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How The Body Of Christ Began

October 2, 2016

Greetings,

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”  Acts 2: 42-47

Wow, the second chapter of Acts…I love the band and the book.  The book gives us a close up view of the Body of Christ in its infancy and tells how the Gospel spread beyond Jerusalem. What I love about the church is how simple it begins and grows.  It was a total God thing and not really a man thing, but The Spirit spoke through and used many ordinary everyday people to get the message out.

The apostles’ teaching was a major focal point, but even it was not complicated.  The apostles’ teaching was not a real matter of doctrine and didactics.  It was simply those who had spent real time with Jesus, sharing what Jesus had said and done among and within them.  It was those who had been with Jesus telling real stories about Jesus.

Fellowship or koinonia was also crucial in those early days and this meant that mutual participation and partnership in the gospel was taking place among all those who believed. During this excellent fellowship the early believers broke bread together and prayed.  Because of what Jesus had done and the unity that they shared they were all filled with awe and many amazing things happened.

It says that all the believers were together and that they shared EVERYTHING in common.  To me this means that everything they had was freely shared, including leadership, their message, possessions and everything else.  No one in the early church there went without; they shared every good thing with each other.

The early church was NOT just a Sunday morning and Wednesday evening kind of thing.  They shared fellowship with each other EVERY single day.  They were out in public in the temple courts and they also met to eat and share Jesus everyday with each other in their homes. When they gathered for the fellowship meal they did so with glad and sincere hearts.  They were praising God 24/7 and because of this they also enjoyed the good favor of all the people in their community.  It is no wonder why people were getting saved everyday

That is the church that was, but what about the church today?  Where is the unity, The Spirit, the power and the awe of God in today’s church?  I hate to say it, but it is really practically impossible to find anywhere today.  We have very little unity because we have chosen uniformity of doctrine over oneness in Jesus.  Instead of flowing freely in the Holy Spirit we have chosen to be led by our understanding of the bible.  Instead of power and awe we have accepted complacency and rote religion.  And finally instead of making disciples in the manner of Jesus, we make mere converts after the traditions and ways of man.  We also traded free & open, Spirit led conversations and dialogue for sermons and monologues from mere “men”. You may say I am being too critical, but in all honesty I do not think I have even begun to scratch the surface of the modern “churches” problems.

The solution?  I think we will find part of it in returning to the simplicity of the early church.  We need to have open hearts and open homes, plus an openness to the ways of The Spirit.  We need to unify over Jesus and not divide over complex doctrines that might not be of Christ in the first place.  We need to be FREE, open and available.  We need to have more meals and less meetings.  We need to value the priesthood of every believer and dismantle ANY hierarchy that places ANY believer OVER and Above other believers.  What we need is Faith, Hope and Love. Well there is a start.  Anyone care to add or subtract?  If so please share a comment?

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

 

 

 

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37 Comments
  1. I’ve puzzled over this ever since I came out of my childhood denomination about 10 years ago. I’ve participated in one lovely home church, but, when this fell apart over two factions trying to be leaders, I’ve not had any such fellowship until very recently. I think part of the problem of this group was that it was purposely organized and “set up” by a small group. But I could be wrong. Do you think that a planned, purposeful organization process can re-create what the original Christians experienced? Or do you think that “organic” “accidental” unplanned fellowship will lead toward that ideal? Not sure I’m being very clear here, but respond if it’s clear.

    Thanks,

    Win

    • Win, this may sound confusing, but I have also found it to be true. We need to be both intentional and spontaneous to allow the Spirit to lead us in such matters of churching together. Programs and organization don’t really work, but being purposeful and in the Spirit in the moment does. The only planning the hc’s I relate to do is to set the time and place and coordination of the food. Spiritually we are wide open and find it best to allow the Spirit to fly us by the seat of our pants rather than having a set in stone liturgy or meeting plan. Hope this helps?

      • "BK" permalink

        That was my thought exactly, Christopher….there is room for both. As I just said in response to Janet, the ‘death’ comes when either becomes forced or mechanical instead of a life flow. I love knowing we get together here at 10am Sunday mornings when we are in town. I also love everytime someone stops in and spontaneous prayer breaks forth; or Bible questions come and a discussion ensues; or we drink coffee and talk about anything. While the word ‘re-create’ is an alive sounding word, I’m not sure we would want to recreate the early church and what they experienced. To begin to walk into the relationship they had with Him and each other so we have OUR TODAY experiences, pertinent to our culture and time in life; battles we face; sharing the love He has shown us and we now experience. I’ve seen the ditch on both sides of the road…..’we CAN’T have set times! God forbid we be that religious!’ ‘we can’t have “Bible study” and be religious!” to the other side that we can’t find Him in the preciousness of dining together; discussing our understanding of scripture without the stumbling stone of thinking we have become religious”. So I guess I just have to be redundant and say “It’s a way of life” a flowing together whether at 10am Sunday morning or bumping into you or someone at the grocery store. The scripture doesn’t say “SAY the name of Jesus in all things”, I believe it says “DO IT IN His name.” He is ever present. He doesn’t need to be forced. So I guess I’m rambling……..love, “BK”

      • I love your ramblings BK. WE need be careful not to turn following Jesus or flowing in community with others into just another CHORE we must DO. Life in Christ is about BEING in HIM and NOT about DOING things, even Spiritual things.

  2. Janet permalink

    To be honest, I love the idea of the early church description, but to live it sounds exhausting! Together 24/7! I need my alone time or time to chill without a bunch of people around. I just don’t know if that intensity can be maintained over a long haul. It’s got to be supernatural assistance to be with people that much and NOT get irratable. I know this comment is not necessarily positive and encouraging, but maybe it would be to those who feel the same. Just my deviant thoughts!

    • I hear you Janet, but remember the Holy Spirit is the great compensator and equalizer and fully equips us for whatever the situation may be. Also even Jesus took time away from the crowds to recharge and spend time alone with the Father. I am certain we will need to do the same at times. Thanks for sharing Janet!

    • "BK" permalink

      Hi, Janet. I find your questions very edifying because you are DEFINITELY not the only one with them…..so you are helping many. I would say from my experience community is both…..being together and alone. You see, if we make a ‘thing’ out of community (and I know that IS NOT what you are doing here, Christopher); we ‘must’ be ‘together and talking about the Lord 24/7″ then we have still lost the LIFE aspect. I don’t think they set out to do it, they just LIVED it. That is my experience in Him. My favorite times are when I am in a household who don’t get uncomfortable when Jesus or the Bible or such conversation come up….it just flows; ebbs and tides throughout the day and evening. However, included in this is it isn’t a ‘forced’ i.e. ‘we have to open the Bible or be sure our talk is all spiritual’, but the same comfort is in sharing recipes, life events, building together, etc. And when I need my time, unless the Lord directs otherwise, I am fine to go to myself and read a book or whatever I want to do. The key is LIFE flow. When that is the way community unfolds, unity DOES happen, and it is not exhausting. That is my experience, “BK”

      • BK, great take on the subject! We need to simply bear fruit by abiding in Christ and not try to manufacture fruit via carnal effort. It is called living life instead of allowing life to live you.

      • Janet permalink

        Thanks for the confirmation BK. I am very much a go with the flow kind of person. And maybe my thoughts stem from my desire to have the extras in MY house finally fly the coop! And I am too blunt to be with people too much and NOT be real. (sorry Christopher) I know with the Lord it all works out!

      • No need to be sorry Janet. I love both blunt and real. Just glad to have you in my life babe.

  3. I loved your comment, Chris, “a total God thing and not really a man thing, but The Spirit spoke through and used many ordinary everyday people to get the message out.”

    You then asked, “Well there is a start. Anyone care to add or subtract? If so please share a comment?”

    I think verse 44 is interesting. “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” And you then shared, “It says that all the believers were together and that they shared EVERYTHING in common.” (Acts 2:44 NIV)

    I’ve seen this very verse used by a group of people to demand that everyone is in unity with what the pastor declares. The legalism of this was nasty upon relationships!

    But I think the parallel verse of Acts 4:32 NIV adds a freeing dimension: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.”

    I pondered the question of, “How could they be of one heart in mind?”

    Eventually I ran into Ephesians 2:10 NIV which states, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

    If I start with Ephesians 2:10 for the topic of “unity” and realize that Jesus has unique assignments for each person, then those people in Acts 2 and 4 must have had common assignments in order for them to have all things in common.

    So, if each of us follows the Holy Spirit, then He will unite in the right places and the right times.

    I think Paul and Barnabas allowed their unity to actually lead to a division. In Acts 13 they are assigned by the Holy Spirit to team up together. In Acts 14 it says they finished their assignment. And in Acts 15 they had a relational blowout where they went in two different directions – but they wound up with two teams instead of one (Paul + Silas and Barnabas + John Mark). My guess is that their faithfulness got hijacked so that they missed the shift the Lord was doing.

    You then said, “That is the church that was, but what about the church today? Where is the unity, The Spirit, the power and the awe of God in today’s church? I hate to say it, but it is really practically impossible to find anywhere today.”

    I personally think the problem lies in the fact that people often start with the Group and adherence to it, rather than starting with everyone being an individual lead by the Holy Spirit. Then over time the group shifts towards a two class system of leaders and followers.

    Hence the premise of the “Twos and Threes” book I wrote which starts with the individual before the Lord and then goes to twos and threes fellowship before going to larger groups where there is a stronger temptation for one person to dominate the many. As we have seen people go through this paradigm shift, it has been great to see how their ownership of their Christian life increases which in turn has many excellent effects upon their relationships. (So, Win, this may wind up being helpful for you in what you have been experiencing.) Here is the intro that gives a little more…

    Chapter 1 – Introduction

    I am really excited about this book! For years I have had a deep heart’s desire to see Christians truly experience wonderful fellowship and through it to grow in wonderful friendships both with the Lord and each other. But my dilemma was that I never knew how to clearly communicate things that would help us all to experience true heart-to-heart fellowship in a greater way. That is until recently when Jesus helped me to understand what I had been missing, which I will state in the following claim:

    It is of great value for each of us to have the freedom to count twos and threes fellowship as more significant than things that are one to many.

    In the rest of this book I will share with you the reasons for this claim. As you read, I hope the Holy Spirit encourages you and uses this book material to establish an anchor of freedom for you to enjoy and be encouraged by 2s-and-3s fellowship all the more.

    • Thanks for sharing Scott. I really appreciate your contribution. I can see how unity happens ALONG THE WAY for those whose hearts are prepared. It happens by Divine appointment and not as a work of the flesh. From my experience I would also say it happens more often for those who have forged their individual relationship with the Lord to the point they can actually trust Jesus to widen their circle of friends in the faith. Trust is a HUGE issue in ALL relationships, but I have learned how to trust the Christ in others enough to actually begin trusting those HE is working in at any given time.

    • "BK" permalink

      Scott, I totally agree the Lord set up Paul and Barnabas’ ‘division’. He allowed the ‘fall out’ to direct them into ‘two teams’ if you will (as I think you said). The fact that Paul, Himself, asks for John Mark to bring his cloak shows they didn’t continue in a ‘divided heart’…..and I don’t think it was only over when Paul needed something; or because he saw poor John Mark finally had matured. No, I believe ‘unity’ survived the bump in the road when they could see what the Lord had in mind and they were one in heart looooooooong before Paul needed his coat. Thanks for mentioning that, “BK”

      • Very true BK. My hand and my foot can work together in unity even though they are located as far apart as possible on my body. Closeness does not automatically create unity and distance does not automatically mean division.

      • Great comments, BK! I thought it was interesting that Luke being the writer of Acts, hung out with Paul and therefore followed him through Acts and made it sound like Paul was more in the right than Barnabas, as Luke says in Acts 15 about Paul being commended by the believers, “39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” But it is not until later in the scriptures where Paul has a change of direction in wanting John Mark to be a part of things. So, I think you had excellent comments on pointing this out in a fuller way showing the Lord’s heart for the bump in the roads of relationship to eventually be smoothed out. – Scott

      • Scott and all, it is amazing how The Lord works things out in HIS timing and not ours. Bumps in the road and everything else can be overcome in HIM. Like Scott and I, we did not have a sharp disagreement, but we went separate ways for about 15 years and now the Lord has reconnected us recently and it is like we did not miss a beat. I so love Jesus and HIs ways.

  4. You said, “From my experience I would also say it happens more often for those who have forged their individual relationship with the Lord to the point they can actually trust Jesus to widen their circle of friends in the faith.”

    I think that is an excellent point, Chris!

    But I think I’d go for a qualifier on your point of, “Trust is a HUGE issue in ALL relationships, but I have learned how to trust the Christ in others enough to actually begin trusting those HE is working in at any given time.”

    I usually start with John 2:24, “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people.”

    So, I definitely trust Jesus to work in His people through His Holy Spirit. But I am careful to not entrust myself to others, but instead look to always stay solid on my own feet planted on the Holy Spirit first so that each person stays healthy before the Lord instead of giving themselves over to others – which often leads to problems in groups if each person isn’t first vital before the Lord. As it says in 2 Corinthians 8:5 NIV, “And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.”

    • Yes Scott, trust Jesus first and foremost in the work HE is doing in your heart. That trusting gives me hope for relationship with others, knowing full well if HE can do a work in me HE can also do a work in others.

  5. Well said, Chris!

  6. Jonathan Lindvall permalink

    Amen. Church was (and in reality, still is) what we are, not what we do or where we go. Church is neither an event nor a place. Ultimately it is just as absurd to speak of “going to church” as it is to say one is “going to family.” I gather with my family, but the gathering itself is not the family. We live our lives together in a location, or various locations, but the location isn’t what defines us. It is the individuals joined together in a unit, who make up a family–who make up what the church is. May the Lord build His church from the stones He gives life to. May we, together, be His restful dwelling place.

  7. "BK" permalink

    Sorry for so many comments on this one but there were so many comments by others I wanted to weigh in on also. The last one is the concept of ‘community’ meaning everyone lives together, has ‘one purse & an allowance’, etc. If someone feels God deals with them to enter into that type of community living then far be it from me to interfere, but He has dealt with me much differently. I believe there is plenty of evidence within the book of Acts to refute that and cause others to be pressured to ‘humble themselves and accept it.” Beginning in Acts 2 where it says they had all things in common; and they sold their possessions…..I would like to say it doesn’t say ALL. It clearly states they ‘from house to house’ so obviously everybody didn’t sell their houses and then live somewhere all together. I do believe they had such love and unity when someone needed something and the other has it (like James refers to) the need was met. The often pointed to story of Annanias and Sapphira where they dropped dead for ‘not giving all’ doesn’t say that at all. They LIED…..they were trying to look good. It had nothing to do with that they didn’t give the whole price of what they sold. I believe the Lord allowed the persecution on the believers in Jerusalem because they all loved each other so much and hung out when the plan was for them to take the gospel to their home countries and cities and beyond. To SHARE IT! We really do have community here in our little ghost town of Withrow…..but we all have our own home too. And we share food, money, cars, etc…..but not out of requirement, but because we want to or feel led to. And not just with those ‘in fellowship’ but with the unsavory guy at the end of the street who doesn’t bathe enough and isn’t sure he wants all the ‘Jesus’ stuff; and the guy who is drinking and having trouble in life, but also doesn’t always have enough for his daughter when it’s his turn for visitation….one of us here make sure his lights are on, water is working, there’s food in his fridge. That’s said in bragging, it’s just how we live…..wherever that is because we do travel as He leads and allows.
    Ken & I do have a general bank account separate from our own because sometimes people do want to contribute for when someone they don’t know has a need….so we put it in there, and we share it, making sure whoever receives it knows it’s not from ‘us’ but from the body of Christ.
    And I’ll end this like most of the other comments I made here….it’s a way of life. It looks different in different places and people and cultures because it is IN LIFE; in Christ. Not a religion but a life in Christ that He has proven to be perfectly capable of flowing in. And with that I’ll say thanks for ALL your patient reading! Love, “BK”

    • BK, no need to apologize for sharing your portion of the Truth in Love here. Another example of uniformity does not equal unity. At any given time one can share much while another shares less than that. I have been blessed by everyone’s comments today, both here and in facebook messages and chats.

    • "BK" permalink

      Oops! I meant to say that’s NOT said in bragging……..red-faced, “BK” :-p

  8. Dan permalink

    Kinda helped also to have Pentecost happen a few verses earlier.

    • True enough Dan, but don’t we have the fullness of the Holy Spirit available to all of us now too?

  9. Sue heumann permalink

    Beautiful discussion, thanks to God for this gift! I learn from you all. What sticks with me is this comment by Christopjer, I think….or Scott? Anyway…. “So, if each of us follows the Holy Spirit, then He will unite in the right places and the right times.” Trusting Him, not one another is the deal! I am interested in reading then”twos and threes” book by Scott…..is there a way to read that?

    • Sue, thanks for sharing. I will contact Scott and find out how to get his book. I know it is available as an e-book.

  10. My wife Bonna and I had the great privilege of getting a phone call tonight from a longtime buddy of ours ….. Chris Kirk! It was nice fellowshipping and during the chat Chris said that you Sue wanted to know how to get our “Twos and Threes” book. All of our books are at: http://www.BrooksFamilyStore.com with “Twos and Threes” being the second one listed. But since the time we published it, we combined all four of our books, including “Twos and Threes” into our newest book titled, “Four in One”. So, you can get either “Twos and Threes” by itself. Or as a part of “Four in One”. The book descriptions for all five books are at the same website (i.e. http://www.BrooksFamilyStore.com). If you have any questions or need to reach me by email, you can simply use the following webpage: http://www.scottrbrooks.com/Contact.htm
    PS I hope you are blessed by it, Sue!

    • Thanks for sharing that info Scott. I am soooooooo glad the Lord has reconnected us recently. I am glad to have you guys in my life now.

      • A big DITTO! … with a little modifying… “We are soooooooo glad the Lord has reconnected us recently. We are glad to have you in our lives now.” – Scott and Bonna

      • Jesus is SOOOOOO AWESOME at connecting and reconnecting HIS people. What HE can do is amazing when we surrender all the control of our lives to HIM.

  11. Sue heumann permalink

    Scott, thank you so much for the detailed info! I’m excited to get on it! What a wonderful connection this blog has become!👍😀

    • Thank you Sue. One of my hopes for this blog when I started it over 5 years ago was that it would be used to connect people together. Jesus is awesome!

    • Thanks, Sue! Our whole family loves good fellowship, and are delighted when people have responsive hearts to Jesus like He has given to you! And if you ever want to correspond more, the following Contact webpage emails directly to us. http://www.scottrbrooks.com/Contact.htm … And we hope Jesus blesses your socks off through the book! 🙂

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