Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 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, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
In our series, What We Say About God, we have been looking to the qualities of our community and what they say about God to the watching world. In our third and final week, Teaching Minister Zach Van Dyke shows us the early church in the book of Acts and what it is that they displayed to those observing them. When the church first began, shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, they enjoyed "the favor of all the people" and "the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." By looking at the who, what, and how of the early church, we'll see what we we're supposed to say about God to the watching world.
Zach starts his sermon with the question “why do you go to church?” What comes to mind when you hear this question?
The early church was characterized by their togetherness, not just because it was something they did, but something that they were. How do you think members of that early church would answer why they went to church?
The church was never meant to be a place full of people with the exact same biases, opinions, and personalities. Each new member brings out something both individually and corporately that was previously unseen. Is this easy for you to believe about yourself? Is it easy for you to accept about others with whom you may be different from?
Reread Acts 2:42-47. What was it that people looking in at the early church saw? Would people see the same if they were to watch us?
Zach explains that through looking at the who, what, and how of the early church, we'll see what we we're supposed to say about God to the watching world. The who (everyone is included), the what (learn, serve and worship), and the how (praising God) all contribute to how the early church was perceived in its earliest days. Those who saw it happen discovered something about God that they didn’t once know to be true. How can this translate to our community today? What is it that we can do today to rekindle that same zeal that was attractive to those watching the early church?
All the things that are seemingly required of us to be successful don’t matter anymore under the truth of the gospel. The worst about ourselves show the best of who God is. Is this easy for you to accept? When was the last time you told the truth about yourself, and if it’s been a while, why is that? What could change for you—and for the people around you— if you were more willing to share your story truthfully?
When Peter preached his first sermon, the people who heard it were cut to the heart. They started asking—what do we do now? We’ve been designed to be people in awe. When was the last time you were in awe of something God had done? Awe of God is the thing that reminds us that our hope is not found in what we do or what we possess, but in a God who loves us enough to be broken for us. Why do you think it’s easy sometimes to lose sight of that awe? What are practical ways for you to harness it and act on that awe?
We complete our joy when we share it with others and are invited to stand in awe and praise God together. Do you have a community that you can learn, serve, and worship together in? If not, start taking steps toward community and get into a Summit Connect group.
If you already do, what is your group doing to display God to the world around you? Start talking about what you all could do both as individuals and together as a group to show off the beauty of Christ that you have found. Start telling stories that can only happen as a result of coming together and reflecting Jesus to those in your sphere of influence.