One Grace of Pentecost
Empowered to Live in
One of the first recorded results of Pentecost
was the new church, the new community. Pentecost
is seen as the birthday of the church, and the
church is, at the beginning, a community.
I use that word because of the way it is
described in Acts: its “hallmarks” are
community-like and it is not simply a worshiping
Some “hallmarks” of the
The Number One Grace of
- It was different. It would be called “the
Way” by outsiders. Outsiders would comment,
“See how they love one another.” They shared.
- Their contact and times together were
frequent. “…day after day they met together as
a group...” (Acts 2:44 Today’s English
- It had a family look to it. They called
each other brothers and sisters.
- A rarely used word (agape) would be
needed to describe their love of the brethren.
- A strong word (koinonia) would be
needed to describe their relationships.
- They shared meals together.
- Their families were centered in the family
I believe that this early community was the #1
grace of Pentecost...this is your sign, this is
your wonder, and this is your miracle: people
loving one another in Christ and centering their
lives in Him, in a common way of life.
To support this conclusion, I ask you to
consider this: in 1 Corinthians 12-19, the
various gifts are discussed and we have the
“more excellent” way of love described in
chapter 13. Various gifts are ranked and
compared; prophesy is given a high place. These
giftings or gifted persons are compared to being
parts of a body: less noble parts, more
beautiful parts, etc.
But, this whole discussion of “parts” presupposes
the body and it insists that we upbuild the
body with our gifts. Therefore, the number one
grace or result of Pentecost is the body. All of
the gifts and roles are in support of and for the
upbuilding of the body. Gifts such as healing or
prophecy should never be “stand alone” phenomena,
but are a part of and an expression of the body.
To wander the countryside prophesying misses the
main intent of Pentecost: the body itself.
Many years ago, the great Christian teacher, Bob
Mumford, tack-led the topic of “koinonia”. After
five or six tapes with a number of quotes from
Greek scholars, he still seemed at a loss to
define the word “koinonia”, which weakly
translates as “fellowship” in Acts 2:42. There
seems to be a spiritual bond that happens among
those who are baptized in the Spirit. It seems
mysterious and beyond our understanding...a bond
of unity. We often notice a certain inner
celebration when we are together. It can be
noticed at retreats, summer camp, and Lord’s Day
celebrations. Children “catch” it at retreats,
and we do ourselves and our children a
disservice to miss these yearly events. It seems
that the more the event is focused on the Lord,
the more noticeable is the inner celebration and
This inner magnetism or grace can even have a
regional or international expression as we
gather with other members of the Sword of the
Spirit at the summer conference or international
leaders’ events. Our children experience that
bond at regional youth events, and, in a very
real way, they understand our “vision and call”
more by this experience of koinonia.
As a personal example, I have two friends, Jim
and Connie, who live over 30 miles from me. We
are in the People
of God Community together, but we are from
different locations, somewhat different
geography, different families, different
parishes, different social circles, and have
different hobbies. Yet, when we are together
something inside of me resonates, celebrates,
and rejoices with them. My covenant with them
acknowledges what is already there: a spiritual
bonding in the Spirit: koinonia.
Over the years, I think, it has been a mistake
of the charismatic renewal to overly focus on
the gifts and to miss this koinonia unity. It is
a magnetism, yet it can be ignored if we walk
away. The attraction can be broken or weakened
by inattention. I believe the writer of Hebrews
10:25 warned about this when he said, “... not
neglecting to meet together as is the habit of
We should nourish, stir to life, and protect
the unity (Ephesians 4:3). We should anticipate
the purposes of the Holy Spirit and we
should adjust our decisions accordingly. (See
Joseph’s responses in Matthew 1:19&24, 2:14,
We are first and foremost empowered to live in
a local, worshiping, and directable people who
will love God and one another in a common way of
life. By doing so, we both anticipate and
participate in the purposes of the Holy Spirit.
articles by Bob Tedesco
article is excerpted from Essays
on Christian Community, (c)
copyright 2010 Bob Tedesco. The book can be
purchased at Tabor
Tedesco is past President of the North
American Region of the Sword of the Spirit.
He is a founder of the People of
God community in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, USA, and has been one of its
key leaders for the past 40 years.
credit: Word of Life community in Ann
Arbor, Michigan USA