Doing Church: We Are Family

I am, in no way, going to put anyone on a pedestal.  I do not think it is my place to do so, especially a pastor or someone who is simply heeding to the Word of God, passionately preaching His Word, and challenging others for the sake of the Gospel.  All of that to say that this Sunday, I was very impressed by the Words spoken through Todd in response to the events which occurred in Acts 2: 42-47.  These are the complied notes and thoughts I had from the service.   I hope they will bless you as much as it has been a blessing for me to reflect on.

Acts 2 has been taught so much that perhaps, for some of us, it has lost its pizzazz or flare.  There are many churches that have attempted to grade their church, using a model like Acts 2 within the context of their cultural setting.  It has been hyped up by consumers, and given over to a multitude of writers and responders though out the history of its existence.  It was with that understanding that I entered the service today.  I am glad that my assumptions of how the Scripture would be taught were radically different than what I was used to.

Acts 2, in many ways, was (and still should be seen as) a family.  Belonging to a family is not based on what you do but because we just are – we are apart of the goings on of a family – to that end, that is what unites us.  Families often spend time to help out one another and provide for one another, as they need.  Just as I go to my parent’s house, and have the freedom to open up the refrigerator door, so it is with any family – or at least it should be.

“If we could only be an Acts 2 Church…” I have heard this and perhaps even once or twice said that without even considering the fact that there are more chapters after Acts 2.  I am not sure all of the situations that occurred in Acts would be something I would enjoy going though.  Persecution, trials, being scattered throughout the world because someone or a group of people want to kill you… This just does not sound like fun.  So before you ring your statement loud about being an Acts 2 church, read the rest of the story and perhaps you will see it in a different light.  PLEASE NOTE:  I am not saying the things we can glean from this passage are not important.  They definitely are.  We just need to constantly remember that there is more to the story that we usually read.

Getting back to our family here, we must constantly remember that this family was not a small one.  In fact, at least 3,000 people were added to the family after Peter’s speech.  We know that they met in homes.  If that is the case, then I am guessing that the Apostles (there were only 12 of them) did not teach at each house.  There most likely was a “bottom up” leadership model that existed.  With that amount of people and all of those house groups, I find it to be almost impossible for the Apostles to keep their heads straight, all the time.

The context of this passage goes back to the mission of God, which was established in their minds back in John 20:21.  They had to wait for the Holy Spirit to come, which they did.  Now that He had showed up, it was time to put into action all that God had taught them through out their 3 and ½ year seminary training…

One of the areas in which the people devoted themselves to was “breaking of bread.”  This is another way of saying communion and it is essential that we take it as seriously as they did.  Perhaps it was a lot easier for them to do so, because they had witnessed the life, death, and resurrection of Christ first hand but that does not give us any reason to not be in that kind of relationship as well.  It is truly something that a great majority of the Evangelical church has laid aside.  What a shame.

And, what about prayer?  How often do we, as a church, set aside time during our day to devote to prayer?  I am not talking about Breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I am talking about getting on our knees and really praying for real needs?  I guess that is something that we need to work on.  I personally believe our ability to love God and others flow from this devotion.  It is the manner in which we do these things.

One of the final things are is mentioned here is “they shared all things.”  I have a problem with that.  I do not enjoy having to give up my stuff to help others.  I am selfish and oftentimes do not care as much as I should about my brothers and sisters in Christ.  That is why I go to Philadelphia and serve the homeless.  Through this mission, I am better able to understand more about others and myself.  It is an awesome responsibility.  If I have no problem using my credit cards, I really should not have a problem receiving assistance from a friend or neighbor.  It really is that simple of a thought.  We need to be willing to receive with a humble heart as well as give generously.  That is very important.

Finally, the Acts 2 people had favor with all people.  That is just amazing.  How is it possible that they had favor with all people?  Perhaps it was because they were living so radically and did not have any problems we often deal with within the church today (at this point in their story).  Regarding all of this, I have learned more about how we should act and love others.  We are apart of a family.  It is an awesome calling.  Let’s start living that way for God’s sake and others

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