4:32-37) Giving From The Heart
We are entering our 11th study on Acts. I hope you are seeing just
how awesome this book is. There is an excitement in Acts that
continues to built with time. The scenery is changing continually.
Now that we've gotten our feet wet, I plan to provide studies on a more
frequent basis. This is the second study this week. Always feel free to
comment on any study that has been provided.
This is Acts11 - Acts
4:32-37 Giving From The Heart.
"And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart
and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him
was his own, but all things were common property to them."
What are the factors behind all this togetherness and sharing?
Consider the following:
(1) Thousands of people are receiving Jesus as Messiah. A new
community of believers is forming around the apostles. And no one
wants to leave Jerusalem. Can you imagine the excitement and
anticipation with these new believers? What will happen next?
Miracles and healings are taking place. All eyes are on the apostles.
(2) This new community of believers also speaks to their Jewish
heritage. For the Jewish peoples, hospitality and sharing are
considered mitzvots, that is, good deeds. Sharing is at the very
of their Abrahamic faith.
(3) Then we need to consider how the Holy Spirit has created a new
love bond between the believers. This is what the unity of the Spirit is
about. Did not the apostle say, "The love of God has been poured out
in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Rom
Side note: Paul said, "Showing tolerance for one another in love,
diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
How often do we find a new group, or a new organization
springing up whose rally cry is, 'We are creating a new unity.' But no
one can create a new unity. All we can create is a fresh division in the
body of Christ. Our charge is to keep the unity that God has already
given us in Christ. We are given the love walk as our union with other
believers. Love is to all the activities, of all believers, for all times.
(Think about it.)
We will look at a (4) reason shortly.
"And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the
resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them
Notice the miracles are taking place through the apostles. There is a
reason for this. The apostles had the chief role in laying the foundation
for Christ's new community. You will see later that when a new cultural
group is brought into the covenant, an apostle is always present.
"For there was not a needy person among them, for all who
were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds
of the sales and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be
distributed to each as any had need."
Looking for His Appearing
(4) This brings us to another reason behind the selling of homes and
bringing the proceeds to the apostles for the care of the peoples.
There is a doctrine that has always served to place a spiritual tension
in believers of all ages. (I'm using tension in a good sense, such as in
expectation.) This doctrine is found primarily by two Greek words,
'epiphaneia' (appearing), and 'parousia' (actual presence or
Since the beginning of the Church age every generation of believers
has lived with a certain expectation of the return of the Lord. It is this
expectation that serves as one of the hallmarks of true new covenant
it appears the Lord hid the 'time' of His appearing for the purpose of
distinguishing true believers of all ages. It also serves as the purifying
doctrine of the Church.
Paul said, "In the future there is laid up for me the crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me
on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His
appearing [epiphaneia]." (2Tim4:8)
John said, "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not
appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears
(phaneroo: make visible), we will be like Him, because we will see
just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies
himself, just as He is pure." (1John3:2,3)
"So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of
appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those
who eagerly await Him." (Heb9:28)
"For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even
you, in the
presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming (parousia)?" (1Thess2:19)
And so it was the expectation of the return of the Lord that is behind
early believers selling their homes, and bringing the proceeds to the
apostles. We will see later that it was not God's intention for the
believers to 'clump' up in a bunch. They needed to be scattered into
the nations. (Salt has to be sprinkled, not clumped on food. Christians
often have a tendency to clump. This is why the Lord often allows
certain things to happen in order to scatter us. Covered in a later
Notes on Barnabas
"Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called
Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of
Encouragement), and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought
the money and laid it at the apostles' feet."
(1) Joseph is of the tribe of Levi. This means he is connected to the
priesthood of Israel.
(2) He is from Cyprus. Joseph is a Hellenist, or a Greek speaking Jew
of the Diaspora. A great many of the Hellenist Jews became
Christians. According to one Jewish writer, the larger part of the Diaspora of the middle east had all but disappeared by 300 a.d. What
happened to them? They became Christian.
(3) Joseph has a nick name. Barnabas means 'Son of
Encouragement.' Have you ever met a son or daughter of
encouragement? These are the most beautiful of people in God's
kingdom. Nothing but grace flows through their lips. We have a goodly
number of sons and daughters of encouragement in our ministry.
(4) This same Joseph soon was known to everyone as Barnabas. It
was the apostles who gave him his name. Barnabas became a
traveling companion of Paul, and was noted as a prophet. Isn't one of
the main functions of prophecy to encourage? (By the way, all
prophets are teachers, but not all teachers are prophets.)
The study is open.
Previous: #10a (Acts 4:23-31) The Provision of the Spirit (Follow-up)
Next: #11a - Curiosities on Pentecost (Shavout)
This study on
Acts was originally part of a
series on the book of Acts given to members of
Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003.
They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, Founder and Senior Pastor of
Christian Challenge International.