A discussion of early church community

On July 11th, Tyler preached a sermon on community in the early church and how it applies to the way we do community today. In the first part of the sermon (which you can listen to here), he gave seven observations on early church community based on Acts 2:42-47.

In our last BASE group meetings, we had some great discussion around these points. I have listed the points below as well as some discussion questions for exploration.

I of course encourage you to explore these questions prayerfully on your own, but I am convinced that they would be best considered and discussed in the company of others in the church, particularly those in your BASE group.

Characteristics of Early Church Community

Devoted to study

  • Why is it necessary for us to study Scripture within the context of community? What benefits do we gain from doing that?

Spent time together

  • What keeps us from spending time together like we should?
  • What do we gain from time together?
  • How do we balance this with the demands of work and our family?

Devoted to prayer

  • Why should we pray within the context of community?
  • How can prayer become more organic in our lives together rather than something we program or schedule?

Met physical needs

  • What “needs” do people in a middle class suburban context have that we can meet?
  • How do we identify those needs?

Met in large and small groups

  • How do we do this more organically?
  • Why does it seem that time together always needs to be programmed for us before we will actually do it?

They were joyful

  • In what ways does community produce joy?
  • Why don’t we find more joy in community? In other words, why does community sometimes feel like something we have to do, rather than something we look forward to doing?
  • How do we find greater joy in doing life together?

The result was community-fueled mission

  • How can we do better with bringing the lost into our community?
  • What does community-fueled mission look like?

Of course I welcome discussion and questions in the comments section as well.

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2 thoughts on “A discussion of early church community

  1. Hi Joe,

    Great questions. I was thinking on the question about why we have to have our time together programmed for us like something we have to do instead of something we want to do. I’m sure it’s not always that way, but it definately is sometimes. Could it be that our focus on Jesus and the proliferation of the gospel is less than some other areas of our lives? Has our need for a comfortable social structure become a priority over our need to participate in both discipling and being discipled? Do our goals that revolve around creating comfort and security financially (and the emphasis on career and family which follow) outweigh Jesus’ commands?

    It seems silly to try to make it seem like we are anywhere near being on the right track. The enemy is at us 24/7 to keep us locked in the deception through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. Our focus is no where near 100% on Jesus and His commands. THEN, on top of that, the enemy acuses us and we buy into the lie that God is not pleased with us and that we shouldn’t think that he wants to hear our “unholy” prayers, which keeps us away from the only solution!

    I start with this: in His eyes I am as I will be: Clean! Why? Because of the blood of the Lamb. Jesus, the One who loves me, saved me! I can therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace! Does my sin now create a chasm between Him and me? Absolutely NOT! It is a reminder that He has cleansed me and desires fellowship with me ALL THE TIME, especially when I am convicted by the Holy Spirit. It’s an opportunity to be reminded of the unfathomable depth of God’s love for me, that He paid the price for my sin. Am I a new creature? Are the old things passed away? Have new things come? Do I have a new nature? By faith I say YES! I reject the accusations and by faith I press on past the flesh and sin and accusations toward the higher calling of our Lord Jesus!

    That’s where my only joy comes from. I strongly desire to be in fellowship with others who can relate to these truths, an the work of faith that is the work of believing the things that are, because He is telling us the truth!

    What makes Acts such a cool book is that it isn’t as much teaching as it is a description of what happens automatically when believers are focused on Jesus and His commands! We try to break it all down and turn it into little pieces of instruction, but that will never work because Acts isn’t the result of instruction: the first church was the result of saints who ONLY had Jesus in common, and clung to each other because they WANTED to be constantly reminded of the joy that comes from a real relationship with God, and they NEEDED the rest from the full time spiritual war they were laboring to win for God’s glory!

    Sorry to have rambled, but it’s all related (to me).

    • Vince: All I can really say in response is “yes and amen.” What you are saying really resonates with me as well and I think you are right on target here. Thanks for the comment.

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