Spiritual Realities of Life Together in
by Bob Tedesco
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’
teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of
bread and the prayers. - Acts 2:42
Fierce devotion to
One of the results of Pentecost was a fierce
devotion to spiritual realities. I say “fierce”
because it was more than a little dangerous to
embrace the Christian message. “Spiritual”
because the elements of Acts 2:42 were either
spiritual or contained spiritual elements: 1) prayer
is spiritual; 2) breaking of the bread
or the Lord’s Supper is spiritual: the apostles’
teaching was spiritual; and 4) even fellowship
or koinonia (Greek) had a strong spiritual bond
as its basis.
Some of these Acts 2 elements deserve a little
explanation. The apostles’ teaching was not just
spiritual, but it had an overall spiritual
basis. Even when dealing with everyday matters
and relationships, the teaching would be based
on the new life in Christ and his eternal
perspective. The Lord’s Supper, the
liturgy, the ceremony would have human
expression; but it is founded on the spiritual
reality of the life of Christ and how that has
spiritual and eternal consequences. Christian
fellowship (Greek koinonia) certainly has human
expression but is based on the spiritual reality
of a bond so powerful that we are expected to
experience it as a family or as brothers and
sisters. When we think of Christian “fellowship”
we are likely to picture a group of
well-dressed, polite folks having coffee and
doughnuts in the church hall. But “koinonia” is
much more than that. I once heard the great
Christian teacher Bob Mumford give a six part
series of talks explaining the word “koinonia”.
At the end he seemed to believe that he had not
quite succeeded…that it needed to be experienced
“spirit to spirit” to be truly understood.
Antioch, an ecumenical Christian
community in London, regularly host a Lord's
Day meal together
The Human Response to Acts 2:42
Different people prefer or respond to different
things. In the Acts 2 list, some of us would be
moved by the dedication to prayers; some to
teaching; some men to the ceremonial or the
Lord’s Supper; and some more attracted by the
koinonia. In the Old Testament times there were
four schools of influence; the Levitical, the
Yahwist, the Elohist, and the Deuteronomic (the
ceremonial, the poetic, the power-centered, and
the law-centered). It’s believed to be the
reason that we have two versions of creation
(Gen. 1 and Gen. 2:4). We benefit most when we
move beyond our natural preferences and embrace
all of the spiritual realities listed in Acts
Groups (churches) more dedicated to the Lord’s
Supper might benefit by having more devotion to
koinonia (Christian bonding relationship).
Groups (churches) with strong Christian
relationship might benefit by more, strong
apostolic teaching; and so on.
Devoted to Spiritual
“I Q”, or intelligence quotient is a phrase
credited to William Stein (1912), a German
psychologist. It uses standardized tests to
measure several abilities of the mind such as
memory, understanding, attention, etc.
EQ or EI or EQI is a later development (1964
paper, Michael Beldoch) intended to measure
emotional “health”, the ability to have a
balanced emotional response to circumstances,
conflicts, and relational challenges. It is an
important characteristic for employers
attempting to hire people who will fit into
their existing teams. Emotional and social
functioning are important elements in the
workforce and in the leadership of these teams.
For our purposes, let’s create a new yardstick:
SQ, Spiritual Quotient…the awareness and
engagement of spiritual realities. Acts 2:42
says that they were devoted to certain spiritual
realities… their SQ was off the charts. IQ and
EQ have been important for as much as 100 years.
Developing and fostering and maintaining a high
SQ could have eternal consequences.
Spiritual Awareness of
Conditions and Appropriate Responses
Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks
in all circumstances; for this is the will of
God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1
Thessalonians 5: 16
We all begin life with a “starter kit”: a set of
gifts, abilities and a natural awareness of
conditions and solutions or responses. A baby
who is highly aware and engaging can capture the
attention of most adults.
Some types of awareness normally begin on the low
side, but can be fostered and developed to higher
levels. Spiritual awareness (SQ) is one such
Empathy is one type of awareness that can be grown
and can even be grown to an unhealthy,
self-destructive level. Spiritual awareness can
also be developed to and unhealthy
“super-spiritual” level, and the danger of
deception is real.
Yet there is, for the well-developed disciple, a
healthy balance of natural and spiritual
awareness that can serve a life that can bear
natural and spiritual fruit.
Do not be conformed to this world but be
transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you
may prove what is the will of God, what is good
and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
Community life has a dedication to spiritual
awareness and one of the roles of retreats,
gatherings, small groups, prayer time, scripture
reading, and cluster life (intentional
neighborhoods of Christian households) is to
refurbish, renew, and refocus our spiritual
awareness. I have friends who “wake me up” just by
being in my life (holy friendships). Our
denominational life and practices awaken and grow
our spiritual awareness.
A disciple who isolates from Spirit-filled
people and events loses the catalyst in the
relationship and soon loses SQ. Backsliders go
from cool to cold.
Put off your old nature which belongs to your
former manner of life and is corrupt through
deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of
your minds, and put on the new nature, created
after the likeness of God in true righteousness
and holiness. - Ephesians 4: 22-24
This happens to many of our children who go off to
school or move away from family and community.
This loss of awareness can be due to courtship,
friendships, college disconnect, excessive career
focus, or the busyness of getting established.
Bearing fruit is connected to spiritual awareness:
having the name of Jesus on the tip of our
tongues, active in our hearts.
Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit,
serve the Lord. - Romans12:11
Decisions and SQ
We need to have enough spiritual awareness (SQ) to
make our daily life decisions based on our
“kingdom now” calling. In my daily prayer time
when I pray the section of the Lord’s Prayer that
honors the names of God (“hallowed be thy name”)
there is one Hebrew title that translates, “the
Lord is my sanctifier”. Under that title, I pray
that our lives would be set apart (holy,
sanctified) for the Lord. Then, our hearts, our
minds, our jobs, our postures, attitudes, etc.
Finally, I pray here that our decisions
would be set apart for God, and thereby be holy,
sanctified. Especially the key ones: where we dig
our foxhole: where we are going to live; if and
whom we marry; where we work; where we’ll live out
our calling. We should make these kinds of
decisions corporately, not
individualistically…getting help and pastoral
care. If our lifetime is a canvas, our decisions
should paint a portrait of a life lived for
Whether we are singles or parents, the children in
our body are our “talents”. We need to do
all that we can to get them to (multiply) bear
fruit. We and they can become lazy in attendance
or daily prayer.
But when Christ offered for all time a single
sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right
hand of God. - Hebrews10:12.
And finally, this spiritual awareness (SQ) calls
us and reminds us to live as the new creations
that we are!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new
creation; the old has passed away, behold, the
new has come. - 2 Corinthians 5:17.
articles by Bob Tedesco
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.