THE DISCIPLE’S LIFE OF COMMUNION – Fred Henry

Living fellowship with God and one another

BIBLE READING: Acts 2:42-47 – The story of the primitive church (English and French)

Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who 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.

Actes 2:42-47
Dès lors, ils s’attachaient à écouter assidûment l’enseignement des apôtres, à vivre en communion les uns avec les autres, à rompre le pain et à prier ensemble.  Tout le monde était très impressionné, car les apôtres accomplissaient beaucoup de prodiges et de signes miraculeux.  Tous les croyants vivaient unis entre eux et partageaient tout ce qu’ils possédaient.   Ils vendaient leurs propriétés et leurs biens et répartissaient l’argent entre tous, selon les besoins de chacun.  Tous les jours, d’un commun accord, ils se retrouvaient dans la cour du Temple; ils rompaient le pain dans les maisons, et prenaient leurs repas dans la joie, avec simplicité de cœur.  Ils louaient Dieu, et le peuple tout entier leur était favorable.  Le Seigneur ajoutait chaque jour à leur communauté ceux qu’il sauvait.

PRAYER:
O God, give us an understanding and a passionate desire for a daily walk of communion with you and with one another.

2 PICTURES – 3 LESSONS …

Luke 24:13-35 – “Enroute to Emmaus”
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.  They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.  As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.  He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”  They stood still, their faces downcast.  One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”  “What things?” he asked.  “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.  “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.  The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.  In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.  Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”  He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.  As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther.  But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.  When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.  They asked each other, They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”  Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

PICTURE of PERSONAL DAILY COMMUNION WITH GOD
… Through His Word, His Spirit and conversational prayer.

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Does this picture of communion and fellowship recommend to you what it does to me?
+ Times of private devotion and conversation with God.
– interaction of God’s Word / Spirit of Jesus / Our responses = CONVERSATION = COMMUNION!
It is in our life of communion with God that we begin to truly mature as Disciples of Jesus.
“… that they might be with him  …” (Mark 3:14)
It is in our life of communion with God that God’s Story and Our Story begin to merge and become ONE Story.
“… I pray that they may be ONE even as we are one” (John 17:11, 20-23)

+ Times of conversation with God in the midst of our active public life.

That’s Personal Communion with God through Jesus the Christ/Messiah!
– From a life of wandering in the dark to …
… Stopping and meditating in the light … in private personal quietness!
… Then walking in the light … out in the public concourse of life!

Turn to a 2ND PICTURE – painted this time by John … in written words …
COMMUNION WITH GOD IN COMMUNITY WITH OTHERS

1 John 1:1-4
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.  We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship/communion (koinonia) with us.  And our fellowship/communion is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.  We write this to make our joy complete.

John is describing …
Communion with God in community with others.
? Can we also can experience the full reality of Communion with God and also with One Another?
(1 John 3:19-24)
Know in our minds and hearts by faith in the name of God’s Son Jesus Christ
Know by the Spirit God gave us
Know by keeping God’s command to love one another and living in communal relationship with others who walk with God

Encouragement of participation in Community Life Groups (Acts 2:42-47) – picture of life in the primitive church.
… Groups that are …
Both Christ-centered and Communal
Disciple-making … both Life-changing and Missional

“Emmanuel” ??
Beyond “God with me” to “Emmanuel – God with Us”!
 JOY!

COMMUNION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER AS A WHOLE-CHURCH CONGREGATION
Back to the road to Emmaus picture of communion …
Jesus was made known to THEM in the breaking of the bread.

This picture speaks to our Communion of the Lord’s Supper as a whole-church congregation!
…  With The Lord’s Supper as the center-piece!
Reformed tradition
Anglo-catholic tradition
 Worship gatherings of BOTH!

(Painting by Caravaggio – “The Disciples of Emmaus”)
+ There is a distinct “togetherness” in the picture … leaning in together to hear and experience the presence of Jesus!
+ Something else – not always just the “walkers with God” present during the Lord’s Supper, but the “wanderers” also!  … Owner of the inn and meal server were also there …
Meal server focused on serving one the disciples with tray in hand but with a curious listening look.
… Owner intent on looking at Jesus and listening!
– A reminder of Paul’s words – We proclaim his death until he comes!
– He knew others would be present.
– The meaning of this meal is important for them as well!
– Picture also reminder to us all: Don’t be distracted by the logistics and mechanics of the Communion meal
… Lean in together!
… Keep your eyes on Jesus, the Messiah!

THE DISCIPLE’S LIFE OF COMMUNION
Living fellowship with God and one another
Hearts aflame – kindled by conversation with Jesus!
Fulness of Joy – times of loving and caring fellowship with one another!
Magnificient reality of God the Father and his Son Jesus clearly revealing himself to us – in the breaking of the bread!