“Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:43-47).
Christ’s church was born in worship – for worship. God’s people gathered to wait on the Lord’s promise, not fully knowing what to expect. Then, when the Holy Spirit came upon them and filled them, their first response was to worship God. The result of their worshipping God was that “the believers were together.” They gathered together physically; but their gathering was more than proximity. They were together of “one mind” (NAS), “one accord” (KJV); that is, they were of “one passion.” When all the instruments of an orchestra are in accord they’re in tune with each other. As they play music in the same rhythm, timing, and key, the effect is beautiful.
The genuine worship of Christ, likewise, has a profound, unifying effect on His church. The Jerusalem church “had all things in common.” They regarded their own possessions as of no consequence to themselves, but many sold what they had and shared from the proceeds with one another. No, it was neither socialism nor communism. Those ideologies are state-run oligarchies that take from people by force to give to the esteemed few. Each member of the New Testament church gave as he or she saw fit because they were of one mind. Their passion for Christ brought them together in a harmonious spiritual love that defies humanistic logic.
The believers’ love for Christ produced a full-orbed devotion to each other. They sold properties and possessions to meet monetary needs. They met in the temple to meet spiritual needs. They took meals together to meet physical and social needs. Their example shows that the church is not a faceless assembly of isolated individuals; rather, it’s a family. Healthy churches, like healthy families, eat and work and share together regularly. They interact on a level of intimacy far beyond what world at large typically sees.
The shopping mall, mega-church model is fraught with obstacles to the kind of intimacy that the New Testament portrays as normal in the life of the church; but large churches aren’t the only ones that have that problem. Our consumer model of church today feeds an anonymity and isolation that promote loneliness and pretense. We go to church to get something out of it, not to give ourselves to one another in the worship of our heavenly Father.
The Jerusalem church continued in their single-minded activities “with gladness and sincerity of heart.” They honestly delighted in each other. It’s a wonderful thing to meet with Christ’s people in fellowship and communion, regardless of the activity. When the body of Christ comes together, joyfully encouraging one another in Christ, marvelous things happen. In Jerusalem, they worshipped God together and enjoyed the favor of the general community. People who weren’t the least bit spiritual honored the love they saw working among the saints of God.
Possibly the most surprising outcome of the church’s love for one another was the influence on gospel proclamation: “And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” The Holy Spirit drew people to Christ through the sincerity of the church’s love for one another. Healthy Christians make much of Christ. Healthy churches amplify that witness. Biblical evangelism doesn’t require a special program or minister or meeting. We simply need to make much of Christ together. The Lord will add to our numbers as it pleases Him.
May the Lord lead His church to make much of His name and to love one another as Christ has loved us for His glory.