Summary: If you are like me you dream of the Church being united. Being One. Being in that ideal utopian state

Acts 4:32-4:37

The United Utopia


A. When I started really working on this message this week, I had a difficult time

B. The more I read about it the more I was confused

C. I look at book and stuff on the internet about it and either it really didn’t relate to the passage, or it just seemed ridiculous

D. So I thought and thought and thought and thought

E. Then I finally understood the passage, which we will be talking about today

F. So I begin to construct today’s message, and sometimes I write it and then think of a title, but this time I came up with a title right away, ultimately I decided it did not fit

G. The original Title was “Is God a Communist?’

H. The more I worked on it, the more today’s title made sense

I. The United Utopia

J. The utopian society

K. Utopia means a ideal commonwealth

L. When we read this section we think the New Testament Church are the luckiest people ever to live on this earth

M. There experiencing what we all want to experience, they are experiencing Utopia

N. You read this, no one was poor, or hungry, everyone was getting along

O. There were all friends, the Lord was giving them an extra heaping of grace

P. That is what we all want

Q. Boy aren’t they lucky?

R. Was it luck?

S. Or was it hard word?

T. Today we are going to look at the First Church

U. We are going to look at the

a. Reason for being United

b. The Results of being United

c. And The Realities of being United

I. (32) The Reason for being United

A. Explanation

1. This is a loaded verse

2. There are some very interesting phrases in here that we must look at

3. The fist thing we notice is that it says “all the believers”

a) It does not say all the citizens of community

b) This was only the believers

4. The 2nd phrase is of “one in heart in mind

a) That is such a good place to start

b) They all had the same goal they all had the same drive

c) They wanted to see people grow closer to Christ

d) Now that does not eliminate all conflicts, but when you are united, on the same page with one another, then it is not a matter of what we should do it is a matter of how we should do it

5. “They shared everything they had”

a) Does this mean they shared their wives? NO! Wives are not a possession are they?

b) Rather they let their fellow believers use what they had

(1) Let them borrow tools

(2) Let them use their pool

(3) Offered them a ride into town when someone camel was too sick

B. Application

6. So how does this all apply to our lives 2000 years later?

7. That what we need

8. We need that unity

9. Nothing turns people off on church quicker then fighting

10. People come to church to get away from all the fighting that occurs at their work all week long

11. To go to a church and experience more fighting, what the point of going to church then?

12. To become one in heard and mind!

13. We must work at that

14. How do we do that?

15. We have to be aiming for the same thing.

16. Our aim is to reach those who need the Doctor

17. That aim should unite us, should make us of one heart and mind

18. We know the what we are doing

19. How to do it? That can be debated without disrupting unity

C. Illustration

20. In the fall we will be having a 40 days on purpose campaign

21. Guess what? I can not do it

22. Guess what? The elders can not do it

23. Guess what? The Board of Ministries can not do it

24. Guess what? Despite the fact that they can do just about anything, our deaconess can not do it

25. How are we going to do it?

26. Everyone Unified!

27. I added up our “resources” in my head, we have enough

28. “But we are too small! We not big enough to do this or that”

29. Bologna! I know what we have, I know what passions we have, what skills and abilities, I know what talents, I know what gifts we have

30. I added them up, we got it folks

31. It is going to all of us stepping up in a unified voiced, sharing what we got

32. Open your house

33. Volunteer to coordinate various functions

34. Recruit people to come

35. And a whole lot more

36. I know we can do it

37. The church is suppose to be this way

38. We are suppose to be united with one heart and mind

39. Let’s do it Bakerstown!

II. (33) Results of being unified

A. Explanation

1. Here is the first church, unified with one heart and one mind

2. Because of that unity we get a glimpse of what happens

3. Read (33)

4. You don’t know how many times I have dreamed that very thing

5. Basically you had scores of people coming to Christ on a daily basis

6. You had people going out left and right talking about the resurrection of the Lord

7. This was not a Monday night EE class

8. This was not a once a month outreach

9. This was a missional lifestyle

10. Now all of this is happening and look what else

11. “Much grace was upon them all”

12. Grace = God giving us what we do not deserve

13. Here is the Church of Acts, united in one heart and mind, sharing everything, seeing people come to Christ

14. And God is giving them even more

15. Wow! Can you even fathom that?

16. Can you picture that in your mind?

17. Wow!

B. Application

18. So what are we going to do about this

19. I dream, I like to dream, I am the eternal optimist

20. I can see this happening today

21. I can see this happening in the United States

22. I can see this happening in PA

23. I can see this happening in Gibsonia

24. The whole church was unified

25. With that unity, they lives a missional lifestyle

C. Illustration

26. A missional lifestyle is a living a life were everything you do centers around being a apprentice, or as we commonly call it a disciple, of Christ

27. A missional lifestyle is different then a non missional lifestyle take a look at this chart (Emerging church Pg 201)

Non-Missional Missional

Evangelism is an event that you invite people to Evangelism is a process that occurs through relationship, trust, and example

Evangelism is primarily concerned with getting people into Heaven Evangelism is concerned with people’s experiencing the reality of living under the reign of His Kingdom now

Evangelism is done by evangelist Evangelism is done by disciples

Evangelism is something you do in addition to discipleship Evangelism is part of being a disciple

Missions is a department of the church The church is a mission

28. I believe when a church is living out that type of lifestyle the grace will be there, however, that is not what we live out that style, it is rather just a bonus

III. (34-35) Reality of being unified

A. Explanation

1. Wow, this utopian stuff is really cool, gezze the first church was so lucky to be able to experience this unified utopia

2. Well, it is true that they did get to experience this unified utopia, but it didn’t come cheep

3. There were sacrifices to make this a reality

4. Notice that there was no needy person among them

a) You live in one of the wealthiest areas of PA. Northern Allegheny, southern butler county

b) These are great places to live, we have good schools, we have low crime rate, and it is pretty out here

c) But rest assure we live among needy people. There are people in this area that can not afford to eat

d) Don’t believe me, I challenge you to spend one day up at the lighthouse helping Flo out by answering the phones, you will see the vast need

5. So in order for their to be no need, people really had to “step it up”

6. Notice what it says those who owned lands or houses sold them

a) These were the wealthy people.

b) Notice both lands and houses are plural

c) Also notice that Joseph, who we know as Barnabas, sold “A” field, not all his fields

d) So these were your wealthy investors

e) However, selling property and giving it to the Church was no small sacrifice

f) It was a considerable donation

7. But these wealthy people were making sacrifices to live at a lower level of income in order to take care of those who needed to take care of

8. Something else that we need to notice here, they gave with no string attached

9. They did not give to get notice

10. They did not say “here is the money, now do this with it”

11. They weren’t concerned with having there name on the homeless shelter

12. They gave and said, “give it to those who have needs”

B. Illustration

13. We do the same here, you notice on your envelopes it has a blank for benevolent.

14. Benevolent is a gift that is above and beyond your normal giving that we use to help those who are in need

15. Now unfortunately you don’t here about it a lot. (Which makes giving to the fund low)

16. The reason behind that is confidentiality. There is no reason to embarrass those who we help out. Then rumors would start and it just wouldn’t do any good

C. Application

17. So what are the realities of being unified

18. It is painful

19. In order to maintain that level of utopian unity, someone’s going to have to support it

20. This is sacrificial giving

21. Now we throw that term “sacrificial giving” out a lot, it sound good but what does it mean?

22. Sacrificial giving means to give till it hurts and then double the amount

23. Say if you owned 5 houses each worth 100,000

24. Sell one of them for 125,000 and give 125,000 away

25. That hurts doesn’t it?

26. Those who have been given much, much will be demanded (Luke 12:48)

27. Not giving for a reward, not given for recognition, but given sacrificially

28. I want to challenge you with something today

29. Now I understand, for some of you this may not be possible,

30. We live a in the wealthiest country, we have a garbage problem, because we can afford to throw so much out

31. We also live in a country with a lot of debt

32. One of my all time favorite commercials, is this guy who is outside of his beautiful house next to the pool grilling supper, shows you his SUV and then ask the question “how do it do it all?”

33. I am in debt up to my ears

34. Hear is the challenge

35. In America we try to live a better lifestyle then we can afford

36. The challenge then is to live less of a lifestyle then we can afford

37. To find a way instead of spending $10,000 a year more then we make

38. Spend $10,000 less a year then we make

39. I believe this is possible for some people

40. Heather and I are trying to figure out how to cut our expenses

41. Give it a shot, with the extra money

42. Follow the first church’s example


A. One of the things that we have got accustomed to here in America is customize everything

B. We buy a car with stick shift ac CD changer red out side black interior chrome wheels, ect ect ect

C. We go to McDonalds, Ill take a number #3 without lettuce and tomato and onion, can I have fruit instead of fries, and I will take a Dr. Pepper to drink

D. My personal favorite, Sheetz, you start touching the order screen, and you go on and on with the choices and options

E. We would like it if our faith was that easy to

F. God would say “Can I take your order”

G. Yes Lord, I would like to experience growth like the first church, and have the unified utopian society that they enjoyed

H. However, could your hold the persecution, hold the witnessing, hold the share of possessions, I like my stuff, and please please none of the Sacrificial giving stuff

I. That the way I like it

J. Our way does not work

K. Sure we all like to be like the New Testament Church

L. Sure that would be great

M. But are you willing to do the work?

N. Are you willing to go through the pain that it will cause

O. Where do I need to step up to be part of a unified utopian Church