The Gospel Creates A New Community

 
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“In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

Ephesians 2:22

Stained glass windows are beautiful pieces of art created by cutting larger pieces of glass into various sizes and then assembling those pieces to tell a story. Historically, these windows served as a way to communicate stories from the Bible to those unable to read. As light would pass through the windows, the scriptures would come to life through the beautiful display.

Much like a stained glass window, the Church is created by unique individuals coming together, forged by the master artist, into a story. The story told through this work of art is one of a new community that displays the beauty of God.

On Sunday, we examined Acts 2:37-47 in continuation of the series: What is a local church? Through this scripture, we see God’s people coming together as a new community to display the beauty of God. We answered two new questions: Who is this new community? How does it display the beauty of God?

1. A Regenerated Body of Believers

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

In Acts 2:37, as Peter preaches the Gospel, scripture says that those listening were “cut to the heart.” Theologically, this is called regeneration. It is the miraculous work of God in which He breathes life into cold, human hearts and transforms them into vessels for the Holy Spirit to dwell. The people are convicted about their need for a savior and ask Peter what they must do to be saved. Peter responds, “Repent and be baptized” (verse 38).

Repent: A change of mind that results in a change of life; not a one time transaction but a lifelong commitment.

Be Baptized: An outward evidence of an inward faith; going public about following Jesus with your life

2. A People Devoted to Scripture

We see in Acts 2:42 that this new community “devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching.” It’s often easier to listen to ourselves rather than Scriptures, but this new community “devoted” their time and attention to the Word of God. Devoted means to commit or persevere, to not grow faint. The church should also be devoted and committed to scripture. Does God’s Word govern over your life? Do you submit your life to it?

3. A People United in Life

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

We also see that the community’s devotion was not only the Apostles’ teaching, but to one another in “fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42) and through trust (44a) and sharing with one another (44-46). This explains why the church is often referred to as “Family” by Christians. What does this look like in our local body?

Culture Gatherings

Doxa Communities

Future observing of the Lord’s Supper

4. A People Making the Gospel Visible

In verse 47, the new community of believers is described as having “favor with all the people.” The new community displayed the beauty of God not only as a community of local believers but to those outside the church, too.

As a regenerated people, devoted to the Scriptures and united with other believers, we make the Gospel visible. We have the opportunity to reach those who do not know Christ and introduce them to the local church…a community of believers made up of various colors and sizes, from all walks of life. Together, we create a beautiful story. A story of forgiveness, hope, and acceptance through Jesus.

 
Jeth Looney