You have to remember that the majority of these new converts did not live in Jerusalem. They were only planning on staying for a few days, and then would be returning to their homes. However, something amazing had just happened, and it appears that many of them stayed in Jerusalem. That would of course pose some problems. Where would they live? How would they be able to afford to stay in Jerusalem? What about their families back home?
Community happened out of necessity. Those who lived in Jerusalem opened up their homes to their new family. They shared everything they had. No one was in need.
Like all churches, we've been thinking through the issue of small groups. Everyone wants community, but we want it on our terms. The best community happens when it's not on our terms. True community isn't something that you can turn on and off. If community is happening, it's messy. Perhaps that's why I've experienced true community so little in my life. It brings to the surface a lot of "in your face" questions. Do I really want to sell my possessions and give to those who are in need? Do I want to open my home up to anyone, at any time. That's obviously not always the wisest thing to do (there's something called boundaries, and I believe that God has wired us with those boundaries).
That being said, I'm still faced with the question, "Do I really want to experience this type of community?"
Many people also find in this passage the primary functions of a church. This is found in verse 42. Tim Keller has a great little article on this that is worth reading. He lists the purposes this way:
- Worship and prayer
- Learning and edification
- Fellowship and community
- Outreach and evangelism
- Mercy and social concern