There is only one force and power that can conquer the dreaded disease of materialism. Each one of us, like it or not have this wickedness imbedded within. Our world that is secular uses every trick it can find to generate a materialistic world because this is what makes the world go round … this is what sustains the economy … though this is what renders us impotent in the real world of need. The force and power that is the only antidote for materialism is when the saved soul’s pocket is converted to Jesus! No … this is not a double salvation … this is an expression. Most of us Christians are still influenced by materialism and we need deliverance and this deliverance comes when the Holy Spirit reveals the needs of other believers … and convinces us that we as One Body need to share with the needy believers from what God has given us.
(1) Everything we have belongs to God. Never forget:
Ps 24:1 The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
This is what I mean by the conversion of the pocket. Once the believer understands that everything owned is actually God’s and He appointed me as a steward of what is His, I will use His possessions wisely within the Body of Believers.
(2) Everything we have needs to be used for God’s glory as we serve Him. Nowhere does God say we cannot enjoy what He gives us … nor does He force us to use it to help others … but He does say we ought to help the needy believers. Having said this, the money and possessions God entrusts to us, be it through our hard work, clever financial abilities or inheritance may be enjoyed. God does not say we must live as hermits … but within our comfort we are to assist the needy.
(3) Sharing from what we have is the first step towards understanding the importance of tithing correctly. To give an asset is one thing … but it is totally different to give at least a 10th of our income every month. The spiritual gift of giving to the needy from what we have is the start of learning to tithe regularly to the Cause of Jesus Christ. Having said these things, please read:
Ac 4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
1) One in heart and mind. This is the real crutch of the matter … oneness in their understanding of the Gospel and how it influenced them emotionally. They clearly grasped who Jesus was and what He had done for them. They understood “salvation by grace” and that it was underserved. They understood what adoption into God eternal Kingdom meant and who their new Master was … King Jesus. They understood His sacrifice … leaving heaven and all the glory to dwell on earth in the flesh … so that He who was rich in glory would become poor on earth … so that He could experience the life of man, remain sinless and die in man’s place for man’s sins. They understood Jesus was God the Father’s Messiah … and more they believed and were saved! That which was in the mind … that which was academic translated into loving, joyful emotions of the heart. It was not only the Lord they love and rejoiced in … they loved all the people God saved as He saved them. They were one and in their oneness they were together within Jesus’ Kingdom … and together they need to face the plenty and the want, the wealth and the poverty, the joy and the sadness … and they did!
2) The reality of true communism. This is not State controlled. It is a personal thing. In fact true communism is true capitalism as well. By this I mean that all who had much and were able, shared with those without and in need because those who had never claimed their possessions to be a personal thing. They understood the Gospel family was to be a sharing and caring family … as we read:
Ac 4:34 There were no needy persons among them.
Allow these thoughts to arrest your mind … true communism and true capitalism working together within the Body of Christ, proving oneness and unity within a common cause.
3) Unity and oneness are the foundation for grace in abundance.
Ac 4:33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
Right here lies a huge lesson for all Churches where there are divisions and fractions. The Early Church’s unity and oneness, coupled to their prayer life became the source of power for the apostles. Instead of fear for the Sanhedrin, their boldness for Jesus increased. Instead of stopping to minister the Gospel they continued. Their ministry and their motivation was Jesus, risen from the dead. They wanted hearers to grasp the greatest miracle of God … raising His Son Jesus from the dead was their power source, energy and corner stone for ministry. They did not speak about a dead man. They spoke about a risen Savior. In return for their oneness, unity and boldness of proclamation, God grace was upon them all. As no one was excluded from being looked after, so no one missed out on God’s grace that flowed from His heart. We shall unpack the rest of the passage tomorrow … but what we have seen today is electrifying. It is a demonstration of a real work of God in the hearts of a community of people. There is a closing thought here. The sentence construction in the Greek for … No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had … was not a onetime happening. This was ongoing. Do we just help the poor in the Church family once … or is it ongoing? Remember what true communism and true capitalism means.
Thank You Lord for what the Gospel does for the Body of Christ. Help us to be committed to oneness, unity and boldness. Amen.