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Faithlife

Acts 4:32-5:11 Your Part in Christ’s Mega-Community

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Intro:
Last Sunday - spinner - so amazed- Imagine if I stretched out my hand - healed in Jesus name… But this Sunday as consider ideal situation of early church - perhapspurest time … perhaps the most ideal society world has ever seen!
Imagineif someonecaught intherisin - right here this morning as gathering - let's say duringoffering,huge gift honourwith plaque - wellknown liked mildmanner person - dropdead on the spot as their sin exposed!
This wasn't Peter magically prounouncig a curse, in fact someone withsimilar sin Simon Magnus - Peter knows|Godofgrace - givesoppruntiy to repent . But this is God, as terrible ploy of Satan unleashed through aterrible sin that would cut thel legs right underneaththe early church - turn Powerful Work of Grace ,Superantural WHOLENESS - into a show of false religion - hypocrisy! Not what most people call hypocrite - we're all sinners here this morning, none of us ever live up to evenour own standards allthe time - why we need grace - but so different than this sin of pretending on outside to live by grace,when inwardly don't believe it,don't believe in the power of the HolySpirit, the presnese of God! Not doing it out of real love for Godo or neighbouur - but for a show - that's hypocrite in biblical sense.
That scenario happenedin the eraly church one day - and their response wasn't God punishment doesn't fit the crime, God you got a rage problem - understood the seriousness of this sin and how it can destroy a whole church, destroy the witness of the gospel in the world - God only a few time acts this decisively in the Bible - actually brings a sign of judgment day into this time and world now - strikes a man or woman dead. Careful don't ultimately know eternal state,but God temporal judgment showing not acting like believers,and at this critical time of NTChurch’s infancy - critical to deal with that sin!
But this mornings sermon isnot about A&S or hypocrisy, it is about what God was protecting and building in a supernautural way - If you are part of the church it is what God in Christ,through the power of the Holy Spirit is still building - partofthe blueprint foryourlife - koinonia - communion of the saints,coommunity of the believers!
Mega community marked in this passage with three mega - mega grace, mega power, mega fear, !
Captured in the first words of our text:
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul,= community God's buildng , fellowship,
Brethren of the Common Life we become! Deventer, - Geert Groote, Zwolle aKempis - tired of bishops corruption,\wealth, - authentic Christian community - inot the world! It is what you experienced on Serve, intentional Xn community, Camp Shalom, retreat, What you experienced this week - if gave a glass water in Jesus name to least of these my brothers - visited a member.. Visted by someone - prayed in need!...
The first thing we must hear this morning is God's invitation into this remarkable new society! Mega grace was upon them all, and that was only possible as we experrience the mega-power of the gopsel is what is uiting us!
But it is also applied - love in words, without action between yourself and someone else hear = void!
and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.
Here this morning secondly understand how God is calling you to make this outwardly manifest in your life and in this ministry and fellowship here!
And lastly the third thing that markedthis community - mega fear of the LORD - gets deep down into the level of motivation - living with integrity pure heart to each other and the LORD - expectation of His nearness! And Luke does this by giving us two illlustrations of how to do mega-community, one positive one negative - fill with awe your part and mine in this enterprise!
Members of God's Mega-Community: A. Receive the Power of the Gospel & much Grace with Others
Really Luke is showing us there are is an inward prequiste, requirement - to be part of this community!
Sure outwardly you could be a member signed up in this church, but won't be partaking of communion of saints - Paul later woud say - you could most giving person hear this morning - but without love - nothing not part of God's mega commuity!
1 Corinthians 13:3 ESV
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 Cor 13:
You could be most mild mannered person, do allthe rightoutsard - likeA7S respectableupstanding to people! But missing the heart at the centre of this mega-coomunity!
You could be most mild manneredperson,do allthe rightoutsard - likeA7S respectableupstanding to people! But missing the heart at the centre of this mega-coomunity!
What is the heart of it all? The Person Jesus Christ! In ch 3 this is what outsiders - had been with Jesus. Cometo bleieve - words concerning Jesus, heal - name, power authority of this Person Jesus! Before we can understand how some 30,000 people can be of one heart and soul - must understand v.33
And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
Acts 4:33 ESV
And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
In answer to prayer - Holy Spirit filled all to speak of Jesus, but especially Christ's delegates to build his church on their powerful teaching of His Word, Revelation - testimony to resurrection of the Lord (King) Jesus - almost electric - Fulfilled promise that Holy Spirit would for those 12 bring to remembrance everything - teach them all things concerning - open Scriptures daily- in temple courts - see people getting it - Like Revival times …
What is the result of a community getting the gospel - not just a bunch of like minded thinkers - agree on facts-
No great grace was upon them all.
Grace not a substance the church disperses - It is a covenant term, relationship term - unmerited favour of one person to another - ever fall out of favour with parent,spouse,girl firrend, bor/sister - like a party - feast, like a camp fire gather round - accept you compeltely - for you - World starting to experience that through Jesus with God! Growing in that. But other way grace used - especially growing in grace - charis favour, new relationship with Lord inwardly starts to effect your outward relationships - live withgrace,favour,mercy,with love - with other - fruits of the spirit - are grace, gifts of the spirit they are graces - grow in them!
How Luke used this to describe how - Jesus grew up
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Luke 2:52 ESV
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Are you growingin grace with God and with those around you - even Jesus had to - reality and substance ofcomunity in our life is rooted inthis!
Admit sometimes I 'm not - first to really know iit - not you - but those in my home,those I visit - ddn't visit - Sometmies fault maybe someone elses, often in my own heart - stop living by Grace - growing in grace - Need a Brethern of Common Life - Revival!
Overarching reality is in this image of many 30,000 different young old,rich poor, residents,migrants, Hellensits, Jewish patriots, even that much diversity in the 12 - wonder if 6 people get along - 6 churches have real fellowship - but 30, not talking about likemindeness, or band of bro/ssi we allng for - different quality different degree in thebody of Christ!
Resurrected Jesus, named as our head, head of new humanity - belief in Hm,following Himm,being united toHim His Spiriti truly animates us,coordinates us. Actually showing fulfillment of - Love Lord with all heart and all your soul! All your power…However, the words are used rather differently here than in Deuteronomy, where they express total self-giving in love to God; here they express more the oneness between believers and the effectiveness of the apostles’ preaching.but this going to be uncomfortable He connects us - needs,gifts, afflictions - and as He does that going to see something amazing that in so many way we can say the world has never seen - come to learn from! New community in dwelt by Holy Spirit - produces what commanded for Promised Land: =a community where no poor among them! = no needy person among them - since no greedy person among them? = until that time you shall open wide you hand to your brother, to the needy, and to the poor
Resurrected Jesus, named as our head, head of new humanity - belief in Hm,following Himm,being united toHim His Spiriti truly animates us,coordinates us. Actually showing fulfillment of - Love Lord with all heart and all your soul! All your power…However, the words are used rather differently here than in Deuteronomy, where they express total self-giving in love to God; here they express more the oneness between believers and the effectiveness of the apostles’ preaching.but this going to be uncomfortable He connects us - needs,gifts, afflictions - and as He does that going to see something amazing that in so many way we can say the world has neverseen - cometo learn from! New community in dwelt by Holy Spirit - produces what commanded for Promised Land: =a community where no poor among them! = no needy person among them - since no greedy person among them? = until that time open handed, and take care not greedy on 7th year take advantage of poor and grudge neighbour…
Resurrected Jesus, named as our head, head of new humanity - belief in Hm,following Himm,being united toHim His Spiriti truly animates us,coordinates us - but this going to be uncomfortable He connects us - needs,gifts, afflictions - and as He does that going to see something amazing that in so many way we can say the world has neverseen - cometo learn from!
Take care not greedy on 7th year take advantage of poor and grudge neighbour…
But this is going to be a bit scary and costly love. Takes all these different members , as He is the head, each a different part, he puts you with your gifts right beside someone else in the body with neeeds!
A Community with the great power of the gospel & great grace among each other -

B. The Gospel & Grace Transform Us into a sharing community

Did you see the wonder that outwardly results in v.34. Has it happened to you here yet?
Acts 4:34 ESV
There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold
There was not a needy person among them! Israel, particularly Jerusalem at this time - draughts, already seen in this book beggars! Lot of needy people! Going to see in not a remedy that solved all the brokenness- Grecian widows neglected. So much need going to need to delegate some leaders - apostles not administering all these gifts! What I tell you next is not a guarantee that needs disappear when follow Jesus - that'd be health and wealth gospel - But what I tell you about how the gospel church work when living with great grace - is that needs are met by you and I sharing with each other in the body of Christ!
But remarkable statement - newly formed community - operating by grace, fueled by gospel and presence of Jesus through it - abide in my word, I will abide in you!
Real love for the Lord, produces real and active sharing love for His people! How does it work? How can you turn your love for the Lord into meeting the needs of his people around you?
How can you turn your love for the Lord into meeting theneeds of his peole around you?
That is stated at the end of
Acts 4:32 ESV
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.
Now before you get all defensive and think I or our deacons are showing up at your house tomorrow to take your second car, and rental property, and food in your groceries, and collect our rsps into one fund! Before you say - do we have to do commmuism here!
Now before you get all defensive and think I or our deacons are showing up at your house tomorrow to take your second car, and rental property, and food in your groceries, and collect our rsps into one fund! Before you say - do we have to do commmuism here!
Understand first that Luke is first identifying a radical new approach to stuff in our lives. Anew attitude of believers to possessions - because of new realities experienceing in this comuntiy!
You are not an owner, you are manager! Stewardship! All that you enjoy between birth and death is a gift. It belongs to God but is assigned to your care. The bank account may be in your name, but it’s not actually your money. The deed to your home may have your first and last name printed at the top, but your house doesn’t truly belong to you. You came into this world naked and empty-handed, and you’ll leave this world naked and empty-handed.
God owns all things and distributes things to you so you can use them well and wisely. You bear the responsibility not to squander your money, not to use it in ways that fail to carry out his purposes or even contradict his purposes. Use your money in ways that are pleasing to him, in ways that carry out his will on earth. God has given you money so you can put it to work in his world and for his purposes. Buy stuff, save for future, pay bills, involves generous giving = awareness $$ wonderful servant, terrible master!
The bank account may be in your name, but it’s not actually your money. The deed to your home may have your first and last name printed at the top, but your house doesn’t truly belong to you. You came into this world naked and empty-handed, and you’ll leave this world naked and empty-handed.
God has given you money so you can put it to work in his world and for his purposes.
True not only of possessions - have you lent or shared,or given to any here - but also of your time,talents, interest, your prayers - how does Lord want you to use them…
How did they think of their stuff - had everything in common … still had some lands,none sold all, still giving peronsal proeprty to individual in need …
So much so that Lord entrusted all my stuff for benefit of others - requires loving self-denial = mark of Christian living by grace = compassionate giving, benevolence, needs for missionaries - compassion children - near or far - needs of God's poeople something be a pirorty to keep track of … what about here - practical needs when someone sick between jobs… goal wasn't to rob from the rich; goal was each sharing to meet needs, each according to ability - given by church to each according to need!
Verb tenses show not a command,voluntary - not nec part of regular giving to support ministry, but as needs arose in the fellowship, inongoing way, from time to time - person would liquidate forgo for luxary andown pleasure in order to give to real need of another - ie. Dierdre - IV
Q- are you partiicpating in this ministy - ever show your need - not a handout - sometimes a handup - not bjust stuff but time - show weakness - maybe amazed what giving other opportunity to help do for you - for other - Very practically - spoke of compassion, some have done mission trips, but closeby … Point is real grace and love from LORD, experienced always produces a real practical love for the people around you!
Why put this text of terror in the Bible (A &S), and why right beside such a text of wonder (Barnabas)? Conclusion that should seal the deal for you and i acting on the grace we have received, with sincere love to others!
Why put this text of terror in the Bible, and why right beside such atext of wonder?
C. Check Your Motivation - Plan Your Giving Like Barnabas, Not A &S!
Look at the text of wonder - example and illustration - Cyrpian - strangerin these parts, father moved in diapsora maybe Hellenistic, but not Joseph - What tribe from- how did they have land , Levitical CITIES…INHERITANCE WAS LORD,but by Jesus day considerableproperty of priests. Whether inJer or back on island of Cyrpess - liquidates - say s this part of my wealth given consecrated for lov of God'speole - give to someone in need!
So interesting - lifestyle like this so apostles give him a new name -son of consolation/encouragement!
Acts 4:36 ESV
Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus,
Sure - as one who didn't have regular inheritance, lived from gifts of God's people - understodd feeling of being in need and rely on others - humbliing ie. Go to seminary - sold house… you can bet preserved dignigty of those being helped!
Know the feeling too - Daniel Korean - had a plam pilot - learning greek - just gave it to me - pay you -know …hard to receive and when done glad to give it back - But do you get it - not ulitately mine, happy to give it to help others -
I live for a joyful self-denial for greater good greater goal …
Others have tried this,even by force, but only Christianity - motivation of love, of grace -not legalistic redist - changed heart!
That was the great down fall of the counterexampleof A&S. Their sin wasn't keeping some from themselves,didn’t have to give anything! Sin was pretending, see property - and to look good, to gain status - because master of their lives at least at that moment not Lord, the goal wasn’t the good of God and the good of others - but self-advancement - … Not a one time failing, fall into temptation , but a calcualted planned - Iive for mystelf not others - and I don't think the Holy Spirit cares or is present among God's people - test God in wickedway. Lie to the Holy Spirit…they show there God is mammon, love of money rules their life, not love for God and for His people…
Night and day from the spirit ofencoruagement with which Baranabas gives, night and day difference in the real goal of their lives. God says , I can't let Satan - who was involved in this inside attack in the hurch - go unchecked,these 30,000 found newlife in Christ - showing world redeemed humanity - new society of Messiah - I have promised them - I will build my church and the gates of hell not prevail against it. Like sin of Achan baby Israel comiong into promise land - must stop inward rot at the beginning - care enough to confront - compromise of gospel - so living by real thing!
Do you feel the gates of hell in your life, in our culture, scheme of devil - all about me, play the part but no real self-denial to live for and love God and others… God very graphically at the beginning of the enterprise - protects his church from going off the rails, as another false religion, here for a warning like Jesus issued:
Luke 17:33 ESV
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.
Whoever will gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel will gain it!
Paul says
2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
Paul says Godeabletomake his grace abound so thathe who has much able to helpp… This is mark of authentic Christianity - are you particpating in it it here - in as much as given it unto me ! Apostles aren't here, but abro sister in need is, apostles aren'there - appointed deacons - carry on apostlicoffice… are you laying down attheir feet for needs of God people?
He says:
2 Corinthians 8:14 ESV
your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.
This not relucnant giving, or under compulsioin - decide, plan inyour own heart - cheerful giver! Check - each year, think who and what causes what needs - God enabling me to meet!
This is mark of authentic Christianity - are you participating in it it here - in as much as given it unto me ! Apostles aren't here, but abro sister in need is, apostles aren'there - appointed deacons - carry on apostlicoffice… are you laying down attheir feet for needs of God people? Are we sowing generosity in each others lives, in this world? Paul concludes -
2 Corinthians 9:6–7 ESV
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Conclusion: What are we known for here - not just Word, breaking of bread, prayer - devoted themselves to the fellowship - this morning changed by the way God has given to us in Christ - we are to give foreach other in our need … and those in such need who have no claim on you - starving . If you know mega-power of the gospel, receiving mega-grace, ifyou have a mega-awe of God’s lvie and holy presence in this community and world - then a part of this mega-community - mega give to those in need!
Letter to Diognsis: We live in every city - every culture - And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven.
We live in every city - every culture - And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven.
They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven.
To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen.
Remarkable story from journals and city council minutes social history - John Calvin - think of him theology, church politics …refugees Huegnauts - showing up like he did fleeing, some family members murdered …sell parts of his precious library to pawn shop - clothes food, place to stay!
Where love and devotion to God grows, so too will forgetfulnes of self and selfishness - the result will be like jesus we grow favour tih God and with man! Participate in it now, this sefigivng and Christ-centred church -community life! You bleieve in essential spiritual unity of all believers in Christ, you meet for worshi pand prise? Have fellowship and join for prayer? This is a calling to share in supoort of Lord's work by faithful giving.. OK big question test: "Are you ready voluntarily and joyfullly to give of your captisal resources! = PRACTICAL GENEROSITY!
Where love and devotion to God grows, so too will forgetfulnes of self and selfishness - the result will be like jesus we grow favour tih God and with man! Participate in it now, this sefigivng and Christ-centred church -community life! You bleieve in essential spiritual unity of all believers in Christ, you meet for worshi pand prise? Have fellowship and join for prayer? This is a calling to share in supoort of Lord's work by faithful giving.. OK big question test: "Are you ready voluntarily and joyfullly to give of your captisal resources! = PRACTICAL GENEROSITY!
Real love for the Lord produce real love for the Lord's people!
Bright message = the future belongs to the Sons of Encouragement and the crushing of the hypocrites proves …God not about to give up on his infant church to ploys of Satan! Awed and warned at presence of God among his people - expect growth!
Not just a dozen men getting along as friends, but multitude of fallen sinners, addicted to their own preference, affections, = confusion = why so many divisions and distrubances
= sefigivng and Christ-centred church -community life!
Key if you want to be part of true church, counted faithful THEN must live in harmony with the children of God, with a holy genreous love!
Do you bleieve in essential spiritual unity of all believers in Christ, Opprotunityitytaken to meet for worshi pand prise? Have fellowship and join for prayer? Shre in supoort of Lord's work by faithful giving.. OK big question test: "Are you ready voluntarily and joyfullly to give of your captisal resources! = PRACTICAL GENEROSITY!
Vs. swindled pretense of loyaty to Lord and the Body!
Striking portrayl of life of faith = full of zeal, and of love - Like Rick Mullins Song: acknowledges our laziness and lack of enthusiasm - both in bearing witness to resurrection and to care of each other!
Bowling Alone - live solitary lives, in silo's … = HS joining us together to live in love!- joined to gether to God in union with Christ, brotherly love created in us! eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Remarkable - not just a dozen men getting along as friends, but multitude of fallen sinners, addicted to their own preference, affections, = confusion = why so many divisions and distrubances
Key if you want to be part of true church, counted faithful THEN must live in harmony with the children of God!
= three wonders, oneheart and soul, give testimony with great powr to resurrection, verbally but also in deed = allt things in common for awhile = not communism but commnity
Not just agreeemetn in our minds doctrine, but a onenes created by LOVE…big difference agreement in doctrine, and true faith from God that works by love ! Truth towards,for the purpose of obedience and love, in order of holiness! See facts of gospel believed not enoguh, the Holy Spirit must seal that truth to us =
eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
= HS joining us together to live in love!- joined to gether to God in union with Christ, brotherly lovecreated in us!
If boast Xn , have love,yet no action toward anotherin love = lie! Must exhibit in outward, acts, yet outward acts wihout love = nothing!
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Empty gong - without heart; Not just help personwith $$, goods, but involve your body and person - I am for ou and do this sincerely and enthusiastically!
Obvious question what glorifies God more, spending on luxary items or givign to the poor - has our church - benevolence giving kept pace/ spirit of generosity that marked early church mark us too!
Jersualem not a wealth y ity; years of famin e and shortage depeletd its financial reouses…
ORDER - not alms first, but Believers have same heart and soul - united in truth, have same Father and inheritance, members of one body, Same Spirit who duiges us sotheat we will be joined together … Known by actions to our neighbours! ASK HERE why has th gospel had so little effect, why sermons so little applied to our advantage….
Love when realize we are children of God through X, love that teaches us to help one antoher and live together in peace and unity; Not so concerned about our indidual interrests that we fail to share liberally with ourneighbours = ove itself, and it must have fruit = two phases of love… We are not to be devoted to ourselves, then no love, seek welfare and advantage of our neighbour - as fara as possible Can't live in relationship with others like that if there is no love in us! - so first root outinordinate love of serlf , relinquish love of self, vice of thinking too highy ofourselves, desire for personal advantage
Verdict = where no love and devotoin for others, and no forgetfulness of self there can be no holy love!
So recognize that God wants your hands… everything which god's given us that can help a neighour… God has bputinto our hands stuff and talents, and time to help others - shouldn't thinkof it as our own = think of nothing as your own!
Definition:
What You Own = in law and in fact your proeprty , but in heart not consider it that way: = NO ONE CLAIMED = radical new inner attitude to stuff! = walk in the light, have fellowship with one another !
All that you enjoy between birth and death is a gift. It belongs to God but is assigned to your care.
The bank account may be in your name, but it’s not actually your money. The deed to your home may have your first and last name printed at the top, but your house doesn’t truly belong to you. You came into this world naked and empty-handed, and you’ll leave this world naked and empty-handed.
All that you enjoy between birth and death is a gift. It belongs to God but is assigned to your care.
This is known as stewardship From <https://www.challies.com/articles/master-your-finances/>
Rights and Responsibilities
God owns all things and distributes things to you so you can use them well and wisely. All money is God’s money, and while he has rights over it, you have responsibilities. He answers to no one, but you answer to him. You bear the responsibility not to squander your money, not to use it in ways that fail to carry out his purposes or even contradict his purposes. Conversely, you are responsible before God to use your money in ways that are pleasing to him, in ways that carry out his will on earth. God gives every dollar in trust and has the right to demand an accounting for it.
God has given you money so you can put it to work in his world and for his purposes.
This will involve the day-to-day financial management of paying bills, buying groceries, and making payments into a retirement account. It will also involve giving generously to the church and to believers who have needs. It will involve a constant awareness that money is a wonderful servant but a terrible master, that it all belongs to God, and that it is to be used to bring glory to him.
From <https://www.challies.com/articles/master-your-finances/>
= what Luke means when he says None of the faithful thought anything was his own…but everyone considered everything to be hoeld in common…= no one held on to good as if he need not distribute to others according ot heir needs! = can't use our goods for ourselvesalone and stand by and watch our neighbour dieof hunger and not help them!
Vs. What's mine is mine, eveyrone else fend for themselves!- private property but not exclusiely …no ammmasing of goods… ….looking to help
your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.
Joyful heart that is voluntary in giving =
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Even though the rich rightly disgusted by lack of gratitude …
If you want God to accept you as his children and want o be regarded as part of the body of his church = follow their example!
= get this sam eexperience and know God's approval for it!
Today - how likely - sell something to give to poor, when not even first giving form our excess! "On the other hand, if a man has twice as much as he needs, he will never be satisfied until he amases even more. - and if he gets more will it help the poor?
Not monks to live separate life = God put us in this world, not for ourselves, but to contribute to our neighbours welfare as much as wean- don't squander it on triflesand excesses!
= each of us extend true love charity toward our neighbours in such asaway that we give liberally to the best of our ability
Alms = mercy = in ssing neighbours need, moved to pity and compassion -then resembel our heavenly Father and are truly his children…
Context: Power of witness outside, and of opposition, now turn lens on inner working of congregations:
-- not important to whom possessions actually belonged - but the Xns attitude towards their possessions = not a formal condition of membership - but selling had to do with NEEDS - in community… not perfect church even with sharing, ie. Hellenist Jews widows…
v.v.32 One heart and soul!
Body with many parts, foreigners, rich, poor, priests, zealots, political stripes … but like one Head, Christ, animated by one Spirit
Actually OT allusion:
The expression “one heart and soul” (kardia kai psychē mia) has been thought to echo , where the people of Israel are called to love God with all their heart (some manuscripts have dianoia, “understanding”) and all their soul and all their might (dynamis). It is noted that in the next verse there is reference to the apostles giving their witness with great might, so that the three key terms occur together (B. Gerhardsson, cited in Barrett 1994–1998: 253–54). Thus two verses that seem to have different themes might be brought into a closer unity. However, the words are used rather differently here than in Deuteronomy, where they express total self-giving in love to God; here they express more the oneness between believers and the effectiveness of the apostles’ preaching.
= producing prophesied OT community - where no poor among them! = no needy person among them - since no greedy person among them? = until that time open handed, and take care not greedy on 7th year take advantage of poor and grudge neighbour…
Redemption of Christ, brings new community = the redemption of the Israelites from Egypt and their prosperous settlement in the land, and, on the other hand, the new redemption wrought by Christ and the setting up of the new community
Spirit produced unity, love, compassion has to show in tnagible readiness to give up property to meet needs!
Builds on 2:45, as each has need , but so many joining now yet they all are willing no matter what their economic status… land owner or peasant…. Impressive that those who were dependent's and those affluent defined by love not by status…
Ideal Aristotle spoke of as two bodies with one soul - friendship …= had all things in common - phrases in Gk literature… = had one heart, and shared all they had…= community formed by grace of Jesus, where "not a needy person among them" is fulfillemnt of
But there will be no poor among you; for the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess—
When forgive loans, and generously give to poor
= sharing property not required but a reflex of love for God's family! = no one forced to give to common fund controlled by apostles….Rather as need arose, sell excess property and then put at apostles feet = as an offering to the LORD.
not required: But deomnstration of heart set free from tyranny of Mammon, , free to provide for bro/sister near or far …ie compassion canada
Does your heart have this freedom, or does your money and fear of its loss still hold you in chains
Important to note, Peter didn't meet out this judgment, God did; later with Simon Magnus 8:20-22 Peter gives judgment with offer of repentance held out… It is crucial to note that the point is not that God demands our financial accounts be in order, but rather that God hates hypocrisy of any kind, how much more that which is deliberate and designed to test the Spirit of the Lord (9).
Everything was held in common. The remark is not a reflection of political philosophy, but of the extent of their spontaneous commitment to one another. Such a response does not have the function of a command, but is reflective of an attitude that Luke commends as evidence of their identification with one another
Consloation, Encouragement comes with such attiude to possessions and love and generous helping, sharing of life that results vs. fear, of close fisted pretending and hypocrisy!
The prerequiste to the fellowship =
Faith is the inner and essential bond of union in the church. The Communion of Saints is such by faith alone. Mere outward connection with a church body does not constitute true membership although it may lead to that. This is a spiritual state in the soul and not a matter of outward arrangement. Faith, of course, produces many visible results, for those who believe show their faith in many ways, and all these manifestations are valuable, but valuable only as evidences and fruits of the inner state, the precious saving faith itself.
The outstanding feature which Luke can report is that of this host of believers “there was one heart and soul.” As in a living body only one heart beats, and as it is animated by only one ψυχή, so it was true of this great body of believers. Καρδία and ψυχή naturally go together as the pulsing heart and the breath of life. The Greek word for the heart designates the center of the personality, the seat of thought, feeling, and volition; in English the word heart connotes chiefly the feeling. The Greek ψυχή characterizes the soul in so far as it animates the body, it is the “life” of the body. Luke presents the fact that this great outward body of the congregation had one living personality in it. Its whole active life was one in thought, feeling, and will. “They all wanted one thing: to be saved eternally; they all thought one thing: only to be faithful to the Lord Jesus; they all experienced one thing: the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” Besser. This means that, despite the great number, no divisions, no factions, no contentions existed.
= rebuke to churches, and members who follow heresy, who cause rents, stir up strife and division - but a shining example to hold in unity one faith faith and doctrine and in one to the things that make for peace!
The condition of the first congregation was one that made for healthy inner and outer growth!
v.33a
Apostles as official witnesses of resurrection, formal duty publicly, rpivately with believers, and in all Jersuaelm, to announce crowing work of God in accomlishing our redemtion, final proof of diety and Messiahship of Jesus- res prove full \eficacy of his life, suffering, death in removing barrier that sep us from God (sin) by satisfying the claims of his holiness and righteosuness = day of resrurrection that gather a wnd wroship… KEY
What this requires in attitude to possessions:
Everyone regarded his possessions as not being intended for him alone but to be employed for all as need required. Even in the matter of personal possessions all were one heart and soul. This is truly remarkable, especially in so large a body. “Not one" opposed such an arrangement… = selfishness shows itself often in shameful ways - true generosity and Christian love can't flourish there!
v.33b close connection preaching united with results = Great grace was upon them all = divine grace through the channel of this testimony
2:44-45 brief manner in which love manifested itself in the congregation - here adds how!
Let me count the ways I love you… Key not - just unconditional blaise everyone in general but no one in particular - not just love in words but in deeds! Ie. Paper boy - sports car, brand new - maybe won it, but still see picture in minds eye - brick by brick sealed it up for end of his days… what a waste… What about you and the love of God!
How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 - 1861
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day’s Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
From <https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/how-do-i-love-thee-sonnet-43>
Many beggars in Jerusalem - none in church, even world has learned from church -
v.34 iterative present participales.. verb - from time to time as need - picture isn't the rich selling all their property so they become pooor… Luke's point from time to time seller went to great lengths in disposing some of their property -w hen new funds required - special need - special gift - have that kind of generosity - Have that kind of awareness of needs in Christ's body - ie. Church planter in India - gifts earlier this year for Bible's in North Korea - but noww other planter like Bartul…
v.35 another iterative imperfect verb = distributed as had need - with apostles in charge without assitance yet …
Listen - make nee3ds known…
v.36 Singles out on man who came to play important role in advance of the church , past tense called by apostles Son of Consolation…
Levite not just biographical detail - first Levite won by the apostles, after Sanhedrin had uttered it's threats to Peter and John, his conversion a breachin theeir walls, = Jospeh's name discarded = barnabas
Cyprus - because Paul and him will make first missionary journery to Joseph's homeland, the island of Cyprus! Father gave up status as Levite to move to Cyprus, foreign born Jews…
Vs. Achan at beginning of promised land, here at beginning of NT chruch = God's attitude and judgment of hypocrites = his wife also konwing, -no change of mind, no yeilding - husgband and wif'es heart had grown cold and dead - Satan entered where Christ did not remian…
= husband and wife were "ONE HEART and SOUL" ion evil! = one should have restraiend the other, neither did, so aided and abetted the other… premeditated - presumption, never thought of God or of Christ who were present in that assembly according to their promise - God is near!
= unanswerable questions, silent, Satan filled his heart and he gave complete consent! Like 4:32 heart is at centre of personality, including your mind and will. Ananias resisted and turned away fromGod's Spirit and opened his heart to Satan
MHC = This was the blessed fruit of Christ’s dying precept to his disciples, to love one another, and his dying prayer for them, that they all might be one. We have reason to think they divided themselves into several congregations, or worshipping assemblies, according as their dwellings were, under their respective ministers; and yet this occasioned no jealousy or uneasiness; for they were all of one heart, and one soul, notwithstanding; and loved those of other congregations as truly as those of their own. Thus it was then, and we may not despair of seeing it so again, when the Spirit shall be poured out upon us from on high.
Grace made rich willing: Those that gather much have nothing over, because what they have over they have for those who gather little, that they may have no lack, , .
The gospel hath laid all things common, not so that the poor are allowed to rob the rich, but so that the rich are appointed to relieve the poor
Year of Jubilee - good prices? As many as had possession of lands or houses sold them, v. 34. Dr. Lightfoot computes that this was the year of jubilee in the Jewish nation, the fiftieth year (the twenty-eighth since they settled in Canaan fourteen hundred years ago), so that, what was sold that year being not to return till the next jubilee, lands then took a good price, and so the sale of those lands would raise the more money. Now
Levite with inheritance in LORD = He having land, whether in Cyprus, where he was born, or in Judea, where he now lived, or elsewhere, is not certain, but he sold it, not to buy elsewhere to advantage, but, as a Levite indeed, who knew he had the Lord God of Israel for his inheritance, he despised earthly inheritances, would be encumbered no more with them, but brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet, to be given in charity
Dead Sea Scrolls communities - distributed contributions to the community, supervisors of charity …. Letvites not own land in OT times, but by Jesus day they did, and Sadducean priests even rich!
Common Life (4:32–37). This third of the summaries focuses on the early church’s practice of sharing material goods. There were two dimensions to this. First, they “shared everything they had.” They did not claim owner’s rights; their attitude was “what’s mine is yours.” Second, those with the means voluntarily sold some of their own property and brought the proceeds to the apostles for distribution to the needy. The church did not practice common ownership but charity on a voluntary basis. Barnabas is held up as a example of one who gave a particularly generous gift. Barnabas was a major figure in the ministry of Paul. He appears frequently throughout . His nickname “Son of Encouragement” is borne out amply by the role he plays in the subsequent narrative.
Zwolle - Brethren of the Common Life, Intentional Christian Community - Reformation - recovery of idea that what was in monastraries ought to happen - in every day life of our families and our work - Medicant Orders - reform of Fransicans, Dominicans - modern day Shane Cobane…not sustainable - not common ownership, socialism BUT
Summary like ch 2 of everyday life and relationships of people set free by faith in the mighty Name of Jesus.
= hearts together in love = the plot, plan…. Shows by how give for each others need!
Spirit's power to share word, but all great grace was upon them all… ie as Father's hand of favour was upon Jesus as he grew up in grace, so too on youthful church = pray for that here = new season of elderly and young adults … = create a community of mutual compassion that surpasses any family society world can produce!
=
Sacrificial Generosity in Deeds:
Illustrated in gifts that show the kindness and severity of the LORD
Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
Baranabas - empathize as one who lived on others donations - tithes. Excess land perhaps in Levitical city;
Idyllic picture of early church, but now see sin…
Ie. Neb didn't know the power of the God who dwells in the heavens.
Two examples of giving - 5:3-4 lied to God, 3,9 specifically the HS - sin not withholding prodees of sale, but pretending to give it all = Satan desires pridefull deception; pretended greater devotion - Why - tests Spirit ie Fall, Flood, sin of Achan, Gehazzi - Elisha now not a time for….; Test God in this sense is push God to prove his presence in judge/bless; = presuming his unwillingness to judge sin
Others have lied in similar manner - but God makes first occurrence - emphasis on giving rather than witnessing; but our witness has to be pure; audience of ministry is God not men, 4:33 to pervert great grace = to pervert witness concerning Jesus Christ - result of judgment is Great Fear (5:5,11)
Greek Text : Anianis kept back = enosphisato - only once in the LXX = Achan took the devoted things. , only used one other time in NT = pilfering in - agreement w church beore, lied to Holy Spiirit, not to men but God…
True believers, idle question, certainly didn't behave, can't be sure not, unles say no one who is guilty of an an acto f deiberat e deceit can be a XN, - aim to be scrupuolously honest, when see lesson Godisteahcing - seriousness of dishonest yinthehcurch
Satan involed to weaken the church - believe Hooly Spirit is not in the church…dennis Johnton, "if the death of A & Sshock us, we ourselves may have fallen intotheir sin" holiness of God, regardless of eternal state, judgments in time are portent of judgments at end of time…
"Sin of A &S was foloowed by judgment because sin would have stopped the church's addvance… If this sin of acting from bad motivation in order to be superficially accepted tby the church had been allowed to grow iin the church's heart, the whole advance would have been endangered. But after the judgment, the early church went on in power. : God decievely shows his righteous might and gave notice of his determination to preserve His church!
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.
Bright message = the future belongs to the Sons of Encouragement and the crushing of the hypocrites proves …God not about to give up on his infant churh to ploys of Satan!
First opposition of church within - whole ministryis threatened by hypocrisy… therefore when dealt with and awe and fear, return to mega faith, growth…
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