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134: The Church’s Ministry in Jerusalem-Part III

May 15, 2009

Text: Acts 4:32-5:16

Outline:

  1. Sharing/Caring              Acts 4:32-36
  2. Lying/Deceiving           Acts 5:1-11
  3. Teaching/Healing         Acts 5:12-16

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Not only was the early Church devoted to Christ and to one another but they were united in heart and mind. They had the heart of Christ and they had the mind of Christ. They were united in the will of God and they were united in serving God. Their passion was to Love God and to love their neighbors, thus fulfilling the commandments of God.

They did not want to be burdened with possessions that they did not need or would get in the way of their ministry. They wanted to minimize any distractions which would take their minds off serving Jesus Christ. So they sold everything that they did not need, including land, and gave it to the Apostles to manage so that none of them were in need. Everything they owned belonged to God and it was to be used to carry on the ministry of Jesus Christ, fulfilling His instructions to them prior to His ascension.

Barnabus probably set an example by selling his land and giving it to the Apostles. Ananias and Saphira did likewise but they withheld some of the proceeds of the sale after they had made a promise to give the full amount. We don’t know how much they withheld but we do know that what they gave did not represent what they had promised. The result was death.

Why wasn’t God more lenient? After all He is a God of mercy and grace. A similar incident happened to Aaron’s sons when the tabernacle worship was implemented. They too were killed for not following instructions. I think the reason is that the early members, the core group, were held to a higher standard. Unity is important. Unity is still important. But unity doesn’t exist in an environment of lies and deceit. The Lord can not build His Church into a strong body of believers if there is lying and deceit among its members. If they can’t trust one another, then others will not trust their message which is His message of redemption through faith in Jesus Christ. Having a good reputation among the people is important in having His message believed and accepted.

So the Apostles continued teaching and healing in the temple courtyard. They were respected among the people. People believed the gospel message and they began reaching out beyond the walls of Jerusalem.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Unity is a precious gift. We must be of one heart [God’s] and of one mind [loving service], thus fulfilling Christ’s command to love Him and to love others.
  2. We must use our possessions to serve others and thereby practice practical stewardship of all God has given us.
  3. Fulfill your commitments with devotion and obedience. Holding back on promises to God creates schisms among His people. Holding back on any promise creates schism.
  4. Our ministry must be one that is effective and respected in order to maximize its impact on people such that they are convicted of their sin, repent, and place their faith in Jesus. Such a ministry will always be known afar.

Christ is Risen! He is God! Is He your God?

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