Acts 5:13 None of the rest dared to join them, but the people praised them highly.
Believing in Jesus but never joining in Him is like enjoying an entire wedding ceremony never realizing you’re part of the bride who was supposed to say, “I do.”
Years ago, there was a mission in our city whose leader was allowing unmarried men and women to sleep in the same room together. You can imagine how that went south. I visited with him about my concerns. He was shocked that another mission leader unrelated to his organization would even think to schedule a visit around his own operations. Before I left, he accused me of being a “spiritual policeman.”
That’s not the only time something similar has happened. Another Christian leader circulated material to a large number of college students directing them to internet sites that represented, at least, a serious temptation. What did I do? I guess one might have said I slapped on my badge, my red/blue light and siren and drove over to have a meeting with him.
Did I want control? No. I just wanted to have a conversation. And the conversation was with more than just another member of the area ministerial alliance or a member of our association of rescue missions or a fellow member of our chamber of commerce. I was talking with a member of the body of Christ. Isn’t that my brother?
I think some scripture would argue that we should be even closer than brothers. Jesus prayed that we would become one as He and His Father are one. That’s a different kind of connection in a different kind of family with a different kind of DNA.
In this passage, there were many believers who praised the work of God through the hands of the apostles, but most didn’t dare join them.
How are you connected? Are you joined to the literal body of Christ or a figurative one? What does it mean to be joined together in Him?
Believing in Jesus but never joining in Him is like enjoying an entire wedding ceremony never realizing you’re part of the bride who was supposed to say, “I do.” It was a nice church. Enjoyed the company. Everyone looked good. The music and food were great.
You believed, but were never joined.
At least you weren’t joined like He intends.
Do you remember your basic chemistry? There are two types of bonding, ionic and covalent. Maybe you recall that the strongest is covalent. Why? Because covalent bonds are those in which the atoms are joined by sharing electrons rather than transferring them.
Consider the water molecule.
Hydrogens and Oxygens covalently bonded may turn from liquid to gas under tremendous heat, but each water molecule remains in tact. Simply put, when atoms are sharing energy, they’re joined together, stuck together and their the new identity is stronger.
It’s that kind of bonding that God calls us to with one another, but there were many that day in Jerusalem who feared it. They believed. They praised. They held the disciples in high regard. But they dared not join them.
Why? If you knew that God was with them and working through them, why not join them as they themselves were joined?
Because the word join ολλάω kolláō, literally means “to glue together.” They were bonded in a very special way. They endeavored to be of one mind and they were. They were willing to share their energy and their resources with one another and they did. They also knew they would share in the sufferings of Christ and it happened.
It’s how the disciples were connected in Acts. They were joined (kolláō).
This is different than the word “join” in Philippians 3:17. This word, συμμιμητής (summimētḗs), means to imitate. Imitating what is good certainly isn’t bad, but God calls us to a different kind of “join.”
It’s also different than the word “join” in 2 Corinthians 1:11 συνυπουργέω (sunupourgéo) which means to serve or work together. Certainly God wants us working together but He calls us to a tighter “join” than that.
How are you joined to the church? Are you an imitator-worker who believes in, attends and applauds the church or are you glued to the other members of His body?
There were many believers that day, but you and I are called to become more than believers. A believer can be aware of the body of Christ and even applaud the body of Christ, yet still retain his own identity. But one who’s joined the body of Christ takes on the identity of Christ as he becomes one with those around him.
The risk is that you and I might believe and never really join. When you’re truly born again, you’re joined (kolláō) to a body of which every member is supplied by the same blood, fed by the same bread and watered from the same source. It’s a bonding within a continuum that beautifully blurs the lines between what one has gained, what one has lost, how one is blessed and how another must bear. In Him, it is shared.