Should We Live in a Community?

*NOTE* All scripture passages taken from The Scriptures 1998+ unless otherwise noted.

There are so many teachings and practices based on the lifestyle of the early congregation and yet they are not in line with the truth. Although they are based on truth, they err. There are many teachers who are not rightly dividing the word of truth and present scripture to others in a way that is neither truthful or in line with what actually happened.

Some even start communes, sharing possessions and responsibilities. I have to admit that when I first discovered places like this I was highly intrigued. Yet after careful study this is not the way the early congregation lived. They dwelt in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers.

Followers of Messiah are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any mere human doctrines.

They marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life. They are poor yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things and yet abound in all; they are dishonored and yet in their very dishonor are glorified.

They are evil spoken of and yet are justified; they are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good yet are punished as evildoers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.

Some claim that the early saints did not actually sell their houses and land but instead shared them among themselves. This is far from the truth actually and scripture interprets scripture. Even Messiah told the rich man to sell what he possessed and give to the poor and he would have treasure in Heaven. To read anything else into what scripture teaches is total deception.

And all those who believed were together, and had all in common, and sold their possessions and property, and divided them among all, as anyone might have need. Act 2:44,45

For there was not anyone needy among them, for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of what was sold, and laid them at the feet of the emissaries, and they distributed to each as anyone had need. Acts 4:34,35

One of the hardest things for people to do is to give up earthly possessions. The set apart people in the time of Messiah who followed him gave it all up, they were truly sold out, set apart and followed Messiah.

And יהושע, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One matter you lack: Go, sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven. And come, follow Me, taking up the stake.” But he, being sad at this word, went away grieved, for he had many possessions. And יהושע, looking around, said to His taught ones, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter into the reign of Elohim!” Mark 10:21-23

And Kĕpha began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and we have followed You.” יהושע said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for the sake of Me and the Good News, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come, everlasting life. But many who are first shall be last, and the last first.” Mar 10:28-31

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My Name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many who are first shall be last, and the last first. Mat 19:29,30

These passages clearly show us that when we sell our houses and forsake those in this world to serve Messiah he will reward us a hundredfold. Many are not sold out or set apart as they like to think they are. They have not embraced these simple truths and they hang onto the things of this world. Let go of the wheel! Let it go and trust Elohim your provider.

The gospels are full of Yeshua’s explicit, clear instruction to abandon our dependence on material wealth and to give generously to the poor. It’s right there in black and white, clearer than almost any other scriptural command: We cannot serve both Elohim and mammon (wealth or money). How can I even pretend to be a follower of Messiah if I do not take this repeated, explicit teaching with utter seriousness? This teaching of Yeshua is so hard, and so consistently repeated throughout the gospels, that it has to be concluded that it must be central to his entire message. He wants us to be completely sold out. Let go of the wheel!

The very fact that Yeshua’s teaching on wealth inspires such discomfort and consternation reinforces my suspicion that it must be very important. Why do so many get nervous when Messiah starts talking about selling our possessions? If we really trust Elohim and believe that Yeshua is his word, why wouldn’t we be eager to do what he says?

Do not love the world nor that which is in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Because all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but the one doing the desire of Elohim remains forever. 1 John 2:15-17

We are not looking on what is seen, but on what is not seen. For what is seen passes away, but what is not seen is everlasting. 2 Corinthians 4:18

If, then, you were raised with Messiah, seek the matters which are above, where Messiah is, seated at the right hand of Elohim. Mind the matters above, not those on the earth. For you have died, and your life has been hidden with Messiah in Elohim. When the Messiah, who is our life, is manifested, then you also shall be manifested with Him in esteem. Colossians 3:1-4

And יהושע called a little child to Him, set him in their midst, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become as little children, you shall by no means enter into the reign of the heavens. Whoever then humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the reign of the heavens. And whoever receives one little child like this in My Name receives Me. Matthew 18:2-5

The Father has hidden these things from the wise and prudent, they will scoff at the truth and reject it even though they think they are sold out. Unless we become as little children we cannot receive the mysteries of the Kingdom.

For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14