Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!
When we consider the meaning of church today, it is sometimes difficult to discern just what the essence of it is. For many, the term church carries thoughts of steeples, stained glass windows, and straight-backed pews. For others, church is a relic from the past, an irrelevant entity that occupies space in cities and towns across the land that could perhaps be put to better use. Still others view the church as a stodgy, antiquated, narrow-minded organization that pronounces judgment on people because its constituents cant understand that times are changing.
Then there are those who are part of the church. They too have views of the church. Some view the church as place of refuge, a place of help and comfort. Others view it, as it were, a hospital; a place to find healing and wholeness. There are those who view church as a place or group of people where they can be fed spiritual food. Some define the church as a group of believers who have common beliefs and principles. While all of these can be accurate descriptions of the church, it is important for us to know we all have come to the church with certain expectations. Whatever one may think about the church today, the Scripture is very clear on what the church is to look like and how it is to function.
The word church is found 77 times in the New Testament. While many thoughts from the Bible can be expressed, using different words, there is only one word for church. Its basic meaning is assembly. The inference from this is obvious: in order for us to be the church, in order for us to experience the life of the church, regardless of our differing backgrounds, cultures, points of view, or perspectives, we must be together. We simply cannot be the church unless we are together. Today we will look at the importance of the being together as the church, what exactly we do when we are together, and what can result from it.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aarons beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessinglife forever. (Ps 133:1-3)
What is the significance of its timing? It was Pentecost.
1. 50 days after the Passover, 49 days after the resurrection of Christ.
2. It is also called the Feast of Weeks and the Day of First-Fruits.
3. This feast was to celebrate the end of the grain harvest and the beginning of the harvest season (Lev 23:15-16).
4. Therefore, this day of Pentecost marked the beginning of the great harvest of souls into the kingdom of God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
What did it begin with? Or
what came first?
1. They were together. KJV with one accord. (Ac 2:1)
a. Having one mind and purpose;
b. Being in agreement c. Having group unity
d. Mutual consent
e. Forsaking not the assembling of yourselves together (He 10:23-25)
2. They were obedient.
a. (Ac 1:4-5) Wait for the Promise of the Father: they waited 7 weeks for the promisepatience; they were determined to wait
3. They were expectant.
a. They did not know what was going to happen.
b. They only knew that God would do something.
What occurred at that time?
1. The Power of God came with physical evidence of His presence (Ac 2:2)
Principle: The potential for a powerful move of God is greatly enhanced when his people are united and expectant.
What were the initial results?
1. The church, as we know it, was birthed.
2. In one day 3,000 were added to the original 120 (Ac 2:41)
What were the ongoing results? (Ac 2:42-47) What Did They Do?
1. They lived in community
a. Four Devotions to give steadfast attention to, to continue all the time in a place, to show ones self courageous for:
- Teaching they were devoted to learning the what, why, and how of following Christ. (Col 3:16)
- Fellowship they were committed to being together and to helping each other to follow Christ. (1Jn 1:5-7; Heb 10:23-25)
- Breaking Bread they ate their meals together and regularly celebrated communion together.
- Prayer they prayed with and for each other (when we pray with and for others, we are joined with them)
b. The results of this community
- They had a sense of holy awe. (Phobos) (Ac 2:43)
- Signs and wonders were taking place. (Ac 2:43)
- Selfishness gave way to selflessness. (Ac 2:44)
- They began to sacrificially help each other. (Ac 2:45)
- They became passionate about the same things (Ac 2:46) (they were together at public worship; they ate together; they were unanimous in what they believed.)
- They had a good reputation. (Ac 2:47)
- They were fruitful for Gods kingdom. (Ac 2:47)
What are some hindrances to the church being a community?
What does this mean to us?
Much of the New Testament is devoted to helping us learn how to live together as the church. From its earliest inception in the book of Acts, we see people in the church learning to how to live together, work together, pray together, and worship together. They learned lessons on how to treat each other, helping those in need, lovingly confronting those living in sin, restoring those who repented, and encouraging those who were discouraged. From those lessons learned there emerged a vibrant Christian community that was a witness which attracted many of those who came in contact with it.
1. Do I regularly get together with other Christians who know me and care about me?
2. If not, what steps can I take to enter into relationship with some of my brothers and sisters in Christ?
3. What usable value or principle did I glean from this teaching?