August 11, 2018
What is your concept of what a community is? What are some examples of communities?
The Oxford dictionary explanation is this: “A group of people living in the same place or having a characteristic in common.” and “The condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.”
What are the ‘for’ and ‘against’ of living in a community?
Do you live or are involved in one or more? Share your answers with your group.
Read about the community the Holy Spirit developed when the early church began.
Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-35.
Write down and discuss the points Luke recorded about the first Christian community.
What was one of the results as the Holy Spirit worked powerfully with and through these new believers? Acts 2:47, 4:31.
Discuss Danny’s thoughts from Sunday:
They joined with the other believers. It was a choice that they consciously made to be a part of. They devoted themselves to teaching, fellowship, communion and in prayer. Friends, I can come to no other conclusion than this:
‘They made the choice to be a part of the church, boots and all and then they devoted themselves, not half-heartedly but devoted, which means loyal, faithful, true blue, steadfast, constant, dedicated and devout. They allowed the Holy Spirit to really change them into the people whom God wanted them to be.’
I don’t believe that a great church can happen because we are nice on the surface. People can see right through that, you can spot a fake a mile off! But when our love for God and man entwines and the Holy Spirit transforms us from the inside out, that is true transformation. That is the change people can actually feel, because it is the real deal. They know that they are loved, by not only by our words but more importantly by our actions.
Discuss the following:
When we read the descriptions of the early church-the miracles, the sharing and generosity, the fellowship-we may wish we could have been part of this “perfect” church. In reality, the church had problems just as we do today. ‘Life Application Study Bible.’
Read Acts 6:1 about a problem which developed and the solution Acts 6:2-6.
What was the resulting fruit as the issue was addressed? Acts 6:7.
As you considered the early church above what were some of the strengths that appealed to you? What do we as a church need to be doing for the same dynamics to be operating? Consider some of Danny’s comments from Sunday:
So I pose this question, have we been designed and created to live this life in isolation or have we been created to live it together in Christian community? Why? Who finds it hard to be transparent or to be willing to let other people get close to us? Why? Fear of getting hurt, Rejection, Our own privacy, We may feel its no one else’s business, Embarrassment. It could even be a lack of time because of work or family commitments.
I think in our day and age, we have isolated ourselves to a very damaging degree in the wider community. It seems like we no longer have time for our own families, we hardly know the person next door, never the less the person down the street! Hospitality seems to be a thing of the past for many people!And quite frankly, I think society has stopped really loving and caring for those who we do life with, outside of our family! People seem to be eager to put up a post on Facebook about how we should be helping others (armchair activists), but spending actual time with real people, face to face? That seems to be a forgotten art. I wonder if the cost is too high in such a busy world we live in? Or are we too busy building our own empires or kingdoms?
Read Ephesians 3:14-20 and discuss some more of Danny’s comments.
You can be filled with the fullness of life and the power that comes from God, so that each of us can accomplish infinitely more than we could ever dare to ask or to hope. And why, so that God will be praised? But that is our choice. Do you want to be used by God to build His community, to be passionately and personally on the front lines building into people’s lives?
Or do you want to sit on the sidelines just watching the game?
It’s actually your choice, to be used by God in a wonderful way allowing Him to transform you and use you. There is no better way or privilege, than to use your life for His Kingdom sake.
No church has ever been or will ever be perfect until Christ and His followers are united at His second coming. All churches have problems. If your church’s shortcomings distress you, ask yourself: would a perfect church allow me to be a member? Then do what you can to make your church better. A church does not have to be perfect to advance the cause of Christ. ‘Life Application Study Bible.’