We are made for each other. We need community.
Acts 2:42-47 describes early Christians in a new community of shared life, like a new family. They were together every day, devoting themselves to learning from the apostles about the Lord’s supper, prayer, and fellowship.
In their daily fellowship, they were committed to meet and eat together, with glad and sincere hearts (Acts2:46). Such togetherness helped them see God in each other’s life.
Such fellowship implied sharing their life with honesty and sincerity, walking in the light and openly sharing who they were—their weaknesses, strengths, ugliness, and beauty. No hiding, no pretending (Acts2:46, 1 john1:7,10).
In their fellowship, they rejoiced in each other’s happiness, bore each other’s burden, and shared what they had. They did not focus on prolonging and enriching their own life because they knew they could lose all these things the next day. They were not condescending and did not separate themselves based on social status. Instead, early Christians sold their possessions to give to anyone who had needs (Acts 2:45).
They should have lots of conflict and internal turmoil because they were a diverse group of people from many cultures and classes, including Jews, Gentiles, slaves, free, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, social, anti-social, male, and female. But instead, they took off their masks, speaking the truth and praying honestly together. Such diversity and honesty did not kill their fellowship. This may be because they shared the attribute of being saved by Christ from the path of destruction.
Their hearts were filled with joy, generosity, and gratitude. Together, they worshipped and praised God, and enjoyed the favor of the people outside their community. And every day, the Lord added to them more people who were saved.
Wouldn’t it be great to have such a community? Let us commit to developing such joyful fellowship to learn about God and pray to Him. A sincere and sharing community that worship and praise God together. This will give us more meaning, joy, and love than we will ever know if we just live in the safety of spiritual isolation.
Summarized from two sermons:
One from John Ortberg (https://menlo.church/series/the-way#/modal/message/5569/mlo); and
the other from Tim Keller sermon (http://www.gospelinlife.com/free-sermon-resource;
使徒行传2：42-47描述了早期基督徒的生活。他们形成一个崭新的群体，凡物公用， 就像一个新家庭一样。 他们每天一起专心地向使徒学习如何举行圣餐，祈祷和过团契生活。
这种团契意味着以诚实和真挚来分享生命, 在光明中行。他们坦诚地面对彼此的软弱，刚强，丑陋和美丽，没有隐藏，也没有伪装 （使徒行传2:46；约翰一书1：7,10）。
在这团契中，他们为彼此的幸福感到高兴，承担彼此的负担，分享自己的所有。他们没有专注于延长自己的生命和丰富自己的生活，因为知道这些东西明天就可能完全消失。他们不傲慢地对待他人，也没有根据社会地位分开彼此。相反地，早期的基督徒将自己的财产出卖, 分给任何有需要的人 （使徒行传2:45）。
他们本来应该有许多内部的冲突和动荡，因为他们来自许多不同的文化和阶级，包括犹太人，外邦人，为奴的，自主的，富裕的，贫穷的，受过教育的，不识字的，合群的, 不合群的，以及性别的不同。然而，他们都脱下自己的面具，彼此讲真话，一起诚实地祷告。虽然他们背景不同，又坦诚相待，他们的团契却没有枯萎, 反而满有生命。其中的秘诀也许是因为他们拥有一个相同的属性—每一个人都是从毁灭之路被基督救赎出来的。
Typically, we prefer to be included, particularly in groups that make us feel special—in an inner ring, an exclusive club, an elite school, or even a street gang. The group might make us feel good or more secure about ourselves, but this implies exclusivity, treating those outside as inferior.
Christians don’t need to yearn to be included in earthly elite groups. In the days of the Old Testament, only the top Priest could be with God for just one day a year. Everyone else was excluded. But because of Christ experiencing the ultimate exclusion when He was forsaken by God the Father (Mark 15:34), we can be included in the family of God and never be forsaken by Him. We can be with God every day! With that, we clearly don’t need to be included in any worldly elite groups to feel good and secure.
Having said that, Christians should be with other Christians regularly (Hebrews 10:25). Why?
A Christian community’s main attribute is not just listening to people explain the Bible, but rather gathering in fellowship. It is where Christians help each other grow and support one another, particularly in difficult times. Oftentimes we are blind to our biggest flaws, but in community, Christians can lovingly and honestly confront and even challenge each other, so as to spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25).
But the Christian community is not a community that excludes others. The main goals of this group include welcoming and helping outsiders, and reaching out and serving even those who despise them.
Remember God loves us. Though we obviously don’t need to yearn to be members of worldly exclusive groups, we should be in a community of Christians, a group that not only helps its members, but welcomes and serves outsiders also.
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon
话虽如此，基督徒却不应该停止聚会 （希伯来书10:25）。 这是为什么呢？
基督教群体的主要特征，不是听人讲解圣经，而是在一起团契。在那里, 基督徒互相帮助成长，互相支持托住, 特别是在困难的时期。我们常常看不到自己最大的缺点，但在基督徒群体中，基督徒可用爱心坦诚地彼此面对，甚至彼此挑战，彼此促进相爱和善行（希伯来书10：24-25）。
记住上帝爱我们。虽然我们不需盼望成为世俗杰出团体的成员，但我们应该属于基督徒群体的一分子, 一个不只是帮助自己, 更是欢迎和服侍外来者的群体。
A Christian community should respect and encourage each other, confront each other’s weaknesses, and bear each other’s burden. But how to have such a community?
First: what should a Christian’s attitude be?
We tend to focus on ourselves and ignore others. But putting our needs, pleasures, and comfort over others’ would lead to debilitating conflicts, breaking down the community.
Focusing on ourselves could be a form of adultery. God hates it. He longs for our undivided love, like a husband jealously longing for the love of his wife (James 4:4-5).
Focusing on ourselves is a sign of arrogance, particularly if we think we are better. We might attack others’ fault and avoid them with contempt. God hates arrogance (James 4:6-7).
A humble person focuses less on himself. Christians should be humble and should center on and submit to God.
Humility is not a sign of weakness. Moses was extremely humble, yet he confronted the powerful Pharaoh and demanded that he gave up his slave labor force unconditionally!
Humble Christians have the courage and peace to face evil because they know God is in charge. They could even defeat the powerful devil (James 4:7). If we humble ourselves before the Lord, He will lift us up (James 4:10).
Christians should focus on Christ. Remember what Christ said. If we focus on saving our life, we would lose it, but if we focus on Christ and the gospel, we will save our life (Mark 8:34-35).
Learn from Christ. He gave up His place in heaven for us, and God the Father glorifies Him, making His name above all names. Learn from many parents, sacrificing themselves for their children and giving them life.
Further, the strong should support the weak. Learn to please our neighbors for their good and to build them up (Romans 15:1-2).
With such attitudes, the Christian community is not self-centered. Instead, through Christ, they are in complete unity, with God in their midst. Then the world will know our heavenly Father sent Christ, and has loved this community as He has loved Christ (John 17:20-23).
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon.
专注于自己可能是对上帝不忠的一种形式。上帝恨恶这种态度。祂渴望我们中心无二的爱, 就像丈夫嫉妒般地渴望妻子的愛 （雅各书4:4-5）。
专注于自己也是一个狂妄自大的迹象, 特别是觉得自己比他人好的时候。我们会攻击别人的过错，鄙视地避开他们。上帝恨恶傲慢自大的态度 （雅各书4:6-7）。
谦卑的基督徒有勇气与平安面对邪恶, 因他们知道上帝在一切的事情上掌權。 他们甚至可以击败强大的魔鬼 （雅各书4:7）。 如果我们在上帝面前谦卑自己，祂必叫我们升高 （雅各书4:10）。
基督徒群体如果拥有以上的心态, 就不是自我中心的了。 相反地，他们籍着基督完全地合而為一, 且有上帝住在他们中间。这样，世界就知道我们的天父差遣了基督, 祂爱基督徒群体就像祂爱基督一样 （约翰福音17:20-23）。
In our culture, many would rather be left alone. It may be because numerous interactions are assessed based on cost: we constantly compare what we pay out to what we get back in return. Since human relationships inherently have conflict and can be difficult at times, when things get rough, we might find it more convenient to split. Or, it may be because we have been hurt before and don’t want to get burned again. So, the preference is not to have long-term friendships.
However, tight relationship is an integral part of Christianity. One reason is because Christians are connected as the body of Christ.
During the time of Christ, the temple was very important. It was built for God to dwell in, and for people to worship Him. Many Israelites believed they would always be safe because God would not let enemies take His temple. Through prophets, God told them that this physical object would be destroyed, and they would be exiled.
In the place of the physical temple is an everlasting building, with Christ as the cornerstone. Through Christ, Christians are built into the house of God (1 Peter 2:5-6).
Christians of the past, present, and future are all linked together like a body, with Christ as the head.
Because of Christ, there is no need for any intermediary between God and humans. There is no longer a need for priests. Christians could directly pray to God, worship Him, praise Him, and ask for His blessings (1 Peter 2:5). Christians can do all these things together.
To conclude, Christians are a deeply interconnected community, united with Christ as the head. Furthermore, because of Christ, Christians can—as a close-knit group—communicate directly with the Almighty God together!
Summarized from a Tuck Bartholomew sermon
在我们的文化中，许多人宁愿孤独一个人。或许是因为许多人际关系, 都基于对代价的计算: 比较自己的支出和获得的回报。人与人的关系本质上会存在冲突，因此有时会很困难。当事情变得艰难时，我们就会觉得与在其一起，不如分开来。也可能是因为以前曾受过伤害，不想再受痛苦。所以，人们宁愿选择放弃长久的友谊。
一个以基督为基石的永恒的建筑，取替这物質性的圣殿。藉着基督，基督徒被建成为神的居所 （ 彼得一书2：5-6）。
因为基督的缘故，上帝与我们之间不需要任何中介。 祭司的需要不复存在。 基督徒可以直接向上帝祷告，敬拜祂 ，赞美祂 ，祈求祂的赐福 (彼得一书2：5)。基督徒可以一起过这样的敬虔生活。