Acts 2: Defining Fellowship
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[l] those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-47, CSB
As you are reading this, my wife and I will be celebrating the halfway point of her first pregnancy. This season has been incredibly exciting and reflective for me, as I consider the blessings God has poured out on us. I cannot help but consider the family and friends He has provided us to be among the greatest of those gifts. Many of those family and friends were eager to inundate us with advice, wisdom, reassurance, and their own memories. Years ago, they spoke of the idyllic warmth of their own “honeymoon phases”. This was a time of bliss that followed their wedding day, in which they were stuck in a perpetual state of dopey-smiles, physical-contact, unblemished-hope, and long, hand-in-hand walks on the beach. They described it as if she and I were receiving a get-out-of-sin-free card, when, upon its use, we would enter an all-inclusive, pre-fall experience.
While a new adventure and covenantal privileges proved exciting, it did not take us long to find out that marriage had not changed our sin problem. Instead, it initiated a partnership in which we were bound by a promise, faithfulness, and common mission, despite our ever-present propensities to abdicate all of the above. It is through this lens that we must seek to understand the ministry and mission of the Acts 2 church. We must not make the mistake of reading Acts 2 through a Genesis 2 lens. We should not perpetually prescribe to a Bride riddled with blemishes and missteps a false-reality in hopes that maybe just one of her many flocks will somehow stumble into the perfect storm of leaders, combination of programs, and sheep who “get it”.
So what then should we make of the Acts 2 church? First of all, we must not become fatalistic, nor conclude Luke simply gave into hyperbole. Allow me to speak in terms of our marriage: there came a time during our first few years of marriage when life events and circumstances no longer seemed to be acting in our favor. People whom we loved and respected hurt us, finances were tight, and health problems seemed to pinball between us on a quarterly basis. What began to define our love became a measure of our devotion and fellowship, rather than emotion and fond-experiences. Likewise, this young church of 96% new converts redefined love and fellowship to the surrounding population, until they were filled with “awe”.
Discipleship and mutual fellowship were redefined in the Acts 2 church through their seeking what God was saying, and prayerfully guiding one another to walk in obedient response. Making disciples of Jesus requires love: that is, devotion and fellowship. Our love for one another must be evidenced, not by bigger buildings and occupied seats, but in new measures: The ability to forgive and worship, the willingness to pray and sacrifice, the desire to listen and encourage, and a conviction toward a common mission: that Christ be made famous among this generation and the next, until the work is done.
- Is your love for God fueled by devotion and fellowship, or emotions and experiences?
- How does the answer to the previous question affect your relationship with the community of believers God has placed you in?
- In a world of fake wonders, special effects, and editing do you think the modern church would be turning more heads if miracles took the form of grand signs or overwhelming application of this redefined “love”?
- What is God saying to you and what are you going to do in response?
In Christ with Love,
Kairos Ministry Resident