They were continually devoting themselvesto the apostles' teaching and to fellowship,to the breaking of breadand to prayer.
Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.
And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;
and they beganselling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.
Day by day continuing with one mindin the temple, and breaking breadfrom house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,
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 2:42-47)
What was it these early cell group / church people were feeling?
How many of them were there? (There is a difference between a cell of 12 and a gathering of 120)
Is this prescriptive of a church or a cell group? What is the difference?
Is there a difference between "being together” and "having fellowship”?
What is the meaning of "had all things in common” / began selling their possessions / sharing with anyone in need?
Is this like Communism?
What is the difference between “property" and “possessions”?
Are you seriously suggesting I should sell my house and give the money to the church?
Is the secret to seeing this kind of thing happen these days, being in church everyday?
Should we have communal meals every day?
Should we have communion more than once a month? Like every day?
Do you think you could fit into this church?
What would it take for you to fit into this church and enable this system to work?
What significant changes would you need to make to your "modus operandi”?
What is the secret to seeing this kind of thing happening in your church?
What is the likelihood of seeing this kind of thing happening in your church?
I suggested that you interact with me on this passage with questions or comment. It made me smile when a number of you did. I said to Tania, it’s interesting the topics or the questions which attract more responses than others. In this case namely “money" and “love”. I am also aware that there are others of you who would love to be involved in this discussion or live interaction but at the moment you are a few weeks back in reading the Gemz and are not aware of the current discussion. The strength of Gemz, apart from the depth we dig in the Bible, is the fact it is interactive. We can stay on the topic as long as there is interest. But the strength is a weakness too, in that once we have moved on from a topic, I don’t return to it. Unless Luke does. All that to say, what I am thinking at the moment is that I will delay the discussion for another Gemz or two to give more people more time to comment and get involved. With that in mind, I will spend the time firstly going through the text verse by verse and analysing the interesting elements. Then later we will return to work out why this happened and to answer some of the above questions. To facilitate discussion for you giving your input, I have also decided to label these Gemz INTERACTIVE, so you know we have a live one here.
"Every soul" - is what lies behind the English “Everyone”. (vs 43) This does not refer to everyone among the disciples or those present who witnessed the events. This refers to every believer and non-believer in region. Note how it contrasts with the subject of the following verse. “All those who believed”. "Every soul among the inhabitants" is contrasted with "all those who believed”. That is extremely important to the setting of what is going on here. Itwasnot that only those who were part of the Pentecost and post-Pentecost experience had a growing sense of awe and wonder at what God was doing. Itwasnot just the believers whohadthis sense of awe (and fear, we could say). This sense of something big happening was spreading through the whole community. I am sure all were talking about it as all had talked about the last GLOBAL signs and wonders which appeared while Jesus hung on the cross. Again something bigwashappening. The ripple effect was spreading far and wide.
Don’t forget that I have not finished the full impact of the grammatical structure yet. Remember the sense here is:
They were continually devoting themselves
to the apostles' teaching
to the breaking of bread
I want to make it clear to you where we are in the flow of this segment. We have covered the apostles teaching. We have examined “fellowship" and “breaking of bread”. We are taking some time out now to investigate the background of this community and their degree of sharing. Then we return to the last focus of their devotion – Prayer.
But for now we are looking at Luke’s statement: all those who had believed were together and had all things in common.
The statement that they were “together” conveys more than just being physically together in one place. Well, we know that they were physically together. We have already been told that was the case. Luke told us in the first verse of this chapter that "all the believers were meeting together in one place”. We know too from Acts 1:14 that “they all met together and were constantly in prayer . . . “ and again in Acts 1:24 “then they all prayed”. We have also been told that these people were together, likely in the Upper Room, post resurrection just spending time together waiting. These people were not just physically together. They shared much more than the same location. Theirs was also a spiritual togetherness born of a common experience but more than that, born of the SAME SPIRIT. That Spirit which now in-dwelt them. They shared one heart, one mind, one purpose, one expectation, one direction andone hope. There was one thing they were waiting for - the outpouring of the Spirit because that is what Jesus told them to do. And remarkably this time they did it en masse. Notice something else too. This oneness of location was expanding. At first they met in the Upper Room but this oneness ends up being taken from house to house. You will see this is the beginning of a thread which runs through the Book of Acts. Watch for it.
The notion of having all things in common is expanded for us by Luke. We are told that these believers weretogetherand hadall things in common.
How did this look, what did it mean? Well, Luke adds explanation in the verses below:
- they began selling their property and possessions
- sharing them with all
- as anyone might have need.
Day by day continuing
with one mind
in the temple,
and from house to house
taking their meals together
and sincerity of heart,
Some see Communism here and some don’t. I don’t agree that this is communism. I believe neither capitalism nor communism are capable of inspiring this kind of human response.
There is one thing I feel I need to explain. I have had a number of people ask me the meaning or the point to one quote I used in the last Gemz.
Namely: Under Capitalism man exploits man. Under Communism it’s just the opposite. John Galbraith
For those of you for whom English is a second language the meaning and the point of this may seem difficult to find. This is a very clever sentence by John Galbraith.
Under Capitalism – man exploits man. Galbraith says under Communism it’s the opposite. Meaning man exploits man. But you can’t see that he has reversed the “man"
Man (1) exploits man (2), has become man (2) exploits man (1). Or man exploits man becomes man exploits man. But either way, when mankind is involved there is exploitation. Oh, how true that is. Where communism promised much, it failed to overcome the basic problem – mans' heart. But don’t wrongly interpret what I am saying. I don’t think Capitalism has done any better. The problem is still the same. Mans’ heart. We all need a heart transplant. Am I making any sense to you? Are you putting the pieces together now?
Remember, we need to consider what it was that made this sharing community work in a way that other systems don’t. Thatis our task. How is it that this situation in Jerusalem in the 1st Century AD managed to achieve what other human systems haven’t?
Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like. Will Smith
To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. Leo Tolstoy
It doesn't matter if you have a new year if you're not willing to have a new normal! T D Jakes
He who lays up treasures in heaven looks forward to eternity; he’s moving daily toward his treasures. To him, death is gain. Randy Alcorn