Communification Part 1
Has the church lost the sense of “the Family of God?” Has modern church forgotten communalism? Do we need each other anymore? Are we islands unto ourselves seeking the American Dream? So many questions…so few answers, or so it seems….
I have always believed that the Bible holds the answers and remains the one Compass which point to True North in all these issues. Upon this premise, then, comes the question, “Well how did all this work in the Bible?” Well, dear brother or sister, let me show you:
It all started in a book of the Bible we call the Acts of the apostles. So, let’s take a trip back to that time and see how they did it. The Roman occupied nation of Israel was a hotbed of social, political, and religious turmoil. There were taxes from Ceasar, ultra-Jewish traditions of men, Zealots and assassination attempts, and the one and only Messiah come to cut through the craziness. The religious world could not have been more screwed up and over-saturated with ideas and theologies.
Fast-forward to just after the disciples saw Jesus raise to life and ascend to the Father. The Savior had told them to wait to receive power, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I’m sure they really didn’t understand exactly what that was or how that was going to happen, but wait they did. Pentecost, the festival of harvest, came with special fulfillment that year, as many devout believers came from all the surrounding countries. And then the fire and the Spirit fell. They were granted with unction, quickened with divine boldness, and proclaimed the great works of God in many different tongues. Not a bad holiday, of you ask me.
Then the world changed…and the church was born.
After Peter, the fisherman gone master orator, finishes his speech…the Christian message spread like a holy epidemic in Jerusalem and Judea. 3,000 in one day…oh God, help me believe. Utterly amazing. Anyway, these young Christlings then continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teachings, fellowship, sharing meals, and in prayers. These were the foundational blocks of the growing Body. Simple enough.
Many wonders and signs were done by the apostles–miracles man, miracles.
Great fear was upon every soul because the God of their fathers whom they had read about was literally and visibly at work, moving at will through them and the masses. He rendered the inactive active; the useless, useful. The Spirit was upon them, filling them to overflowing. These vessels were pure and ready to pour. And that Living Water flowed freely.
What we are told next, in the second chapter of Acts, is what really rocks me to the core. This movement, as it were, seemed to effect completely the whole man or woman. It transformed impersonal intellectual or philosophical position to real, flesh and blood faith…and a life that just emanated a total surrender to the Lord of Hosts. These newborn believers didn’t just give God the sacrifices of their lips, in contrast, they worshiped Him with all of who they were.
We know this because the next thing we see them doing is giving ridiculously of themselves and their belongings to each others. They were, super simply, TOGETHER. They had ALL THINGS IN COMMON. Meaning, everyone’s everything was for everybody.
They SOLD THEIR POSSESSIONS & GOODS…and gave to anyone, all men…WHOEVER HAD NEED.
These statements of utter separateness to the ways of God and from self-serving behavior were almost too sweet and sacred to believe. The results spoke of an unprecedented unity and a surefire praise and adoration of Jesus the Messiah. They continued daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house…and they ate their meals with gladness and singleness of heart. They also PRAISED GOD and had favor with all people. And the Lord just added and added to the church daily…such as should be saved.
THIS is the biblical example of the Family of God? THIS is holy communalism? THIS is how we need to need each other? THIS is how we keep from being self-absorbed and conceited? Well…yes, yes, yes, and YES! Then, I guess, we need to ask how in the world we can accomplish a close example of this Acts model or pattern our modern church structure off of this. Is it even possible? I think it is, not cultish or out of the realm of possibility, but actually attainable. And we will follow this line of thought in practical application in the second part to this blog.
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.