Finding True Community
There is a lot of talk about community today, and the reason for it is because there is such a lack of it. People live isolated independent lives that leaves them cut off from relationships. The social media craze leaves people with thousands of friends but no one to talk to. With people searching for community and identity in that community, the biblical teaching provides as an attractive and provoking solution. Acts 2:42 gives an enticing portrayal of the early Christian community. It says of them,
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
This close knit community is devoted to one another, glad and sincere in what they do, willing to give away what they have for others; they are sharing, in constant contact, praying for each other, and united in a common faith. It is a compelling picture of what community can and should be. Sadly, many churches do not have this type community and many Christians thinks this is just a nostalgic portion of Scripture.
Dennis Johnson said, “Luke does not intend his description to be a nostalgic retrospect of “the good ol days” long gone, but rather a pattern for the present.” So the question is how does one gain this community? Acts shows it is a relationship with God that makes it possible.
Talk of creating community often centers on the community. But the most important thing to know about Christian community is that community is not most important. It is a by product of a life with God. True community only happens when there is a true relationship with God.
What brought these people together? What catalyzed their community? To understand that you have to go back to Peter’s preaching in verse 40-41,
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Conversion (v40-41) precedes community (v42-46). People often lack community because they lack a relationship with God. It’s a powerful reminder that if we are alone, isolated, and cutoff then it probably isn’t just community that we need. It’s an active vibrant walk with God. Serving Christ is what creates deep friendship, sacrificial love, faithful devotion, willingness to overlook differences, and unity in purpose. It creates the community everyone desires.