This passage is part of the very first church sermon, given by Peter, on the day of Pentecost…the day the Holy Spirit descended on God’s gathered people. Today’s passage gives us a picture of what the Church really is supposed to be like. Peter provides a vision of real community through relationships developed and strengthened.
Today, people want real community and many come looking for it in the church. Real community is more than just being friendly. Friendly is easy to do – smiling faces…warm handshakes and kind hellos are nice but without the right foundation they lack what most people long for most out of the Church…deep, authentic relationships. Authentic relationships when the storms of life arrive…authentic relationships that are developed and nurtured during the good times of life, preparing you when the storms arrive.
We are given a clear picture of what it takes to grow in authentic relationship with each other:
- God’s gathered people were devoted to teaching – they studied God’s Word
- They spent time together…they ate together…everyday…they prayed
- Their time together yielded glad and sincere hearts praising God (i.e., daily living worship)
We then see what happens when authentic relationships are the heartbeat of God’s gathered people….”The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” The Church grows!!!
Devotional Thought: Consider all those that come through our doors Sunday or any other day…their first thought is not about the mission, vision and values of our church…their first thought is this: “Can I find authentic relationships here?” Authentic relationships…real community, are more than being friendly – it’s about demonstrating “God’s goodness to everyone”…this is how the first church grew and I believe it is how God will grow our church as well.
I close with one of my favorite prayers from Ephesians 3:14-21 that can further help strengthen your foundation in Jesus: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”