As Christians, we best grow in community. But we don’t need just any kind of community. We need a certain type of community. The community we need doesn’t mirror a country club. It doesn’t cater to our preferences. It is not one that won’t be real with us or confront us regarding sin. We need a community that is different than the world. One that will help us grow in Christlikeness.
A community I like to refer to as an authentic and interdependent transformative learning community.
Admittedly, that is a mouth full and can be a bit vague, so let’s break it down.
Disciples must be a part of a transformative learning community
Acts 2 is an amazing story of the power of the gospel and the work of the Spirit. Not only does the Spirit empower the disciples to witness to the people (vs 1-13). But their unique witness in the language of the people gave Peter a platform to speak the gospel to a large crowd (vs 14-36). The Spirit moved that day and about 3,000 were added to the church (vs 37-41).
That is simple amazing. Imagine your church growing by 3,000 people in one afternoon! That would be fantastic.
Notice what takes place after these folks are saved.
The church gathered together in community with one another to learn Christ.
Look at verse 42,
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”(Ac 2:42)
Notice what they did — they devoted themselves. When you devote yourself to something, you are giving yourself to an activity with an intense effort over a sustained period of time. One of the activities to which the first church devoted themselves was the apostles’ teaching about Jesus. These people went from being pagans and those wrapped up in Judaism to those who were devoted to learning a whole new way of life in Christ. As the apostles taught, they learned Christ. They learned how to think and act like Jesus.
These weren’t people who were out to get their fire insurance so that they could go to heaven one day. No, they saw the importance of stepping into a new way of life that Jesus opened up for them. The apostles’ teaching wasn’t forced on them. They didn’t go to church begrudgingly. They wanted it, so they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.
The apostles’ teaching took place in several different settings.
Look at verse 46,
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,”(Ac 2:46)
The apostles taught in a large gathered assemble, as well as in small groups. I don’t believe that one of these settings is better than the other. Instead, I believe we need both. We need to gather together in a large group where we hear the word preached. As well as we need to gather together in small groups where we are taught and able to discuss the Word.
Both of these settings are important as we seek transformation.
The church was transformed as they learned Jesus together in community.
That is the best place for transformation to take place — in community with one another. We can’t just get alone with Jesus and our Bible and expect to be transformed in the same way that we will be as we gather together with one another under and around God’s Word to learn Jesus.
We are transformed as we gather together in a learning community with other disciples who are passionately pursuing Christlikeness.Tweet
Can I just say — watching church online is not the same as being physically present with other brothers and sisters in Christ. A virtual service should not take the place of a physical service. It is helpful. It allows us to hear the Word when we otherwise would not be able to. I am thankful churches are able to offer it, especially during the unprecedented times in which we live. But it is not a substitute for gathering together in community with one another. Transformation occurs as we gather together in an authentic and interdependent learning community.
Want to keep learning?
Watch the sermon this post is based on.