This week we turn our calendars to November! Hard to believe we are in the final stretch of 2018. I already find myself thinking about holiday schedules and making sure I am ready for 2019! Over the past 10 months in our church we have talked about our theme for the year: ReaLife. So, as we plan our exit from 2018, let’s think about ReaLife again.
ReaLife has been a reminder to us to live out our faith in real life – every day, in the normal circumstances of life. ReaLife should be a reminder to us that we cannot compartmentalize our faith. Real faith in real life is lived out every day. Not just on Sundays. Not just when we are at church. One who truly follows Jesus will follow Him and serve Him 24/7.
Acts 2:42-47 is a description of Jesus-followers in the early days after Jesus’ earthly ministry. It tells how community, unity, and generosity were clear characteristics of the believers. Their example is a model for us today.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47, ESV)
They served the Lord together in community and for their community. The church learned the Scriptures together, they had fellowship together, they ate meals together, and they prayed together. They praised God together and they had favor with all the people. These kinds of things should be characteristic of us today as well.
Serving together calls for unity. There must be “unity” in “community.” Verse 44 says “all who believed were together and had all things in common.” They were unified to share what they had in order to meet the needs of the people around them. In verse 46 we read that they attended the temple together and broke bread in their homes. They did all of these things together. Unity is critical for the church to be effective in the community.
Finally, these early followers of Jesus were generous. They willingly gave what they had to help others. In verse 45 we read how they sold their possessions and belongings and distributed the money to all who had needs. God had given to them, so they gave to others. This too should be a clear characteristic of the church today. The church is to be a church for others. As a part of the church, we receive great benefits and blessings, but we are called to make disciples. That means we are to reach out to those who do not yet know Jesus and invite them to follow Him just as we have followed.
My hope and prayer for our church, and for God’s Church, is that we would live out our faith in real life every day. I pray that you and I make a godly impact on our community, that fellow believers live and serve in unity, and that we give ourselves away as we generously give to meet the needs of the people God puts in our lives.
May our faith be faith in ReaLife!