Your Life Is Not Your Fortress
From the very first day, the believers in Acts 2 knew they were to be a Family and that their lives were to be poured into one another. None of them had ever before done anything like that. They weren’t used to that. Before they became Christians, they were just like most people in the world. They lived how they wanted to live and worked where they wanted to work. Their family was their little fortress or castle. They would leave their fortress and go attend something. They’d attend work, or attend recreation or attend some family function. But their life was their fortress—their life was very much their own.
Jesus said, “It won’t be that way any longer. Your life is not your own. You were bought for a price. You were bought by My blood and now you’ll have a hundred mothers, brothers and sisters. If you’ll forsake your life, you will have a hundred intimate relationships as close as you ever had with your mother or as close as you ever had with your child. You’ll have a hundred intimate relationships.
“You will have a hundred mothers, brothers, and sisters, if you’ll forsake your life instead of holding onto it—if you will deny your very self, take up your cross and come after Me.” Get out of your shell, get out of your comfort zone, and get out of your bad habits of selfish living. Get out of, “This is Saturday, the day I sleep in. This is my family day.”
What is Family, anyway? Jesus told us what Family is when someone said, “Blessed is the womb that bore you.” He replied, “I love my mom, but no, you’re wrong. To the contrary, blessed are those who love my Father and obey His will and lay down their lives.”
He didn’t say, “Yes, my mom’s great, she’s pretty special.” To the contrary, He said, “Rather, blessed are those who obey…” Sure, He knew she was special. An angel announced how special she was. But that was not the issue. He said, “If she obeys my Father then she’s really special and if she doesn’t then she’s not so special.”
“Blessed is the womb that bore you.”
“Jesus, Your mother, brothers and sisters are outside waiting for You.”
And Jesus said, “Who are my mother, brothers and sisters?”
“Looking at those seated in the circle around Him, Jesus said, ‘Here is my family.’” Read it, it’s in there. “Seated in the circle around Him…” He said of them, “These are my mother, brothers and sisters” (Mark 3:33-35). Was that an insult to James, Jude or Mary? No. He was saying that the Second birth is more important than the first birth.
To Nicodemus He said, “Unless you’ve been born a second time, you can’t enter the kingdom.” You have nothing without being twice-born. Jesus was saying that the Second birth, being twice-born, becomes our tie. Biology no longer is the highest tie. Jesus said that about His own mother, Mary, so how dare we say anything less? I’m not as special as Mary was so you better be willing to say to me, “You are very dear to me and I love you. But if you won’t obey my Father then I’m sorry.” Even if you have the same last name as me and we are biologically related, Jesus said that the Second birth is more important than the first birth. When we see that, we begin to see that we now have a hundred mothers, brother and sisters.
When we live that way, pouring out our life for others as if they were our own children, then we’re on to something. Does that have anything to do with meeting in a house versus meeting in a big building? Either way it will be easier to see people more if you don’t attend some place and go back into your own life.
I’m just not so sure that we can’t be totally intertwined in each other’s lives even if there were five thousand people. With each person we see there is a connection. We see this person and this person with whom we’ve been very close. With this other person our heart breaks and we find a way to love them. These people here know these other people and we’re introduced to each other. With five thousand people, we can be connected to one another and intertwined. There were 3,120 people of one accord in Acts 2, right? It didn’t have anything to do with “a maximum of fifteen.” Where is that in the Bible?
I understand that kind of mindset is out there and there are books written about “group dynamics.” But show me in the Bible where you can’t be intimate with more than 9—15 people, and if you try you have to break it up. Show me that in the Bible. You won’t find it because it’s not in there. There was three thousand in ONE Church—that wasn’t a whole bunch of churches. That was one church and ALL the believers were together and had all things in common. It was an organic life. It wasn’t a gimmick, a program or an administrated life.
It was a change of heart where all had forsaken their very lives and now see the Second birth as being the definition of who they are and who they ever hope to be. Because they’ve been born a second time of water and the Spirit, that is now their connectedness. “Who are my mother, brothers and sisters?”
“Blessed is the womb that bore You.”
“Au contraire. No way! That’s not how I define my life,” said Jesus.
If we’ll stop defining our life by my space, my time, my possessions, my comfort zone, my biological family, what I like, what I want…“I’ll attend you, but I’m not going to give my life to you”…If we’ll stop defining our lives improperly, then we’ll be daily and public and from house to house.
Somebody might say, “Oh, you’re a home church.” Well… I am a Christian, yes. And I have a lot of people that I’m deeply in love with, yes. And, yes, we spend a lot of time in homes. But we also spend it together on the streets and highways and byways and back alleys telling people about Jesus. It really doesn’t have anything to do with my house or much to do with meetings. It has everything to do with my passion being that every single day and every single hour that I have, and every possession that I own, belongs to my Lord Jesus. And by His Spirit, I want to be His hands and His eyes. And no one says to another member of the body, “I have no need of you until next Sunday or next meeting.” We’re intimately joined together just as your wrist is joined to your forearm. There’s no separating the two. I don’t have any meetings between my hand and my forearm!
There are no meetings. I don’t call any meetings between my foot and my ankle. They are just a part of each other every single day. And another thing is, my highest level of communication with my foot is not me telling my foot, “Hey, foot, move over here and shake.” That’s very external, isn’t it? The reason why my foot can shake is because we are permanently joined together through the head. That’s the nature of a church. You could put that in a house or anywhere else if you wanted to. It doesn’t really matter. If I have that level of intimacy with my brothers and sisters, then Jesus can put us anywhere He wants to put us.