Thursday, April 5, 2018
Acts 4:32-33: Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
For those of us who grew up through the sixties and seventies, when someone used the term, "commune," another term came up in conversation. That term was communist. It was a big deal in the what is now the former Soviet Union. There were supposed to be no personal possessions. Everyone, whether formerly rich or poor, lived out of the same pool of resources and opportunities. It sounds like the early Christian communities as described above. So, were the early Christians communists?
The answer is, "No," not in the sense the word was used in the sixties and seventies. There are two major differences with the Socialistic experiment and the community of the Church. The first difference is, the Christian community is voluntary. The Church gathered together willingly by means of faith through the powerful preaching of God's Word done by the Apostles. They freely responded to the Word of the resurrection of Jesus and the life that He gave and decided to be in community.
Sounds like the Church today. We freely give of ourselves to "live together" in community to hear the Word of God preached in its' purity and truth, proclaiming the eyewitness of Jesus' resurrection. We live and serve for the building up of the Church. We are of one heart and mind and faith based upon the promises of God in Christ Jesus.
The second reason why the Church was not communistic was the foundation on which the Church was based. The Church is based upon the life changing and life giving life of Jesus. For you cannot have a "utopia on earth" without Jesus, without His love, and without His mercy. Does the Church have her issues? We do because we're still sinners looking for power, influence, and control. This is of what we need to be forgiven; being like God. And we were, are, and always will be. When we, the modern Church surrender our will and life to God, give up our illusions of power, influence, and control and recognize that the power, influence, and control belong to God, then we will be more fully the utopian, yet not utopian. Because the only utopian place is with God and that will be in heaven. So the Church was, and is, a Jesus based commune. God, lead us to be more communal in heart, mind, and soul based upon Jesus, Amen.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.