Joined and Knit As Family
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” Acts 2:42-47 (NIV).
Do you know that these were baby Christians? These weren’t fifteen-year-old Christians that had finally learned how to let go of their lives and to love and care for each other like a family. These were baby Christians. This is the Word of Jesus to new believers even, that you let go of your lives and merge your lives together as One. The Bible speaks of contending as one man for the faith and being of one accord. It speaks of being of one heart, one soul, and one mind and no one saying to another part of the body, “I have no need of you” (1Cor. 12:21). The Scriptures speak of a Christian as one who has lost his life into the Life of Jesus and into the life of the Body of Jesus. It’s clear that if we’re disconnected from the Head who is Christ, then we die. But it holds equally true that if we disconnect any part of the body and throw it over to the side, the body dies. That’s because my arm needs my shoulder, my heart and my lungs. My fingers are in need of my hand and my hands help my feet, my head, my ears and my eyes. They are all connected. What if all the parts of your body were only connected to your head? That would be very ugly! And very useless, right? Jesus designed us as a body to be, as the Bible says, “Joined and knit together by every supporting ligament” (Col. 2:19). The Bible says we are all supposed to be interconnected to each other and together connected to the Head.
In a practical way, that means, “Be called alongside one another daily, warn one another daily, admonish one another daily, encourage one another daily, as long as it’s called today” (Hebrews 3:13). If you won’t do that, you will be hardened and deceived by sin. That means that I could never be spiritual enough or read my Bible enough or pray enough that I don’t need you. I will be hardened and deceived by sin, if I think I can have my own relationship with God and I don’t need your gifts, insights, and wisdom. I’ll be hardened and deceived if I say, “I don’t need you to help me see the weeds that need to be pulled in my life. I don’t need that. I pray so much. I’m sooo spiritual, and I have a Bible college degree, and I, I, I, me, me, me….” That is not the message of the Scriptures. Jesus says we will have “a hundred mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, lands and possessions.” He desires and even demands that we be intertwined on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, everyday. Jesus desires that I help you fix your house or take care of your yard. And you help me go shopping and we work together to fix a meal. I sacrifice myself to come and help you on your job when you get a little bit behind. It’s not, “Well, that’s your job.” No, that’s our job.
If it were your child, you would help them, right? If your child is sick, you stay up all night cradling them. If your child is having difficulties, even when he gets older, with his marriage or with his job, a parent is always there to help, right? So it shall be in the House of God, the Family of God. When our hearts and minds are conformed to the Word of God and the ways of God, we won’t want to “attend” church ever again. You can’t “attend” your child. You can’t “attend” your family. You can be together with your family, but you can’t “attend” your family—because they’re a part of you! And when your family is all in one place, that’s a wonderful thing, but that kind of time isn’t what your life centers around. Having a meeting in your living room doesn’t define your family. That would make it an orphanage, not a family.
Being family is when you rise up, sit down and walk along the way, sharing the grace, the love and the thoughts of God together. As family, we encourage each other when we’re sad, and we bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). We confess sins one to another so that we might be healed (James 5:16). All these things are what the Scriptures have always taught, but very few Christians in the world do these things, even though they talk about them. They might know where the Bible verse is, but when was the last time they confessed their sins to another brother or sister with tears, and asked for prayer? When was the last time they “bore a burden” that was more than an announcement at the church building? Have they instead been with them, involved in their life, and seen their need firsthand? They were at their house and saw the bare cabinets, and it broke their heart. So they sneak away, buy groceries, and make sure, as the Bible says, “There were no needy persons among them” (Acts 4:34). That means that whatever we have together, somehow we find a way to make sure, to the best of our ability, everyone’s needs are met at least as well as mine are. Maybe my needs aren’t met very well, and I don’t have a lot of extra resources, but no one that I love and care for who is a part of the Family of God will be needier than I am. In the Family of God—a hundred mothers, brothers, sisters—I won’t let that happen. I might be needy, but I will never let anyone be needier than I am. Would you let your child be hungrier than you are? NO! We would never do that! We would never eat and then allow our child to be hungrier than we are. A good parent would never do that. It would be a deranged, insane, self-centered, evil parent that would let his child be hungrier than he or she is. And so it is in the Family of God.