What happens when Pentecost happens? That’s our week’s question. What happens is that community happens? That’s our week’s answer. How does community happen? We’ll look at a third characteristic today. Again, the passage:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every
day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke
bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
There are a number of elements involved when Luke says the early messianists were “together.”
Third, they were economically available to one another and economically liable for one another. But let us remind ourselves of the theme: this economic fellowship of the messianists is the work of God through God’s Spirit and not an economic plan (like Obamacare or one we get from our financial planner). It the Spirit-wrought empowerment to look after one another in difficult times.
Everything they had was everyone’s — that’s how I read this text. Sure this is hyperbole but it makes the point well: they sacrificed for one another and looked after one another. Why? Because the family had been extended to other believers and to believers they became family.
To make this happen they even liquidated some of the possessions. Sure this was enthusiasm but enthusiasm isn’t all bad — the power of God at work in their midst made them enthusiastically committed to one another, and the welcomed one another at the economic level.
I know of no evidence that this hurt the community financially. What I am convinced of is that when God’s Spirit comes down upon us, we begin to live as a community that looks after one another.