The Advent Part 85
Acts 2:44-45, “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”
Unity of faith makes possible, and brings about unity of souls. Those who believed were also together, but the unity they experienced far transcended the fact that they were physically in the same place. The physical presence of a group of individuals is of no value if they are not spiritually united, as one, together both in body and in spirit. When the word speaks of the children of God being made one, and of gathering together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad, it is referring to the spiritual aspect of our lives, and not necessarily the physical.
John 17:20-23, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You have sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one; I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
True faith translates the soul to the place where Christ is. True faith snatches us from the kingdom of darkness and transmutes us into the Kingdom of light; it lifts us from the land of hatred to the heaven of love; from the world that is under the sway of the wicked one into the kingdom of the Son of His love.
Colossians 1:13-14, “He has delivered us form the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, and forgiveness of sins.”
The real, ongoing and constant battle is not keeping a group of believers together physically, but keeping them in Christ, in His life of holiness, righteousness, humility, meekness, and light both in word and in deed. All the denominational scuffles we are witness to on a daily basis would cease to be if those who call themselves Christians would understand that if we are born again we are in Christ in the heavenly places.
We see the prototype of the primary church, the first to carry the name of the Congregation of God, and there are certain things in their conduct, as well as in their experiences that leap out and deserve further introspection.
We’ve already discussed the fact that the primary church walked in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit and that many signs and wonders were done through them, and now we see their utter selflessness and the complete untethering of their hearts from the material. All who believed were together, and had all things in common, and if anyone had need the need was provided for.
So is the answer establishing a commune and extracting ourselves from the world as we know it? No, this is not the lesson we should take away from the practices of the primary church, rather the lesson we should take away is one of having enough love for the brethren to know their need and if it is within our ability, to provide for that need, and second to view the things of this world as what they truly are, not what they have been made out to be.
Even within the church the idea that material possession is the end all and be all of existence is rampant and far reaching. Many a preacher circumvent discussions on heaven, on eternity, on the home that Jesus went to prepare for the faithful and instead focus on the here and now, promising wealth, health, and success if per chance we would be willing to make a small investment into the furthering of their ministry, preferably on credit or debit cards since those could be charged each month.
Seeing as we have shifted the focus from the things of heaven and the things of the Kingdom of God to the things of this earth, perhaps it would be wise to reacquaint ourselves with the practices of the primary church, and realize that one of the reasons they had such an impact on the world was their singular desire to lift high the name of Jesus, and not their own individual names. The primary church had one goal, it had one purpose, and that was the will of God for their lives. The men and women that made up that first Congregation of God were unconcerned with fame, fortune, adulation or acceptance, they weren’t there just to put in their twenty five years and collect a nice retirement check, they labored tirelessly, giving of themselves, pouring themselves out daily so that all who beheld them knew that there was something different and unique about them.
The fact that the primary church had all things in common, although noble and loving, was not a commandment of Christ, it was not something that Jesus had commanded. It was faith which works through love that compelled them to share their resources with those in need, and it was their desire to see the gospel of Christ preached throughout that brought them to the decision of selling their possessions and goods.
Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision of uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.”
So what does this mean? Simply put, living on a commune will not make you holier, giving away everything you possess will not make you holier, it is faith working through love that God desires to see in us, and if in our hearts faith is working through love, then we will be kind, and generous, and give to those in need just as the primary church did.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.