Growth and Persecution – Acts 3:1-4:37

Growth and Persecution – Acts 3:1-4:37

All the believers were one in heart and mind.

It’s fascinating that this story of persecution is immediately followed by this paragraph about the believers sharing everything in common and being one in heart and mind.  While Luke doesn’t go so far as to suggest a cause-and-effect relationship, it certainly makes sense that the threats, arrests, and conspiracies would drive the early Christians even closer together.

Perhaps the North American Church is so fractured today because we lack real adversity and oppression.  Without the sort of persecution that other Christ-followers face on a daily basis, we find it easier to turn on each other, instead of directing our energy against the powers and kingdoms of this world.

Given the persecution faced by the early church, it’s nearly impossible to imagine gossip, back-biting, or criticism reaching their fingers into the community.  Instead, we see this deep love and commitment to each other, where people put the needs of the community before themselves.  They shared everything they had, and made sure that everyone was taken care of.

This sort of unity and sacrifice should be the hallmark of every Christian community.  When we share life together in this way, we reflect the image of the Triune God to the world around us.  When we put the needs of others before our own, we reflect the Christ who humbled Himself and became a servant.

We are one in the bond of love.
We are one in the bond of love.
We have joined our spirits with the Spirit of God.
We are one in the bond of love.

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