A Caring, Joyful, Transparent Fellowship (2:44-47)

In expression of their Spirit-inspired togetherness, the believers pooled their resources. Individuals voluntarily sold property and goods, contributed the proceeds to a fund from which any Christian (and possibly non-Christians as well) could receive help, as he or she might have need. What a standard for today's church! Indeed, "what we do or do not do with our material possessions is an indicator of the Spirit's presence or absence" (Krodel 1986:95).

The community lived out its commitment to the apostles' teaching by gathering each day in the temple courts to hear instruction. They probably met in Solomon's colonnade, at the eastern end of the court of the Gentiles (5:12; compare 5:20-21, 42, and Jesus' practice—Lk 20:1; 21:37). In the temple they also fulfilled their commitment to prayer as they engaged in corporate worship.

Daily the community broke bread together in homes—sharing a meal, beginning it with the bread and ending it with the cup of the Lord's Supper (Lk 22:19-20; 24:35; Acts 20:7, 11). With constant intimacy, exultant joy and transparency of relationship they enjoyed the graces of Messiah's salvation in a true anticipation of his banquet in the kingdom (Lk 22:30; compare Acts 16:34). It was a gracious witness to the people (laos), "Israel as the elect nation to whom the message of salvation is initially directed" (Longenecker 1981:291).

Today growing churches manifest the same "metachurch" pattern: celebration, joining in large gatherings for worship and instruction, and cell group, meeting in home groups for fellowship and nurture.

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