Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

Restoring New Testament Christianity: Part 8

Note: this is part 8 of a series of articles on “Restoring New Testament Christianity”

In wrapping up this series of articles on “Restoring New Testament Christianity,” another hallmark of the New Testament church was the fellowship they practiced and community atmosphere they created. I’m struck every time I read about this with the early church in Acts.

In Acts 2:44 we read, “and all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;” in v. 46-47a we read, “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.” In Acts 4:32 we see, “And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonged to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.” In v. 34-35 of the same chapter, “For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales…and they would be distributed to each as any had need.”

The early church recognized that they were part of something much larger than themselves. Their sense of brotherhood/sisterhood was real both as local churches and as a larger body of believers across the world. We see them not only intimately involved in each other’s lives- within the local church- as in the examples above for the church in Jerusalem; but also, the early Christians were very involved in and supportive of the work of other congregations as evidenced by what we read in the valedictions of Paul’s letters and the sharing amongst churches when needs arose (1 Corinthians 16:1-4).

Unfortunately, our society has become very individualistic. Close-knit neighborhoods are a rarity anymore. Individuals are consumed by their own lives, activities, and routine. People avoid any form of dependence on others and are even more hesitant to share what they have worked hard for.

What’s even more unfortunate is that this has seemingly influenced the church. We are too busy to prioritize local Gospel meetings or Bible studies and support our brethren in the surrounding area. Hospitality (commanded by God- 1 Peter 4:8-10) is a lost art, a far cry from when the early church was sharing meals together daily. We are reticent to engage and fellowship with our brethren any time it’s not convenient or beyond the formal assembly times- largely due to filling up our lives with all sorts of other “priorities.” Our prayers have become largely self/family focused rather than kingdom and brethren focused. The recent pandemic has only escalated the distance we place between ourselves and others.

May this not be true of us. The Christianity we read about in the Bible was a beautiful community of believers prioritizing time together and sharing generously with each other. Let us consider our ways and our priorities. May we continually seek to restore Christianity to that which is presented by God in the New Testament and emphasize and practice those things that God commands and emphasizes.