“42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”
If a stranger came up to you and honestly asked, “What does the word ‘church’ mean to you” what would be your answer?
This passage from Acts 2:42-47 would be mine. It would be my ideal church. There is no “sermon” that people are forced to listen to. Instead, there is discussion, dialogue, and discernment about the apostles’ personal experience of Jesus, what he taught them, and what they witnessed in Jesus’ life and ministry. As this church or gathering of believers is described, considerable attention was give to how what Jesus taught and lived was to be implemented among his followers.
Their faith community was one of equality and unity. No one wrote a big check to sway the direction of the ministry. All was shared. Every need met. They grew because who wouldn’t want to be a part of a community who truly put the needs of others above their own? In this arrangement there are times you give more and times you receive more, but blessing flows in abundance at all times.
This abundance of blessings resulted in pure joy, expressed in their daily time in the temple worshipping God, and, with glad and generous hearts.
So far, over the past two thousand years, the dark side of human nature has made this kind of church unattainable, but that doesn’t mean I/we stop trying if you believe, like me, in this ideal of church.
Be a blessing to someone today!