Where everybody knows your name.

Acts 2.42-47, Acts #13 in the series.

The new ones came,

The old ones came . . .

Seems they couldn’t get enough of this thing that was growing; it was vital, stimulating, welcoming, life-giving and safe. It was the first Christian church.

Luke’s description: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching

and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.1


podcast: https://www.pastorwoman.net/podcast/episode/2139bad7/where-everybody-knows-your-name-acts-242-47-acts-13


They didn’t have a building with a cross out front

They didn’t have microphones or sound systems

They didn’t have a coffee cart or a choir or worship team

They didn’t have any of the trappings

that we associate with church.

BUT, they had been filled with the Holy Spirit and they wanted more… more power in their lives, more love for God, more understanding of Jesus and more time with each other. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.2 Wow! Wouldn’t you like to have been there? O, how I would!

The simple men who had been with Jesus, now filled with the Spirit, were doing miracles among the people. Radical! Peter, James and the rest of the apostles remembered what Jesus had said, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.3 You can picture the fishermen rubbing their beards and reflecting - "So this is what our Lord was talking about. We couldn’t imagine him going away—yet we saw him go into Heaven.4 ‘And do greater things than him? How could that be? Yet those things are happening as we teach the scriptures and pray together. The new brothers love hearing about the things Jesus taught, because they fulfill the old scriptures – those things we were taught from our youth."

That was the faith side of the first Christian church, but there was another piece as well. I have been to the Boston setting for the Cheers show, which I miss watching. The theme song for Cheers captures an element of living we all need: community. “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see our troubles are all the same, you wanna be where everybody knows your name.”5 The believers came together to grow in faith and love, which they shared together in community.

It is true today: the community guided by God’s love flourishes when folks come and participate from a pure heart and sincere faith. Folks experience love in action.

~What does love in action look like--in a Christian community, in our individual lives?

Love never grows weary of making room

Love always believes the best about others

Love gives the benefit of the doubt

Love protects ~ promotes confidentiality and safety

Love honors ~ love dignifies

Love reigns ~ for we hold as our highest good: Love the Lord your God

with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all

your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.6

Love bears all things ~ including one another’s burdens

Love spurs one another on to good deeds ~ including holiness

Love points people to Jesus ~ and creates an environment where

folks can learn and grow in their faith in him

Love offers grace~ we all have need of grace! Giving grace is a learning

curve that we shall surely practice all of our days.

Oh, and one more thing… Love forgives.

Do you participate in that kind of community? There is nothing like it this side

of Heaven.

song: Stay for Awhile, Amy Grant, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDZ7f2UBYis

Christine

1 – Acts 2.42

2 – Acts 2.43

3 – John 14.12

4 – Acts 1.9-11

5 - http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/cheerslyrics.html

6 - Mark 12.30-31

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