The Second Chapter of Acts gives us a glimpse of what the early church was like. The Spirit of God had moved mightily at Pentecost, and they were tasked with taking the news of Christ to the ends of the earth. It truly was a new hour, a new beginning, and a new day.

One recurring theme that seems to be repeated in the early church can be found at the end of Acts 2. Acts 2:44 says this: Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. Not only was togetherness the expected quality for the early church it was essential to their survival. They were the outsiders, the fringe members of society, the marginalized. Many had left families, careers, and status to follow Jesus, and now they were, for better or worse, in this together.

Other sections of Acts tell us they met together, worshiped together, prayed together, ate together, sang together, and enjoyed the favor of God together (Acts 2:42-47). Together, united, for the Gospel.

Togetherness has been a recurring theme in society. In the 1500s the words “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing…” were penned. It was set to music in the 1800s and remains in our hymnals today.

President Lincoln in the Gettysburg address called the nation to remember together “that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

President Kennedy in his inaugural address of 1961, said these words oft quoted words: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.” He followed up those words with these, “My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” Calling the world together to overcome the issues the world was facing.

The theme of being together has also been pervasive in popular music. Countless songs have been recorded about us coming together. Both The Turtles (Happy Together, 1967) and The Beatles (Come Together, 1969) had number One songs in the 1960s with the theme of being together. “We are the World” recorded by U.S.A. for Africa, may be the ultimate song calling us to come together.

Why is this important for us as believers in 2021? For the same reason, it was for the early church. The Gospel depends on it. Paul in several of his letters calls believers to unity, to togetherness.

In Colossians 2:2 he writes, I want their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love, in 2 Corinthians 1:21 he writes, now it is God who strengthens us together with you in Christ, and who has anointed us. Philippians 1:27-28 he writes that he hopes, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel.

Being united around the Gospel is our calling as believers. Perhaps Peter Scholtes said it best in 1966 when he wrote,

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord;

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord;

And we pray that all unity will one day be restored.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,

Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Joe Ball is the Pastor at First Baptist Church — Sixth and Main Streets in Russellville.

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