Mighty God, You are the Giver and Sustainer of all life. Infuse my life with the joy of Your Spirit.
Read Acts 2:37-47
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of God’s household” (Eph. 2:19). What a deliverance; what a new family!
It is sometimes suggested that one reason for so much ill health is emotional isolation and social alienation. That’s why it’s no wonder that those who wish to encourage the church in its task of mission urge us to reflect on one overarching biblical theme: the importance of community. If we were to live by the biblical teaching on community, they suggest, we would be truly countercultural.
Indeed, Peter’s answer to the remarkable response which his preaching evoked underlines that Christian conversion is a transfer of allegiance, leaving one community to join another. He pleaded with them to leave a “corrupt generation” (40) and to find refuge in the saved community of God’s new society. He asserts that they must repent and be baptized. In Jesus Christ, they are forgiven, receive the Spirit, and are incorporated into the covenant community, of which baptism is a sign of membership (41). Becoming a Christian, through union with Jesus Christ, is to become a member of the new community, to belong to the family of God. Again, Peter asserts there is nothing exclusive about this: it is for everyone who is called (39).
Luke then provides a brief but telling description of what this community looks like. The core priorities for every church must be these: the foundation of God’s Word through faithful teaching, the experience of the common life of believers within the one family of God, the celebration of the realities of the Gospel through the breaking of bread and sharing the cup, and the sustained commitment to dependence on God’s Spirit through our prayers (42-47). What may come as something of a surprise is Luke’s concluding observation about this kind of community: it was deeply attractive to those outside (47). May God strengthen our churches to be like that!
We are all too aware of the weaknesses of our churches but, today, pray for their renewed health and vibrancy.
Loving Lord, I am eternally grateful to be called Your child and to be called into the family of God, the community of faith.
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