A New Community

KEY VERSE: “All that believed were together, and had all things in common.” —Acts 2:44

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:38-47; 4:32-35

THE brief view of the Early Church we get from this interesting set of Scriptures, lets us know that in the beginning the brethren lived in a very close-knit communal environment in Jerusalem. It seems that the Lord blessed this arrangement at first, as it helped to establish their faith and activity in the Lord’s work. The apostles were their leaders and advisors, and were instrumental in developing a solid foundation to truth doctrine upon which the Early Church could build.

But, as could be expected, and no doubt predicted, this seemingly ideal arrangement would fall prey to the human weaknesses and lifestyle differences existing among the brethren involved. We are told of trouble which came as a result of some feeling that there was an inequitable distribution of food and other goods. How this way of life finally came to an end we are not informed, except we know that, in time, persecutions came which scattered them abroad, some moving to Antioch and other cities in Asia Minor, where new classes were established.

No doubt this, too, was of the Lord’s doing, as it was not his plan to have the truth movement settle down in Jerusalem among the Jews only. His purpose for the church included the Gentiles, and so it was necessary, in time, to cause circumstances which would bring brethren into Gentile areas of the world for a witness of the Gospel to all nations, in harmony with the commission our Lord had earlier left to his church through the apostles.—Luke 24:47

Our Pastor gave some sound advice on this matter for our guidance today, which we quote from his writings of September, 1885:

“True, God permitted a communistic arrangement in the primitive church … but this may have been for the purpose of illustrating to us the unwisdom of the method. And lest some, thinking of the scheme now, should conclude that the apostles did not command and organize communities, because they lacked the wisdom to concoct and carry out such methods. For not a word can be quoted from our Lord or the apostles advocating the communistic principles; but much to the contrary. …

“The apostles soon found that the management of the community would greatly interfere with their real work—their commission to preach the Gospel—“that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, beginning at Jerusalem.” So they abandoned those things to others. The Apostle Paul and others traveled from city to city preaching Christ and him crucified; but, so far as the record shows, they never mentioned communism and never organized a community: and yet St. Paul declares, “I have not shunned to declare unto you the Whole counsel of God.” This proves that communism is no part of the Gospel, nor of the counsel of God for this age. …

“Our Lord Jesus not only did not establish a community while he lived, but he never taught that such should be established. On the contrary, in his parables he taught that all have not the same number of pounds or talents given them, that each is a steward and should individually (not collectively, as a commune) manage his own affairs, and render his own account.—Matt. 25:14-28; Luke 19:13-24. (See also James 4:13,15)

“Moreover, the forming of a commune of believers is opposed to the purpose and methods of the Gospel Age. The object to this age is to witness Christ to the world, and thus to “take out a people for his name”; and to this end each believer is exhorted to be a burning and a shining light before men—the world in general—and not before and to each other merely. Hence, after permitting the first Christian commune to be established, to show that the failure to establish communes generally was not an oversight, the Lord broke it up, and scattered the believers everywhere, to preach the Gospel to every creature.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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