forming community

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. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet. (Acts 4:32-37, ESV)

These verses describe what a community transformed by the gospel looks like. They are united. They love each other to the degree that they are willing to sacrificially give to others in need. And they were spreading the message of Jesus' resurrection. This describes a type of church that we would all no doubt love to be a part of. But we can't afford to separate these verses from the preceding chapters and miss what has caused this.

Jesus didn't tell them to set up this sort of community and then they went away and tried really hard to create it. This community was created by the gospel - the good news about Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Jesus' followers weren't like this before the cross, the empty tomb and the arrival of the Holy Spirit. If we are concentrating on forming this type of community, it will be incredibly hard work probably doomed to failure. If we concentrate on Jesus, this sort of community follows.