Focal passage: Acts 4:31-37
Growing up as a teenager in the church, I frequently found myself in an uncomfortable position. I knew intellectually that my fellow church members were my brothers and sisters in Christ, and that we shared a special bond. Despite knowing this, however, there were numerous occasions when I couldn’t help feeling as if I’d rather not have any kind of bond with a particular brother or sister.
Why did they have to be so weird? Why couldn’t they be more like my cool friends?
Sadly, I was missing a hugely important implication of the gospel. There might not be any way around the fact that a certain brother or sister was quirkier than I would prefer, but the wonder of the church is not that it is the most comfortable and homogenous social experience around. What is wondrous about it is that radically different people from all sorts of backgrounds now shared a spiritual and eternal unity, not based on common interests or heritage, but based solely on the blood of Christ.
Acts 4:31-37 beautifully illustrates a central gospel truth: as we are restored to God, we are restored to each other in unity and purpose. Sin alienates us from God and fellow man, but the gospel remedies both. We cannot experience love and unity with Christ divorced from love and unity for our brothers and sisters.
The church in Acts shows us that this unity is rooted in a common focus: namely Christ and His mission in the world. This unity finds its expression as we share with and sacrifice for one another out of a common love from and for Christ.
Reflect on the attitudes and patterns of your life. Are you marked by a bond with other believers that is rooted in what Christ has done and aimed at advancing His Kingdom on the earth? Or is your “unity” just a thinly veiled form of showing favoritism for those who are like you culturally? Are you marked by sacrificial generosity toward your brothers and sisters or do you hold tightly to what is “yours”?