Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Inspiring New Believers of Acts 2; part one

As I mentioned here, I landed in Acts 2 after seeing some great inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest including the above verse. I wanted to know more and immerse myself in it a bit and the context.

Acts 2:42-47, "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."

Setting the scene and even going back further than quoted above, Peter is speaking in Jerusalem just after the Holy Spirit comes in tongues of fire and wind at Pentecost. Peter "preaches up a storm" so-to-speak and near the end, those listening are convicted and ask what they should do. He presents the Gospel and about 3,000 were saved and baptized this day.

This is where we pick up - verse 42 starts with the word "they" and refers immediately back to these 3,000.

These new believers are precious, inspiring and full of beauty. It says they were devoted to four things:

* the apostles' teaching: I love that they had teachable hearts and were hungry and eager to learn!

* fellowship: the blessing of community is real! David and I talked about this recently and realized that it was a big reason we chose the piece of property we did in North Carolina. When the Property Manager says things like "slower pace of life" and "people who enjoying being outside in the beauty of nature" and you experience these things for yourself in person - it draws us in to build community with others who value this too. Same here for these new believers - they are looking for community with common-hearted souls to walk alongside this journey of life with. I also love that is says "the" fellowship - they were committed to the group, to their community, they were not selfish or focused only on themselves.

* breaking of bread: the footnote in my Bible mentions that this refers to sharing Communion together; I really want it to include the beauty of sharing a meal together which we'll see in another couple of verses.

* prayer: I am so intrigued by mentions of prayer in Scripture because it continues to be a struggle for me and I confess, I doubt desired results and feel numb to both the quantity and magnitude plus constant stream of the needs.

Verse 43 speaks of their awe both at what God was doing in them and among them. It is this new discovery of who God is and how powerful/mighty and good He is, coupled with the heightened senses from everything being new to them and witnessing these wonders and miraculous signs done by the apostles. Have I lost my sense of wonder? Often, yes, I get somewhat guarded and/or cynical.

Verse 44, "All the believers were together and had everything in common." A marginal note sends us over to Acts 4:32 which mentions, "...they were of one heart and mind..." so this brings to mind that they were not allowing things to divide them, they shared the same goals and kept peace among one another. "They had everything in common...," is a pretty big statement, but it doesn't say they were all exactly the same or that they stopped being themselves {personality} but that their purpose was unified - they wanted to grow in their new faith through fellowship and in sharpening one another.

Verse 45, "Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need." They used what they had for God's purposes; I love their generosity and the simplicity of their fresh faith. I also love that it mentions "goods" here - this is an opportunity to use the gifts God gave each of us to do something bigger than ourselves - and I secretly love that it doesn't say they sold everything they had.

They were not ruled by possessions but knew their place and their place was to serve God's people. Sometimes that means giving things away, selling things, etc. so that we have the money to give. But doesn't that also mean sometimes we buy to support a fundraiser or encourage a family who is creatively trying to earn some extra income.

Doesn't it also mean that inviting others into our homes does not mean bringing them somewhere drab and dingy? Almost every time someone new comes to our home, there is a comment made about how cozy and homey it is. I do not say this pridefully but rather with gratitude that in living out who I am within my home, God has the opportunity to overflow and welcome/bless/envelop others in that feeling of a hug when they come into our home.

The bottom line is that my resources do not need my service, but to be made available to God's use and service in various ways.

To be continued tomorrow ...


Jennifer Williams said...

Yes, yes, yes. Please write a book on "slow." I look forward to your posts so I can see how you and your family are putting "slow" into your lives. It is very inspiring! Life is so hectic, and it seems so difficult to slow down, even though my body and my spirit desperately need it! I will be the first one to buy your book for sure! :-)

Tina Leigh said...

That is an awesome bit of scripture that is so packed full of instructions for this very moment in our lives. Peter & some of the rest of the "11" , I think, had a few issues with Paul. I can imagine myself in their time and for me, I think it would be a trust issue after everything Saul did. BUT I believe they did have the same goals/Christ mindedness if you will. God made us all different with personalities & talents & gifts & be The Body! God is so smart! It gets me excited!!
Love this post!

Unknown said...

I love this, Monica! It reminds me of my exciting new days as a believer. This calls me back to again see God's grace with fresh eyes as did those precious saints in Acts!
I sincerely hope you write these slow moments into a book. Yours continues to be the only blog I regularly read. Thank you!!!