SERIES: The Book of Acts
TEXT: Acts 4:32-37
MESSAGE: A Generous Community
“All this is happening in the wealthiest nation that has ever existed on earth. Indeed, substance abuse, mental illness, and depression seem to have risen right alongside our rising incomes. In fact, some research even suggests that our pursuit of these rising incomes is actually causing the explosion of mental illness. When we consider our unprecedented wealth and our increasing inner despair, we wonder whether our approach to economics, like that of the rich young ruler before us, has tempted us to walk away sad from our Lord’s invitation to come and follow him.” – Michael Rhodes and Robby Holt (Practicing the King’s Economy)
From today’s text, let’s ask three questions about money and possessions that will help us to be a generous community: (1. Who Owns It 2. What’s Enough 3. How’s It Managed)
- Who Owns It (v. 32-33)
“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. 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.”
What’s happening here?
“There was a cycle of impact. The engine of that cycle or that dynamic was this drastic and unreasonable generosity. Not unreasonable from my point of view, or the Bible’s point of view, but from the world’s point of view…the message was backed up by the lives of the people, and the lives of the people were characterized by an unreasonable and unaccountable generosity.” — Timothy Keller
Here’s what we know about God from His Word…
“The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts.” — Haggai 2:8
“Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” — 1 Chronicles 29:12
“For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” — 1 Cor. 10:26
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” — Matthew 6:24
2. What’s Enough (v. 34-35)
“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 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”
3. How’s It Managed (v. 36-37)
“Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” — 2 Corinthians 9:7-8
* Do you serve God or Money?
“I’m rich. I’m adopted into the family of God. I have an imperishable inheritance. I’m going to shine like the stars in the kingdom of my Father. Even now, his holy power and joy has come into my life through the Holy Spirit, and it has begun to grow, and it will eventually swallow up all of my foolishness and all of my sadness and all of my weakness. I am rich.” — Martin Luther
* How have you managed what God has given you?
- “In the Old Testament, we know the Old Testament believers were required to give away 10 percent of their annual income to God’s work, to the poor, and so on. Everything we know from both pagan and Christian historical texts, from the New Testament and early Christian and even pagan historical texts is the early Christians went way beyond the tithe. They went way beyond 10 percent. As a result, the pagans had never seen anybody this promiscuous with their money. They’d never seen people give their money away in such proportion…they’d never seen people give it away with joy. Here’s the reason why. Christians don’t worship money.” – Timothy Keller
* Has your generosity cultivated gospel opportunities?
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” – 2 Corinthians 8:9