Jesus said it all boils down to loving God and loving your neighbor – the people doing life around you. I want to talk about how a DISCIPLE relates with people. A DISCIPLE breaks bread FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE. How do you do with this one? When is the last time you met in a house with other believers, had a meal with them, ministered to them, and allowed them to minister to you?
By Pastor Delbert Young
From House to House
From House to House
Scriptures: Acts 2:44-47; John 13:35; Acts 2:42; Matthew 18:20; John 13:34; Romans 12:10; Galatians 5:13; Acts 2:44-45
I read a story about an old house like this in Chicago that had been left idle for years. It was run down, overgrown, abandoned. Finally, in 2001, the old rundown house went up for auction because of back taxes. Someone was semi familiar with the old house and it sold for such a low price, they bought it, if for nothing else, the property. When they went into it, they found a horrific situation. They found an old rundown house, but also found a dead man named Adolph Stick. He apparently died of natural causes. He was sitting alone in his chair. Next to Adolph Stick was a newspaper from 1997. Adolph Stick had been dead for four years and no one even noticed, not a neighbor, not a relative, not a friend. The man had been dead four years and no one cared. How does someone die and no one notices and no one cares? The Lord does not want us to do life where no one cares.
Adolph Stick is a sad story. It speaks of a life that obviously did not give to others, so no one cared about him. Once a Pharisee asked Jesus, “What’s the most important commandment of all?” Someone said there are 1,613 commands in the Bible. Without so much as a blink, Jesus took the 1,613 commands and condensed them down to an absolute focus. He said, “The most important is this, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your might, all your soul, and all your strength. This is the first and the greatest commandment. The second command is like it. You should love your neighbor as yourself.” No one cared about Adolph Stick. Could it be because he didn’t care about anyone? Jesus said it all boils down to loving God and loving your neighbor – people doing life around you. It all comes down to our relationship with God and our relationship with people. Today, without blinking an eye, I want to talk about how a DISCIPLE relates with people. A DISCIPLEbreaks bread FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE. How do you do with this one? When is the last time you met in a house with other believers, had a meal with them, ministered to them, and allowed them to minister to you? Let’s talk.
Today, I want to talk to you about the relational aspect of being a disciple.
Acts 2:44-47 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
So, this is a major part of reaching a community, reaching family, and reaching friends. Allow me to give you just a few examples of this and I could go on for days. When I first came here to minister, I would go over to Linda and Willis Wilkey’s house nearly every week and they would feed me. Their family and friends would come by and we would talk about the Bible. I think that every single one that came by ended up coming here to church, i.e. Duran and Valerie. A few years ago, we were doing a Life Group at Joe Chambers, and Mike and Wanda came. I think the next Sunday they began coming to church. It’s nearly a given. If you get people to a Life Group, they will come to the Lord.
Acts 2 reflects, in many ways, the heartbeat and the philosophy of what church is supposed to be. A disciple does life with other disciples. A disciple of Jesus breaks bread FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE.
The disciples met in two different places. They met publicly in the temple courts. That would be much like we are doing now. Secondly, they met together to break bread FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE. They did that in their homes regularly. Doing life together was important to them. Is it important to you?
The meals in the New Testament were much more like our Thanksgiving meals. People gathered together. There were several courses of food and around those meals relations developed. They did life together and it was a high priority to the disciples for their own spiritual well being, plus the tremendous effect it had to reach those far from God. People saw their love for each other and bought in.
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Let’s look at two key thoughts about breaking bread FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE. (1) FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE DEMANDS EXTREME COMMITMENT. The context of Acts 2 is the Day of Pentecost. The disciples first took the gospel of the kingdom of God to the streets where three thousand people came to Christ and were baptized. Then they took it to the homes where daily people came to Christ. The “three thousand” from Pentecost sounds like “WOW!” However, if you think about it, more people came to the Lord FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE than did from the big “Pentecost” meeting. It’s called “Personal Evangelism.”
Acts 2:42 They DEVOTED THEMSELVES to  the apostles’ teaching and to  the fellowship, to  the breaking of bread and to  prayer.
They devoted themselves – extreme commitment. What happened here was neither accidental nor incidental. The disciples intentionally devoted their own selves to four issues: (1) the apostles’ teaching; (2) the fellowship; (3) the breaking of bread; and (4) prayer. How many of those are you devoted to doing? You are ok on the teaching part, but on the other three, most of us are weak.
The Greek word translated fellowship is an interesting word. It is koinonia (Strong’s #2842) and means partnership, participation, (social) intercourse.It is an intense word. Don’t let your mind drift in a sexual nature. Keep it relational. It is a relational nakedness. It is doing life at such an intimate level with fellow believers that your life is open.
How many of you are actively involved in a Life Group? How many are not actively involved in a Life Group? Life Groups represent Biblical community. You are only getting half of church if you do not have Biblical community. We tend to come up with reasons not to go. A disciple will find reasons to go – extremely devoted.
After church on Sunday, I enjoy going home and crashing. I get up at 5:30 on Sundays and begin preparing. After church, I capture the lesson and upload to the internet where every month, thousands of people read, listen, and watch the sermons. It takes all afternoon and since Lance left, Judy and I have not been faithful to Life Groups. I have lots of excuses and that is all they are – excuses. Last week, Judy and I went to the hospital immediately after church. Then we went home. Then we went to one of our Ringgold Life Groups. It was so refreshing. I had forgotten how good it felt to go. I was greatly encouraged. I listened to people devoting themselves to the teaching of the Word, to fellowshipping together, to breaking bread, and to praying for each other. I got to watch and hear what God was doing in the lives of people. It was not accidental. It was intentional. It was Biblical community. How can people say, “I’m too busy” for what Jesus said was most important – loving your neighbor (those doing life around you)?
We have talked over the past weeks about the difference of being a part of a “Christian belief system” and being a “DISCIPLE.” Jesus called us to be disciples and to make disciples, not Christians. We are not called to simply be a part of a “social belief system.” To me, there is a profound difference between a “Christian” (social belief system) and a DISCIPLE. I have said it this way: Every DISCIPLE is a Christian, but every Christian is not a DISCIPLE.
A DISCIPLE will have a personal relationship with Jesus. It has to be personal because no one can do that for you. However, THOUGH YOU HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST, IT WAS NEVER INTENDED TO BE PRIVATE. DISCIPLES, the followers of Jesus in the New Testament, rather than having a personal relationship, experienced a shared relationship. What I see so much today in “Christianity” is an “It’s God and me.” “I’ve got God in me and I am fine. I don’t need a church. I don’t need other people. It’s me and God and we are fine.” Well, not if Jesus meant what he said about not only loving God, but loving people. It must be a shared relationship where people share his reality with each other.
Matthew 18:20 For where TWO OR THREE COME TOGETHER IN MY NAME, there am I with them.
There is something profoundly powerful about his presence when we come together participating in the family of Christ.
The way we do life today has to be heartbreaking to God. We are so busy making money, making a name, going here, getting the kids to their activities, got to go here and here and here. Many families today don’t even eat together. Why?
The evolution of society has stopped us from knowing our neighbors and sometimes our own families. Before the air conditioner, people would sit on the front porch and talk to their neighbors. Now we stay inside. We have garages so we can drive in and doors that close behind us. We don’t even see our neighbors. We fence in the back yard. We have answering machines so we do not need to talk to people. Add to that the wonderful caller ID to see if we even want to talk at all. We do our banking online and shop online. We can even download movies or get them delivered to the mailbox. It seems everything society offers causes us to avoid people – our neighbors – rather than love them. It is strange how technology is supposed to save us time, but when it comes to doing things like Life Groups, we say, “I don’t have time,” though we are told to “one another” one another.
John 13:34 A new COMMAND I give you: Love ONE ANOTHER. As I have loved you, so you must loveONE ANOTHER.
COMMAND??? Oh my! But would you agree with me that we mostly “avoid one another”? I remember Judy and I were in Walmart one day and saw someone that we really did not want to talk to, so we looked away and pretended we didn’t see that person. Have you ever done something like that?
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to ONE ANOTHER in brotherly love. Honor ONE ANOTHER above yourselves.
Would you agree with me that in reality, we try to not be devoted to one another, but be independent from one another? Do we honor one another, or find ourselves doing more dishonor to one another?
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve ONE ANOTHER in love.
We do not want to serve anyone. The Bible also tells us to be compassionate to one another, to submit to one another, to encourage one another, to spur one another on toward love and good deeds. We are told to do all these things with one another, yet we say, “I don’t have time. I am too busy.” No, you are lying, you are lazy, and you are making excuses. You are not doing what the Bible instructs and you may be a Christian, but you are not a DISCIPLE.
I agree that doing life with one another is a pain in the… neck and other places. You have to put up with the whining, hurting, misunderstandings, arguments, fighting, bickering, etc. However, there is also the restoration, healing, forgiveness, crying together, rejoicing together, etc. You cannot have the good part without the pain in the… neck part. However, it honors God and makes him smile for us to do life this way. Breaking bread FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE demands an extreme commitment. However, (2) FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE PRODUCES EXTREME RESULTS.
Acts 2:43 said they experienced miracles. That’s pretty extreme. Then we read in verses 44 and 45…
Acts 2:44-45 All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
That’s extreme. Do you realize that virtually every need that you or the person sitting around you, in front of you, or beside you has, could be met by God through his people immediately if we functioned like the family of Christ is supposed to. Let that sink in. Let me give you some examples.
Let’s say someone here is a couple of hundred dollars shy on making their rent and they are about to get kicked out into the streets. Is there anyone who without even knowing all the details would help out? Who would do that? Would you really? Awesome! How about if there was a widow or a single mom with no family around, living in bad conditions in her home, who would go and give a day to help out and fix up her house? Who’d make a meal for somebody in need or sick? Someone’s car broke down, who would try to help out? How about this one? You are buying a new car and instead of trading the car you have in, you know someone who really needs decent transportation. So, you give them the car. Who might do that?
These are things a DISCIPLE will do, but not necessarily things a “Christian” will do. DISCIPLESbreak bread FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE. They find a way to do life together. FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE demands extreme commitment, but FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE brings extreme results.
I will end with this story. There is a family, in our church, who has been through a lot the past few years. Their marriage has been tested. Their finances have been tested. Their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health have been tested. But you know what? They are actively functioning in a Life Group. They pray. They cook. They frequently meet at their home. I know it is not the “corporate” meeting that has kept them serving God and sane. It is FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE that has saved them.
So, how many of us are “Christians” when it comes to FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE and how many of us are DISCIPLES? A DISCIPLE is devoted to FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE. I pray you are convicted as was I last week. I pray that you will become intimately involved in the fellowship of a Life Group – EXTREMELY COMMITTED AND DEVOTED. You should INTENTIONALLY make it a part of your life. Your relationship with Christ was never intended to be PRIVATE. It is to be shared. We have several Life Groups. The purpose of these groups is to have a small, safe place to form strong relationships. Every group is developing new leaders so that the groups do not get too large and thereby loose their intimacy. Go through the back doors and look at the board to the right. The groups are listed. You need to join a group tonight or maybe you need to begin a group in your home. If so, see Pastor Doug Eaker. Don’t put it off. Let’s pray.
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