“You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running, to see you again!”
We were not made to do life alone.
Jesus understood this. He didn’t spend most of his time alone or with the masses. He gathered 12 guys and a few women and said, “Let’s do life together!” Jesus hung out with them. He taught them, he modeled for them, he discipled them. And in that small group, he had a smaller group of 3 guys, Peter, James, and John.
The Apostle Paul had a small group; he gathered together with Titus, Barnabas, Silas & Timothy, Epaphroditus and John Mark.
This thing called “community” is not some new fad or some new churchy term, that has been out for a few years. As a matter of fact, the idea has been out for a long time.
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. -Acts 2:38-41
Peter preached these words on the day the Christian church was born. They began as a mega church! The very first day they started out with three thousand people! What a beginning!
So, what did those people do?
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 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, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. -Acts 2:42-47
One of the first things they did was to meet together in small groups. They broke bread in their homes. They ate together with glad and sincere hearts.
Remember in those days they didn’t have church buildings. Church buildings didn’t start appearing on to the scene until about 300 AD. For those Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, they continued to meet outside in the Temple Courts. Solomon’s Porch was an outdoor colonnade next to Herod’s Temple, the center of worship in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus.
They would come together in that large setting for cooperate praise and worship, prayer and evangelism.
“The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. They would come together regularly at Solomon’s Porch… More and more believers in the Lord, large numbers of both men and women, were added to the church…Large numbers of persons from towns around Jerusalem would gather, bringing the sick and those harassed by unclean spirits. Everyone was healed.” Acts 5:12-16
Although they were a big church of more than 5,000 people and continued to meet together every day in Solomon’s Porch beside the Temple Courts. They also devoted themselves to fellowship. That word fellowship is the Geek word, “Koinonia,” which literally means, “the shared life.”
Now brothers and sisters, here this: “Shared life” is the heart of the local church!
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to love and good works. Let us not neglect our meeting together as some people do but encourage one another especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” -Hebrews 10:24-25
We assemble to encourage one another. No doubt we can watch sermons on TV or the internet, but there’s an aspect of meeting together that is so crucial. That’s encouragement. It happens in the little conversations. When we meet in-person we say to a friend, “Hey, how is it going? You’re looking good. What’s going on? Hey, I was thinking about you the other day. I’m praying for you! These little conversations that happen when we gather in-person can be so encouraging!
It’s impossible for us to really know everybody at our church. Just like it was impossible for those early believers to know everyone on Solomon’s Porch. It’s really about what takes place out there – during the week.
People coming together in life groups.
People involved in mission, serving the community in Jesus name.
People working with our children and students.
People gathering for prayer and Bible studies.
We just come here on Sunday, to “Solomon’s Porch” and pull all our little groups together and corporately celebrate and receive a general teaching that is geared to encourage the entire body of believers or to bring unbelievers to Christ or to pray together for healing.
The church should be big enough to celebrate, but small enough to really care for people! So, when the church grows larger, it must also grow smaller. In order for us to grow spiritually we must link up in smaller groups and share life together. It’s in group life that we learn to love one another, to care for one another, be kind to one another, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens.
Remember the old TV sitcom, “Cheers”? The show was about a group of friends who gathered weekly in a fictional pub in Boston, to share their stories, and to support each other as they struggled with the realities of daily life.
What made the show so popular?
I believe it’s our longing for real friendships.
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see – Our troubles are all the same.
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.
Those places where everybody knows our name – and our history – and our personalities – and our quirks – and even all our bad jokes – and where they love us anyway, and accept us anyway, and nurture us anyway, are the places we call “home.”
The neighborhood bar is simply a counterfeit to what the Church of Jesus Christ should be!
Church needs to be a place where people can connect to God and others in deep, meaningful friendships!
Let me challenge you today to take a step forward, to step out of the shadows and say, “I want someone to know my name.”
Watch the full message:
Senior Pastor | Ginghamsburg Church