Well, yesterday we looked the the foundation provide by Jesus that the very first believers embraced. But what good is a foundation unless something is built upon it. Right now I remembering from a previous appointment in a certain community, there was something I saw almost every day. It was a foundation for a house. What I noticed was that it was overgrown with weeds even saplings were growing up. Someone had started to build a house but got only as far as the foundation.
I don’t know the story or the reason why–but this morning I see a spiritual truth in that image. A foundation becomes worthless unless something–something worthwhile–is built upon it. In looking at the book of Acts–Acts Of The Holy Spirit In Surrendered People–those surrendered people took that foundation and began building. What they built is a far cry from most “churches” today.
Renewal and Revival are the exclusive works of God through the Holy Spirit. And it comes when we build upon that Foundation that is provided for us. You know I love to throw that phrase Kingdom of God around a lot. And there’s a life that goes along with the Kingdom. I call it The Kingdom Life. But what I’ve discovered in this journey is that it is more accurately The Koinonia Life. Koinonia is that Greek word which means “a shared, or join participation”. Look at Acts 2:43-47
43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
Acts 2:43-47 (NLT)
Here is what that first life together looked like; and take a moment to compare it with the life you see at your church:
1] There was an awe and reverence for God. There was something about what was happening that it was clear to nearly all that this was a work of God—the implication is that even those who rejected Peter’s invitation could not deny that God was present.
2] There were signs and wonders. The wonders is what caught their attention. That’s what the Greek word means—to catch the attention of others. The signs, well here’s the Greek definition of that word: that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and known. They were known by the power that was being revealed in them. This is what produced the miracles.
3] They met together. Human connection is important. They actually enjoyed seeing each other. The Benediction wasn’t the sign that church was over. It signaled that it was time to get together.
4] They shared everything. It was their shared concern for each other that they gladly helped each other.
5] They were mission focused. They were willing to give up whatever they owned when someone was in need. Others were more important than self.
6] Worship was central. Notice they did it daily. Worship was important for them. It wasn’t an act they had to do—it was the life they lived.
7] They Met in homes for Communion. They didn’t have church buildings, so homes became the key meeting place. Today in congregations that are growing, one of the key reasons is small groups. This is going back to the very beginning of Koinonia. We have only a limited supply of time, so they invested in key relationships of people who shared their passion for Jesus. Just a side note here. How did they serve Communion with a seminary-trained,-church-ordained clergy to administer it? Have we made Holy Communion so “special” that it’s not sacred unless a pastor administers it? If so, we have robbed this Moment of it’s sacredness and power.
8] They shared meals and everything with great joy. The key word is JOY. To many church pew sitters look like they are chewing on a green lemon rind in one corner of their mouth and a green persimmon in the other. Hold a mirror up to your face and ask yourself, “Would someone really want to follow Jesus based on that image?”
9] They had generous hearts. What could show the heart of God more than Generosity? No one had to earn their way into their hearts. Their hearts were open to love and embrace others.
10] Their lifestyle was characterized by praise. They weren’t complaining about their community—they were doing what the apostles did when the Holy Spirit Indwelled them—telling others of the wonderful things of God! Here’s an application—those outside the church, outside the Koinonia, see us more for what we are against that what we are for.
And the result of building this kind of life?
1] They were respected. Is the church respected today in the U.S.? Not so much. Respect is earned, and maybe we need to get back to the Koinonia Life.
2] Others became followers of Jesus, daily this happened. And make sure you pay attention to the cause of the new followers. Who added? The Lord! We work the fields, HE takes care of the harvest.
If life within a local congregation does not mirror this kind of life, then it has lost its heart, its passion, and its purpose. Remember to Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!