Summary: Expostion of Acts 4:32-37 about the unity in the church and its four sources
Text: Acts 4:32-37, Title: All for One, Date/Place: NRBC, 8/26/07, AM
A. Opening illustration: A pastor thought God gave Him an idea, and he presented it in the monthly council meeting. After giving his most impassioned plea and really “selling” the idea to the counsel, the counsel voted and voted down the pastors proposed changes 12-1. The moderator looked at the pastor and said, “Well pastor, it’s 12 votes to 1. Looks like you’ve been out voted. Looks like time is up for the evening, so will you please close in prayer.” The pastor, not wanting to give up yet on what he felt God was leading him to do then lead in prayer. As he prayed, he lifted his hands up to heaven and prayed, “Loooorrrdddd - I know my brothers here do not have the same vision you have given me. Please help them to see that this is not MY vision, but YOOOOUUUUURRRR vision!” At that exact moment, a lightning bolt with a loud clap of thunder burst in through the window in the meeting room, striking the table, splitting it in two and knocking all the council to the floor. As the dust cleared, the pastor looked at the moderator and said - so, what do you think about that? The moderator, dusting himself off, sighed and said, “Well, I guess that’s 12 votes to 2, then...” 100 years of Christian fellowship, unity, and community outreach ended last Tuesday in an act of congregational discord. Holy Creek Baptist Church was split into multiple factions. The source of dissension is a piano bench which still sits behind the 1923 Steinway piano to the left of the pulpit. Members and friends at Holy Creek Baptist say that the old bench was always a source of hostility. People should have seen this coming. At present, Holy Creek Congregation will be having four services each Sunday. There has been an agreement mediated by an outside pastor so that each faction will have its own separate service with its own separate pastor. Since the head pastor is not speaking to the associate pastors, each will have their own service, which will be attended by factioned members. The services are far enough apart that neither group will come into contact with the other. An outside party will be moving the piano bench to different locations and appropriate positions, between services, so as to please both sides, and avoid any further conflict that could result in violence.
B. Background to passage: This passage is a small interlude between the prayer and speaking the Word with boldness, and the first of the internal struggles of the early church. Here we get another picture of life in the early church. And the recurring theme is unity.
C. Main thought: In this passage, we will see that there are four keys to spiritual unity for the church
A. Same Passion - Christ (v.32)
1. The whole church had the same heart. A heart set ablaze by Jesus. Their passion was to know Him in the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, and be conformed to His death. Christ is the main source of unity. He was the focus of their individual lives, and thus when they came together they really were together. They were in love with Jesus. They lived their lives for Him and His glory.
2. Philip 1:21, 3:8, 14, Jer 32:39
3. Illustration: “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all turned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship” –Tozer, The Sunflower is probably the most amazing flowers God created. They literally follow the sun. No I don’t know about you, but one the most amazing things I have seen is a field of sunflowers. Watching one follow the sun through is cute. Watching hundreds in absolute unison follow the sun is actually quite incredible. Something I found out recently, is that Sunflowers continue tracking the suns direction long after sun set. Through 360 degree’s they ensure that they are always oriented in the direction of the sun. Their unity is totally dependant on one thing. Their relationship to the sun.
4. We are not called to be cookie-cutter believers. But there should be a common desire in all our lives for Christ. A common drive that causes us to pursue Jesus. A common thirst for which we all crave, and thus we gather together to drink deeply from the Water of Life. When division or disagreement exists, we must be willing to examine our own hearts, and see if our passion at that moment is the fame of His name. If disagreements affect our pursuit of Christ, they must be dealt with. Is Christ the preeminent one in your life? Is pursuing Him the most important thing to you? Is He your treasure that you would sell out to gain?