1. Everyone wants to make a positive difference, but few seem to know how. However, many people become so indifferent that end up having more of a negative than a positive influence on those around them ö not the apostles.
Dr. Luke wrote, "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. And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and abundant grace was upon them all." (Acts 4:32,33)
If you want to make the greatest contribution for eternity do all you can for the growth of Christâs church and her ministries.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you make a difference in helping your church grow in its evangelism, teaching and loving service.
2. The apostles made a difference because they were willing to sacrifice their time, talents and resources for a cause that would far outlast anything else.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you be more willing to sacrifice for the sake of Christ’s eternal kingdom and righteousness - not just your own personal agenda. (Acts 4:21)
3. The apostles were willing to sacrifice their possessions because they knew this would give God a chance to show the world how Christâs love ministers to human as well as spiritual needs. The Bible says, "They laid the proceeds of the sale of their houses and lands at the apostlesâ feet and they would distribute to each, as any had need." (Acts 4:34,35)
Application: Ask the Lord to help you be more willing to see your sacrifices as an investment that will yield 30, 60 and a 100-fold increase ö something far greater than what the stock market can generate.
4. The apostles avoided many problems with big building projects because they continued to focus their fellowships in local neighbor meetings. The apostles taught that everything we have belongs to the Lord and should be used primarily for His purposes. Something of the power of a local witness is lost when people congregate in huge cathedrals away from their own neighborhoods. The apostles chose to use the money they would have put into expensive buildings instead into mission work. It is not a question of how much money we have but how do we use the amount we have.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you to re-evaluate the way you spend your money so as to get the greatest eternal return on your investments. Trust the Lord to help you find a way to make the greatest difference in winning people to Christ and seeing church planted and grown with your financial investments.
5. The apostles realized that they could make a greater difference being unified than if they worked individually. Peter and John and the believers unified themselves with prayer, praise and mutual service. When people who are likeminded pray, praise and serve the Lord together there is a synergistic result that multiplies each personâs contributions. The apostles realized that by working through the church they were able to shift the focus away from individual effort to what the body of Christ could contribute to the entire society.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you work in unified cooperation with the church for maximum influence.
6. The apostles were able to keep their purpose, encouragement and impact focused even though they were merely a small group. Often a small committed group of believers have a greater effect than a large disjointed congregation.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you to work in small groups of committed fellowships that will grow along the best lines of cultural networks. Make a difference in the lives of people who are most teachable children, youth and the spiritually hungry. Consider the best ways that your church can win the most people to Christ this year.
7. The apostles did not fellowship with those who kept crying, "What is in it for me?" Do not spend your time associating with selfish people who are not willing to grow up in Christ. Perhaps, the biggest opponents for the advancement of the kingdom of God are carnal-apathetic believers.
Application: Trust the Lord to give you the kind of companions that are more concerned about seeking His kingdom and righteousness than their own interests.