February 3 I Wednesday
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” —Matthew 28:19-20
When we devote ourselves to the Word of God and have regular fellowship with fellow believers, the by-product of our devotion to Christ is an embrace of the community. As we experience Christ in our lives, the compassion of Christ fills our heart and develops a love for the community around us. We see this in the early church, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together...They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:44-47).
We find that relationships formed in the early church extend beyond the formal Sunday service or times of worship, to Monday through Saturday, as they gather regularly in places around the city sharing life together. The Jerusalem church was made up of citizens from every nation under heaven. There were a variety of languages, ethnicities and cultures, there were the rich, the poor, Jews and Gentiles. But the extraordinary thing is, “they had everything in common.”
What do we make of this? When Christ is the object of our devotion, the cultural, ethnic and socio-economic divides, the walls that we have created in our world, begin to crumble. Generosity and care were the hallmark of the early church. They divested themselves of possession and saw their own possessions as not their own, but Christ’s possessions that were entrusted into their care to start to share them with others in need.
In a world that is often separated by cultures, ethnicities and socio-economic boundaries, the church is a place where all people, from every nation, tribe, people and language, can come together in a blessed unity. Paul tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). If we truly experience Christ, we will embrace community and celebrate the rich tapestry of cultures that exist within the body of Christ.
As a result, we will naturally want to engage with the world around us. The Jerusalem church lived in faith, intentionally reaching others outside of the church with the gospel message of Jesus Christ. As a result, the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Oswald Smith once said, “Any church that neglects the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.” Where are we at in our journey of embracing community and sharing the gospel?
Prayer: Almighty God, thank You for creating the Church as a place with no cultural, ethnic or socio-economic walls. Thank You for welcoming me into Your body. Help me to embrace others different from me.