Being with God in Community - Radical

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Being with God in Community

As followers of Christ, we have the amazing privilege of spending time with the living God and talking to him in prayer. However, time with God was never meant to remain an experience for isolated individuals. As the body of Christ, the church was meant to be with God together. In this message from David Platt from Acts 2:42–47, we get a glimpse of the many blessings that come from gathering with our brothers and sisters in Christ as the church gathers. We were designed to experience God together and to be channels of his grace to one another and to the world around us. We were saved to be with God in community.

If you have a Bible—and I hope you or somebody around you does that you can look on with—let me invite you to open with me to Acts 2. Feel free to use the table of contents if you need to; Acts is toward the latter part of the Bible. It’s good to be together around God’s Word. For those visiting with us, my name is David Platt. I’m one of the pastors here and we are really glad you are here. 

We are in the final week of a series on “Being With God.” As a heads up, the plan is to start a new series next week in the book of Nehemiah, which I really believe is going to be encouraging and emboldening in your life, in your relationships, and in your work. We actually just read through Nehemiah in our Bible Reading Plan, for those of you who follow along with that. It’s such a timely book, particularly in light of all that we’ve come through in the world and specifically in our church over recent years. Nehemiah gives this picture of God restoring his people for a new future together. So next week, Mike is going to start in Nehemiah 1 and cast a vision for us as a church family together in the days ahead. So don’t miss next week and this new series.

Today we’re coming to the end of our 21 days of prayer and fasting. I want to encourage you, if you haven’t already, to go to mcleanbible.org/stories, and share how you have seen God work specifically through prayer over the last 21 days. We want to encourage each other with what we’ve seen God do and pray for each other as we’re still waiting for God to answer our prayers.

I won’t go into all the details now, but a few things happened in my life this last week, even the last 24 hours of this 21-day journey, that brought clear answers to some things I had prioritized to pray for during these days. I was having a similar conversation out in the lobby with somebody, sharing amazing things God has done in providing a job when they were fasting and praying for that. So obviously we’re not going to stop praying, fasting, seeking God together, and seeing God work, but it’s good to look back at these last two weeks specifically in that way. 

All that leads to our time together today, when we’re going to look in God’s Word at being with God in community. In this series, we’ve looked at being with God, being with God alone, being with God in chaos, being with God in the dark just last week, and now being with God in community. My goal today is to show you what happens, not just when a bunch of individual people spend time alone with God in prayer. Yes, we do that. Go into your room, close the door, be with God with nobody else around, receive his reward, and participate with him in what he’s doing around the world from that room. Then, gather together to be with God. It’s what we’re doing right now. But here’s the problem. If we’re not careful, we will miss the wonder of what this gathering is. Not just this gathering, but how we’re called to gather together with God in ways far beyond just this moment on a Sunday morning. 

So let’s start with Acts 2:42-47. This paragraph in God’s Word gives us, in a sense, the first full picture we have of the church in the Bible. 

So they devoted themselves whenever it was convenient on their busy calendars. They came together on time but at different times. They walked into an air-conditioned building and found a comfortable seat. They nodded to the other people in their row, some offered a smile, but they hardly looked at each other again. Instead, they fixed their eyes on the stage. They stood; some of them sang. Then they sat and watched and listened to someone speak for a while until they stood to sing one more time, after which they peeled back some cellophane to uncover a small snack. As soon as they were finished eating and drinking, they got out of there as fast as possible in order to beat the traffic. Then they waited to do it again the next week, or whenever it would work well again with their schedule…and they called it “church.” 

To be clear, that is not in the Bible. That is not Acts 2:42-47. Yet, it is how many people experience church today. Let’s look at what I hope is obvious. That is not what God said the church is to be. Now, I’m not saying some of the things I mentioned are bad, like singing and listening. No, we’re not going to turn off the air conditioning. But I want to show you in the Bible—in God’s Word—what happens when the church gathers to seek him. I want to show you how needs are met, people are healed, the dead come to life, some are delivered from prison, and others are sent out on mission to new frontiers. These people are loving each other and leading others to Christ with supernatural power. 

This was God’s design, not just for the church back then; it’s God’s design for the church now. I want to call us today, as a church based on the Bible, to refuse to settle for anything less than what we see in the Bible. To not be content with casual church attendance, but to be committed to seeking God together, standing in awe of what we see God do when we gather. That is really in Acts 2:42-47, so let’s  read it now: 

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Yes, that’s the church. Don’t you want to be a part of that? Don’t want to experience that? Here’s the good news: God wants us to experience that. He wants us to let go of some of the things in the picture of the church we’ve created and pursue the picture of the church that God has created. 

So here’s what I want to do today. It’s going to be a little different. Instead of just unpacking this passage word by word and phrase by phrase—which is what we normally do—I want to show us from a bird’s eye view what happens when the church gathers in the book of Acts. I want to read various passages in Acts, getting a glimpse of what the Bible says happens when God’s people gather to seek him. 

So turn back to chapter one. We’re going to start at the very beginning and fly through this. I’m going to show you ten different times we see God’s people gathering together before him. There are far more than ten in the book of Acts, but I’ve got to cut it off at some point. So if you’re taking notes, you’ll have ten different things to write down under the banner of what happens when God’s people gather together. 

1. We receive supernatural power.

This is in Acts 1. I love this passage. We’ll start in verse eight, where Jesus tells his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

So Jesus just promised that he was going to give these disciples supernatural power. Power from his Holy Spirit was going to come upon them. Each one was going to have the power of the Holy Spirit of God living in them. Now, watch what happens after this: “And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.”

Let’s get the scene here. When he says, “these things,” he’s referring to what he’d said before, including verse eight—that the Holy Spirit was going to come upon them and they were to be witnesses from Jerusalem to Judea to the ends of the earth. They’re standing on a mountainside. They’re really not over the fact that he’s alive. That he’s actually alive. He was dead, now he’s alive, standing there looking at them. This is pretty exciting. The gang’s back together again. They’re ready to roll. Jesus says, “All right, guys, here’s the plan. We’re going to start back in Jerusalem.” Now, think about that. What just happened in Jerusalem? They just killed Jesus in Jerusalem. If you’re a follower of Jesus, the last place you want to go is Jerusalem right now. They hate you there. But Jesus says, “That’s where we’re going to start, but that’s not where we’re going to stop. We’re going to go from there into Judea and Samaria.” 

Keep in mind that Jewish people, which is what all these disciples were, hated the Samaritans. “So yes, we’re going to go where you hate them. And that’s not all,”  Jesus says. “We’re going to go places in the world you don’t even know exist—to the end of the earth. Places you don’t even know how to get to.” 

So put yourself in these disciples’ shoes. Jesus looks at you and says, “Okay. We’re going to start in a place where they hate you, we’re going to go to a place where you hate them, then we’re going to go to places you don’t even know how to get to.” Then as soon as he says this, all of a sudden he starts floating up to heaven. We’re not talking about levitating Jesus off the ground. No, he’s shot up into the sky, then a cloud took him out of their sight. He’s gone. What do you do if you’re one of these disciples? Exactly what the Bible said they did in verse ten, “They were gazing into heaven as he went.” 

Then watch this. These two men show up. “Behold, two men stood by them in white robes.” Again, put yourself in the disciples’ shoes. You’re dumbfounded, looking up into the sky because Jesus just disappeared into a cloud. All of a sudden you look beside you and see two dudes in white robes who have come out of nowhere. What do you do then? You think, “How did these two dudes get here?” I’ll tell you how. Jesus gave this plan to his disciples, took a flight up to the right hand of the Father, sat down, and got comfortable. Then he looked down, and saw the disciples looking dumbfounded into the clouds, so he said to two angels, “Go down there and tell them to do what I told them to do.” 

You say, “You’re making that up.” No, I’m not. Look at verse 11. These men said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?” What kind of question is that? “Well, I just saw Jesus shoot up there like a rocket and a cloud took him. I’m curious to see where he went and if he’s coming back. By the way, since we’re asking questions, who in the world are you and where in the world did you come from?” 

The men say, “Oh, yeah, he’s coming back.” “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Do you know what they did after that? They did exactly what Jesus told them to do. They went into Jerusalem and gathered together in an upper room. Look at what they did in Acts 1:14: “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” 

Notice the language here. It doesn’t say, with that plan on the table, that all these with one accord devoted themselves to strategizing. They devoted themselves to whiteboarding and how they were going to put this plan into action. No. There were about 120 of them, as we find out in the next verse, and they were devoting themselves to prayer, to seeking God.  They did that day after day until, “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1). They’re gathered together in community, seeking God. 

Then watch what happens. We’ve studied this passage before, but just imagine it being the first time you’ve ever read this. Imagine if this were to happen in the room you’re sitting in right now. Verse two, “And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” The language here is describing a hurricane-force wind, but it’s just a sound. It’s not an actual hundred-mile-an-hour wind; it’s the sound of a mighty rushing wind. Imagine that happening right now in this room. Just imagine a hurricane sound, like a hurricane’s coming, but you don’t feel any wind.

Then at this moment, “divided tongues as of fire appeared to them…” What does that mean? What does that look like? What does a fire tongue look like? These “…appeared to them and rested on each one of them.” Look at the person next to you right now and picture a fire tongue resting on them. What do you do with that? “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” Jesus said in Actus 1:8 that this was going to happen: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon, and you will be my witnesses…” 

So what did they do when the Holy Spirit came upon them? They began to speak, to witness, “in other tongues.” That word tongues means various languages. They started speaking in other languages “as the Spirit gave them utterance.” They all started witnessing about Jesus in other languages. Can you imagine that? Imagine coming into this room, the Holy Spirit coming down, tongues of fire everywhere, and then all of a sudden we’re all speaking the gospel in languages we didn’t know when we came into this room. That’s a good Sunday.

Now, here’s the deal. This is obviously a unique event, the first time the Holy Spirit came upon his people. There’s never been another event like Pentecost and that’s the point. For every single Christian, when you place your faith in Jesus as the Savior and Lord of your life, at that moment you’re not just forgiven of your sin, you are filled with the same Holy Spirit who did all of this in Acts chapter two. 

This same Holy Spirit who did that in Acts 2 is in every single follower of Jesus in this room. The Holy Spirit of God is among us—the same Holy Spirit is in us; the same supernatural power is among us. Do we believe that? This changes your perspective when you gather together in a room like this, as well as in a home where you’re gathered together with brothers and sisters in Christ. When you get down on your knees together and pray, the Holy Spirit of God is in your midst. 

When God’s people gather together, we receive supernatural power.

2. We experience supernatural unity.

Notice the language back in Acts 1:14: “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer…” With one accord. It’s like they’re together as a family. Like a supernatural, otherworldly family. With supernatural, otherworldly unity. It’s the kind of unity that politics cannot create. That preferences cannot create. That ethnicity cannot create. It’s a kind of unity that only the Spirit of Jesus can create.

Just imagine the kind of unity they felt when they saw tongues of fire, not on certain ones of them, but on each one of them. Not select ones, each of them. All together. Imagine that exhilaration, that moment. Like, “We’re a part of something supernatural together.” They were together in such a way that Acts 2:44 describes it this way: “And all who believed were together and had all things in common.” 

Yes! There’s unity found when God’s people come together. They’re all on their faces together before God. Nobody is above another. No one is better than the other. Certainly, no one is going after another. Just a group of sinners, saved by the grace of God, before a holy God in such a way that you see your brother or sister in Christ and honor them. You cherish them. You love them. You build them up. You treasure them.

Why? Well, for so many reasons, but one of the reasons is because you honor, love, cherish, and treasure the Holy Spirit in them. It will change the way you look at, speak to, speak about, and interact with someone else when you realize the Holy Spirit of God is in that person. There’s a love and honoring that’s unique. Obviously, we love and honor anyone, but all the more so because they’re in the body of Jesus Christ and they have the indwelling Spirit of Jesus. The supernatural unity you experience together is unlike any other group you could gather within this world. 

Then watch what happens.

3. People repent of sin, come to Christ, and become a part of the Church.

As the Spirit of God is on them and they’re speaking the wonders of God in different languages, when God’s people gather together, then people repent of sin, come to Christ, and become a part of the Church. These Spirit-filled Christians are all speaking the gospel. 

Think of Peter. The last time we saw Peter, he was afraid to even say he knew Jesus. He was denying Jesus. Now he’s standing up in front of a whole crowd of people, proclaiming Jesus. Why? What’s the difference? The Holy Spirit is in Peter. So Peter says to this crowd, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself”(Acts 2:38-39). Then watch what happens in verse 41: “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Three thousand! From 120 to 3,000 in one day. 

For those doing the math, that’s a 2,500% growth. Just picture if it happened today. We’ll just use round numbers for simplicity. Imagine there are 5,000 people gathered at MBC today. That would mean by the end of today, 125,000 people would be lining up to be baptized. That’s a good Sunday. Or if there are 10,000 people gathered at MBC today, that would mean by the end of today, 250,000 people would be lining up to be baptized. 

What happens when the church gathers to seek God together? The Lord adds to their number day by day those who are being saved. Don’t you just long for that? 

4. People are healed of disease.

Then when God’s people gathered together in the book of Acts, people were healed of disease. So the next paragraph, Acts 3:1-2, says, “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.  And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.”

As the story continues, Peter looks at this guy and says, “In the name of Jesus, rise up and walk” (verse six) and the guy does! Actually, he doesn’t just rise up and walk, he rises up and leaps and praises God. Everybody is amazed. Now, obviously, the Bible does not say that every single person with disease or disability is healed when we pray for them, but mark it down: when we gather, we pray to the God who is able to heal any person of anything, the God who is able to sustain every person in everything who looks to him, which actually leads to the next point.

5. People are strengthened amidst suffering.

Before I show you this in Acts, I want to connect the dots here with last week. Last week we talked about being with God in the dark. This week we’re talking about being with God in community. Last week, one of the things we talked about was that we need to be with God in community when we’re in the dark when the healing doesn’t come like we want when the circumstances are not working out like we want, when life is crashing down. 

I was just praying between our gatherings today with a sweet sister in Christ who was about to give birth to her second child, when her husband, our brother in Christ, died suddenly two months ago. Today just so happened to be her first Sunday back. I was praying with her and she was sharing how grateful she is for our church family around her. There are so many things that people in each of the rooms where we’re gathered right now are carrying. There is so much need wherever we gather together. Whenever our church groups gather together, there are inevitably people walking through hard things. Part of God’s good design for his church is to seek him together in the middle of those things. 

This is exactly what we see here in Acts 4:23-24. For them, it was persecution they were facing. They’d been arrested. Then watch this: “When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it…, so they share what’s going on—“…they lifted their voices together to God and  said,Sovereign Lord’’” 

Together they said, “You’re the one who’s in control. You’re the one we trust. You’re the one we worship, even when things are falling apart. You’re the sovereign Lord.” I hope that is what is happening even in this gathering today, for those who are carrying all kinds of burdens. We’re coming together. We’re singing to God. We’re encouraging one another in his Word. We’re not just sitting next to each other in a row; we’re sharing life with others in such a way that we’re able to share those burdens and pray with each other. 

This prayer is so beautiful. I wish we had time to study it all. Look where it leads in verse 31:. “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” They walked away strengthened. It’s not that things were now all of a sudden easy for them in Acts 5. It’s actually the opposite. Things were even harder. But they were helping each other by gathering together. 

So mark it down. It will look different in each of our lives, but suffering will come into this world in every one of our lives. None of us, not one of us, can faithfully make it through all this fallen world brings us on our own. Every single one of us needs the strength that comes from being with God in community, seeking God together in the middle of the hard and dark.

So if you’re walking through grief alone in any way, through suffering alone in any way, I exhort you today, based on the Word of God, to find community in Christ. Get connected to community in Christ—here in this church family, or if not here, somewhere where you can pray together, share your burdens, and grieve together with hope. Let’s be a church that gathers around one another to strengthen one another amidst suffering. And this actually relates to the next one.

6. People are delivered from prison.

Again, we could camp out on each one of these, but I want you to see the super big picture. We’re going to jump to Acts 12 for this one, seeing that when God’s people gather together, people are delivered from prison. I realize we’re jumping over so much, specifically when it comes to individuals in prayer: Stephen’s prayer as he’s being stoned in Acts 7. Philip is transported by the Holy Spirit to an Ethiopian eunuch’s chariot in Acts 8. Jesus appears to Saul and Ananias in Acts 9. Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10. The founding of the church in Antioch in chapter 11.

Now in Acts 12, Peter is in prison. Let’s look at the connection with Acts 4. Verse five says, “Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” So the church is gathering together to pray for Peter in prison. Watch what happens. “Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night”—to kill him— “Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison.” I love this. Peter’s sleeping. He’s not devising jailbreaks. He’s peaceful in the middle of prison before he’s about to die. He’s able to sleep, until, “Behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his hands.” I love to see this story unfold. This angel shows up, stands next to him, shining light and what is Peter doing? He’s sleeping. So the angel strikes Peter on the side to wake him up. 

“And the angel said to him, ‘Dress yourself and put on your sandals.’ And he did so. And he said to him, ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.’” We don’t want Peter going clothesless into the streets. 

And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself…

This is why we love Peter. He’s so slow. He has been woken up by an angel, he’s been told to put on his clothes, he’s been led outside through numerous guards, the gates have been opened for him, and now he’s walking on the street in freedom. Then Peter comes to himself and says, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” It gets even better. So he goes to the church where they’re gathered together. 

When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate.

I love Rhoda. Put yourself in Peter’s shoes. You’re just realizing, “I’m an escaped prisoner in the street, so I need to go to the house where my friends are before anybody sees me.” You’re looking over your shoulder as you’re running to that house, you finally get there, and you start knocking frantically, looking behind you, Rhoda comes to the door. “Who is it?” she asks. “It’s Peter,” he says. “Let me in quick.” But she is so excited she leaves him standing at the door, goes in tells everybody, “Peter’s out of prison!” 

Now listen to what they say to her: “You are out of your mind.” Imagine that conversation. “Peter’s out of prison!” “Be quiet, Rhoda. We’re praying for Peter in prison.” “He’s out of prison.” “Quiet, you’re out of your mind, Rhoda. We’re praying. Just keep quiet.” Then in verse 15, “But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, ‘It is his angel!’”

Meanwhile, the escaped prisoner is still outside. “But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.” Maybe Rhoda was right. “But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, ‘Tell these things to James and to the brothers.’ Then he departed and went to another place.” 

What a great story. So what happens when the people of God gather together to seek God? A supernatural jail break is what happens. 

7. People are set apart for missions to new frontiers.

Then Acts 13 tells us about one of the most important moments in human history. As a result of the moment I’m about to read to you in Acts 13, over the next 200 years the entire Roman world was reached with the gospel, with new churches planted all over the place. And within the next 2,000 years, that gospel has gone out and churches have been planted in almost every country in the world. Acts 13:2-3 says this about the church in Antioch: “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting”—seeking God together— “the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” So when we seek God as we’re gathered together before him, people are set apart by God for mission to new frontiers, for the spread of the gospel to new places where the gospel hasn’t gone—and the world is changed. 

This is how the gospel gets spread to the world, through the people of God gathering together for prayer, and God saying, “It’s time for you to go, you to go, you to go.” Success in a church is not determined by what you do while sitting in seats in a building. It’s when people are leaving those seats to take on the world with the gospel. That’s what happens when God’s people gather together. They’re set apart for missions to new frontiers.

This all leads to disciples being made, and churches being multiplied in new places, new cities, in Acts 13 and 14.

8. Leaders are committed to the Lord.

Then at the end of that, Acts 14:23, says, “When they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” I love this picture. When God’s people gather together, leaders are committed to God, and they’re prayed and fasted for.

9. We maintain hope amidst hardship.

Then when God’s people gather together to seek him, we maintain hope amidst hardship. Acts 16 is a unique gathering. Paul and Silas are not together in an air-conditioned building. They’re in a prison cell, unjustly put there, and what are they doing? They’re not complaining. What does Acts 16:25 say? “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.” They’re seeking God together. “And the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken.” 

This is the first gospel choir we see in the Bible—with Paul and Silas—and they brought down the house, quite literally. If you know the rest of the story, the jailor and his household were saved. 

It’s really good to gather together when there are things going on in our lives, for which we might have reason in some minds to complain, but instead to encourage one another through prayer and singing, with the hope we have in God. Which leads to the last picture I want to show you.

10. We express and experience love for one another.

This is in Acts 20, starting in verse 36. The last half of Acts 20 chronicles a moment when Paul was with the leaders of the church in Ephesus. Before he left them, never to see them again in this world, we read this, “And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again.” 

Here’s why I want to finish with this picture. When God’s people gather together, we express and experience a depth of love and affection for one another that can only be created by the Spirit of God in our midst. We express and experience the kind of supernatural love God has designed us to experience. These are not just people in Acts 20 who sat next to each other in a service. They have sought the living God together, once a week in the gathering of the church, and other times throughout the week. 

Observation: What does the passage say?

1) Read Acts 2:42–47 aloud as a group. Let group members share observations. Try not to move into interpretation of the passage or application of what you read quite yet. Simply share what you observe.

  • What did the early believers devote themselves to in Acts 1:14, 2:42–47, and 4:23–29?
  • What elements of community did the early church experience together? Act 2:43–47
  • What else happened when the early church gathered together? Acts 2:1–4; Acts 2:38–39; Acts 3:1–8, Acts 4:31

2) How would you summarize Acts 2:42–47 in your own words?

Interpretation: What does the passage mean?

  1. What does it mean to be “devoted” to God and to one another? Ps 63:1–5, Acts 2:42 What are some of the obstacles that get in the way of our devotion? 
  2. What does it mean to be a part of a supernatural community of believers? 1 Corinthians 12:12–27 Why is community so important in the life of a believer? Acts 4:23–24, Acts 16:25–27, Acts 5:13–17
  3. What are some elements of community that are demonstrated in other portions of scripture? Read Romans 12:10–15, James 5:13–17 and Hebrews 10:23–25. 
  4. How is the church pictured in Acts different, or similar, to what believers are experiencing in our culture today? How can we push against the individualism of our culture and the false sense of community that we are tempted to settle for? John 13:34–35

Application: How can we apply this passage to our lives?

  1. What might be preventing us from experiencing the blessedness of community experienced by the early church? 
  2. What next steps do you need to take to be with God in community like we have seen in the book of Acts?
  • How might God be stirring your heart to grow in our devotion to Him and your Church Family?
  • What ways might the Lord be leading you to share your life with, and or serve, your Church and Church Family in ways that you haven’t done before? 
  • Do you sense the Lord’s calling for missions or to lead a Church Group? How might your Church Group pray and discern with you God’s calling. you to lead a Church Group? 

Acts 2:42-47 ESV

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. 

Sermon Recap

What happens when God’s people gather together?

  1. We receive supernatural power.
  2. We experience supernatural unity,
  3. People repent of sin, come to Christ, and become a part of the Church.
  4. People are healed of disease.
  5. People are strengthened amidst suffering.
  6. People are delivered from prison.
  7. People are set apart for missions to new frontiers.
  8. Leaders are committed to the Lord.
  9. We maintain hope amidst hardship.
  10. We express and experience love for one another.
David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

LESS THAN 1% OF ALL MONEY GIVEN TO MISSIONS GOES TO UNREACHED PEOPLE AND PLACES.

That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs on the planet are receiving the least amount of support. Together we can change that!