One of the features of modern culture is our intense population density, yet we lack togetherness. We have proximity without community.
In these verses, we read of the community life of the prototype church. They shared the common experience of hearing the gospel, repentance, and baptism. They also shared a common devotion (the idea of the word is attachment like glue). They stuck to the apostolic teaching and to the community, to the breaking of bread and prayer. The “breaking of bread” may indicate the Lord’s Supper.
Jesus prayed in John 17:20–23 for the complete unity of believers. We now see this deep unity built around a common experience and common devotion.
This even extended to a Spirit-motivated voluntary generosity (vv. 44–45). We may think that the church was fairly self-absorbed, but no, their pooling of resources was to meet human need. At a time when the government was not concerned for social welfare and life was cutthroat and cheap, no wonder people were impressed with this new society growing up in their midst in Jerusalem, “enjoying the favour of all the people” (v. 47).
Again Luke reminds us that this impressive community is not just a matter of people turning over a new leaf, but is superintended by God (v. 43). God enabled the apostles to do wonders and “the Lord added to their number” (v. 47). This is God at work through the life and witness of His people.
The church is never to be a closed, secret, and introverted community. All true fellowship is founded upon and focused on the gospel. All true fellowship overflows into evangelism, which after all, is the overarching mandate of the church (Acts 1:8).
You need such a fellowship with your fellow believers. The fractured world needs to see church communities witnessing to the reality of substantially restored human relationships because of the gospel.
How can you encourage your local fellowship to be more like its prototype?
Note how often community words are used in verses 42–47. How does this idea challenge our unhealthy individualism?