One of the features of our modern culture is our intense population density, yet we lack togetherness. We have proximity without community.
In these verses, we read of the community life of the prototype church. They shared the common experience of hearing the gospel, repentance, and baptism, and now they shared a common devotion. (The idea of the word is attachment like glue.) They stuck to the apostolic teaching and to the community and the breaking of bread. (The “breaking of bread” may indicate the Lord’s Supper or hospitality and prayer—see verse 46.)
Jesus had prayed in John 17:23 for the complete unity of believers. We now see this deep unity built around a common experience and common devotion.
This even extended to a Spirit-motivated voluntary socialism (vv. 44–45). We may think that the church was fairly self-absorbed, but no, their pooling of resources was to meet human need. At a time when government was not concerned for social welfare and life was cut-throat and cheap, no wonder people were impressed with this new society growing up in their midst in Jerusalem “enjoying the favour of all the people” (v. 47).
Again Luke reminds us that this impressive community is not just a matter of people turning over a new leaf, but is superintended by God (v. 43). God enabled the apostles to do wonders and “the Lord added to their” (v. 47). This is God at work through the life and witness of His people.
The church is never to be a closed, secret, and introverted community. All true fellowship is founded upon and focused on the gospel. All true fellowship overflows into evangelism which, after all, is the overarching mandate of the church (Acts 1:8).
You need such a fellowship with your fellow believers. The fractured world needs to see church communities witnessing to the reality of substantially restored human relationships because of the gospel.
How can you encourage your local fellowship to be more like its prototype?
Note how often community words are used in verses 42 to 47. How does this church challenge our unhealthy individualism?