Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.46 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,47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
So, how do we live this out? How do citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus live here on earth, like that mentioned above? How do we do this knowing perfectly well, as humans, we’re going to make mistakes, hurt each other, and most likely really piss our neighbors off at times? Is it a mandate for Christ followers to live like this? Have we fallen far from the “ideal”, and are so concerned with “myself” that something like this is “not possible” today?
I don’t think it’s a mandate, but I do believe a healthy group of Christ’s kids will be compelled to live out the values we see in this passage. Community with humility, essentially sharing to meet other’s needs… dare I say communism or socialism?
Communism is the idea of a free society with no division or alienation, where mankind is free from oppression and scarcity. A communist society would have no governments, countries, or class divisions.
Socialism is based on co-operative social relations and self-management; relatively equal power-relations and the reduction or elimination of hierarchy in the management of economic and political affairs.
So, there’s elements of communism and socialism out of this Acts 2 passage… but it’s not quite the same. There is a key difference, between the Kingdom and these types of systems… There is a government, and a strong hierarchy – with one person at the head – Jesus. This key difference is what makes the Church community function… So why do we (American/Western Jesus followers) have such a hard time living this out?
In my opinion, the ideas of sharing, selling our things, buying for others, and coming together on a nearly daily basis seems asinine to us because we do not trust. We don’t trust others, we don’t trust the “church”, we don’t trust God. First of all, we don’t need to trust others, nor the “church”, we only have to trust God. Trust and taste, and you will see that He is good.
If we can truly trust Jesus, and live by the Spirit, then we can serve others, and live without being offended. Our hearts should burn with fellowship and love for one another, but I don’t believe this burning comes without us first burning ourselves.
I have a lot more to say around this topic, and the sub topics… humility, servant-hood, living “offendlessly”, and other key ingredients to living in the Kingdom community. It’s not all about “giving up” our way of life, it’s about gaining a whole new way of life with huge benefits that our individualized way of life in American/Western culture has completely lost. Update 9/25/11: see part two of this stream of thought.