In the first part of this two part post, we discussed how living life on life community with other believers is not an option but a command. In this post, I want to give you an idea about what believers in community should look like based on the early church community found in Acts 2. By examining the interaction of these believers we will get a practical view of how christians can biblically fulfill the command to live life on life community.
When we get to Acts 2, the early church in Jerusalem is off to a strong start. Peter had just preached a powerful apology for the gospel resulting in around 3,000 people coming to Christ. These believers very quickly adapted to a social structure based on the gospel that is surprisingly simple but profound:
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42 ESV)
In this one short verse we see four criteria that should form the basis for all life on life community among believers. This early church:
- Devoted themselves to the apostles teaching - Community must be based on the gospel. This must be what brings us together and unifies us. This should also be our focus. When we are together, we should discuss the gospel truth that we are being taught in corporate worship. Community becomes the lab, as it were, where we reinforce and practice the truth of the gospel.
- Fellowshipped regularly - These believers did life together. They spent time with each other. They got to know each other. The word for fellowship in this verse (koinonia) implies sharing and participation. Whatever they did whether it was work or play they learned to do it together.
- Broke Bread - This means that the early church regularly celebrated the Lord’s supper and they ate meals together. Both of these activities imply a sharing of experience in spiritual and physical realms. As believers they were in common celebrating the spiritual experience of the Lord’s supper. As people they were in common celebrating their humanity by sharing meals.
- Prayed - This community was faithful in praying for the church, for the spread of the gospel, and for each other.
It is important to note that this picture of community should not be viewed from an idealistic or utopian standpoint. They were flawed believers just as we are today. Yes they took community seriously, as should we, but they had to struggle with sin just like we do. Perfect community will not be achieved this side of heaven. When viewing this picture of the early church we should not be legalistic or rigid about what life on life community should look like rather we should be convicted that community that resembles the basics listed here should be a part of every body of believers.
So what should life on life community look like? Much of that will depend on your context. Sufficed to say that it must happen and it must happen beyond the four walls of the building where your church gathers. Community can’t have the impact that God intended unless it is active before the watching eyes of the world. After all, the last command that the Lord gave before he returned was to go and make disciples.
If you would like to ground yourself in good Biblical teaching on community consider the following:
When The Church Was A Family - Joseph Hellerman
Total Church - Steve Timmis and Tim Chester
Community - Brad House
A Meal With Jesus - Tim Chester
Life Together - Dietrich Bonhoeffer