Christian Community: Acts 2:44-47
“44) And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45) and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46) 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, 47) 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 ‭2‬:‭44‬-‭47‬
As we study these four verses, we discover that the early church became an organic living body. They developed a strong bond because of their common love for Jesus Christ. There were three primary characteristics that described them:
A deep commitment to Christian Community typified by interdependent relationships. Unity in the Spirit expressed by daily fellowship and worship of God in awe and holiness. Abundant fruitfulness described by favor with all the people and spontaneous growth on a daily basis.
It can be concluded that these characteristics were based on the genuine fruit of the Spirit among them. (Galatians 5:22-26) They fulfilled the words of Jesus recorded in John 13:34-35; “34) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35) By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Many groups over the years have tried to emulate the early believers. They usually become exclusive rather than inclusive and often take on cultish tendencies. Because Jesus Christ and agape love was the glue that held the early believers together, they were not dominated by a charismatic dictatorial leader that emotionally controlled and spiritually abused the people. Everyone from the Apostles to the newest believer practiced mutual servanthood.
I see this text as being descriptive and not prescriptive. I do not believe God wants every local church to become communal. I believe Ephesians 4:1-16 captures the essence and spirit of Christian community that God wants to create in every local church. This text in the book of Ephesians should be studied side by side with Acts 2:41-47.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter; Cofounder of GoServ Global