And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 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.
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Christ’s message was spread through the collaborative efforts of all. God’s love and care for his creation was demonstrated in their care for each other. They became a group who acted, thought and lived in ways opposite to the ways of the rest of mankind. They came together for teaching, fellowship, eating, and praying. Faith was exercised and practiced. They shared what they had with one another so that all needs were met. They met daily, both in the temple courts and in each others’ homes.
Contrast this group with today’s fellowship of believers. This comparison will be stated in generalities with the sure knowledge that there are exceptions though not often seen. First there is today’s practice of meeting once a week, if then, with brothers and sisters in the faith whom we barely know, rather than meeting daily and then in each others’ homes with brothers and sisters with whom we develop intimate relationships, keeping the Lord’s teachings and love at the center of those relationships. Eating together once a month, often as a fundraiser, not because we enjoy one another’s company nor to give honor to the Lord. Today’s fellowship has more continued contact with the unbelieving world than the fellowship of believers. Teaching is reduced to perhaps one hour, one day a week and that only through impassive listening to another’s lecture with no interaction, no stimulation to discussion or application. Breaking of bread or the practice of communion is reduced to impersonal ritual practiced perhaps once a month if then. There is a lack of community, teaching, growing in Christ. As a result there is also a lack of faith, little exercise and practice of faith, even less growth. Is it any wonder the present day body of believers is often weak, prone to practices that are opposite of those taught by Christ? We look more and more like the people Christ first came to; desperately in need of a savior and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. We have only ourselves to look to for a reason why and how to change.
The ‘rest of mankind’ lives for themselves. They meet only with those in whose company they can find satisfaction for their own needs. They isolate themselves in their goals and efforts to acquire much and achieve ‘success’ as defined by humanity. Now look at today’s fellowship of believers. As a rule, they only meet once a week, if then. Their time is filled up with activities that meet only their own desires and perceived needs. They meet their own needs before considering the needs of others. The question remains: how do we return to the vibrant fellowship that grew and impacted the world for Christ? It must begin with us one at a time, determining for ourselves that we will be different. We will follow the teachings of Christ and follow the will of God, directed by the Holy Spirit’s guiding. One at a time we will make a difference. One at a time we will find one another and build a fellowship that once again becomes a witness to the rest of humanity. By their love for one another, their love for God they will be known as disciples of Christ. That love and caring is so missing in today’s society of bickering, name-calling, hatred disguised as a move for ‘change.’ The change needed must first take place in each heart given over to love the Lord, in submission to His will. That change will come as the Holy Spirit is permitted to work in each of our lives, without our blocking or hindering it through selfish desires. “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Be an agent of change, allow the Lord to do the work through each of us.