism and selfishness.