I believe the goal of the Holy Spirit is to build us into a viable Christian community: a church that functions as a unit, with shared goals and common interests.
I have heard many preachers throughout the years express fear of living out this description of the early church, but the early church had a power and a synergy that is desperately lacking today. Could it be that our fears have kept us from reaching God’s purpose for His Church?
We have looked at Acts 2:40-47 as descriptive, but what if it is also prescriptive? If so, we must find a way in the will of God to live out His desire to build a community of believers in whatever creative ways He gives us.
Presently, our culture challenges the demands of these Scriptures. What should our response be to every challenge and challenger to our obedience?
I believe we find the answer to that question in the words of the apostle Peter as he admonishes the new converts, saying, “be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40). The Holy Spirit does this as He molds us into community. We are not speaking of communism but of “communion.” We have been blessed with the Lord’s Table, which gives us communion with our Lord Jesus and with each other.
In everyday life, we can observe how good news draws people together. People who are from different cultures, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds will embrace one another when good news is announced. Good news has a way of naturally creating community. In Christ, community is an outworking of the Gospel that we must embrace.
The Scripture continues, “then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41-42).
The Scripture goes on to say, “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44). This speaks of the willingness to share, becoming a fellowship (people with a common interest), a community that expresses Jesus Christ to the world as no individual ever could. We should notice that this tightly-woven community did not turn so inward that taking the Gospel to the lost and engaging in those outside was forgotten or ignored. In contrast, the blessing of a strong community resulted in a robust church that influenced the nations.
“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:44-47).