Summary: The contrast between unity and disunity in the Body of Christ
Tonight, we are going to take a look at two contrasting sections of Scriptures. One set of verses which can lead you to blessings and the other set which carry with them a curse. It is all an issue of integrity. It is not uncommon in our world today to see people try to compromise on integrity. It brought the fall of PTL years ago, and it continues to wreck havoc both inside the circles of ministries, business and daily living. It is a lack of integrity that leads to a high price tag, higher than any want to pay for their discretions.
I. Unity leads to a spirit of sharing.
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.
We see this in families where unity exists, they share what they have in common, and so here in verse 32 we find the early church practicing that same unity among themselves. They had good reason for sharing. The political unrest in Palestine was leading to economic instability and famine. People were moving into the city from the out lying areas, leaving farming and fishing to seek their opportunities in the big city, and those who were coming to Christ were also facing economic and social sanctions because of their new found faith. So they were coming together in one heart and one soul, sharing in servant hood, which was characteristic of the life of Christ.
This same unity can be found in countries where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is illegal and believers have only themselves to cling to in sharing to meet their needs. And even in a prosperous nation such as America, where is it those in need turn to for help? Political and economic swings, up and down, can always be expected to occur no matter where one lives. It presents a viable witnessing opportunity for the church when she is prepared for those times, meeting the needs of the saints by sharing with each other in a spirit of unity, and touching the world as the means are present. It also takes wise discernment to distinguish between the legitimate needs of our society and the laziness of some as well.
Here we gather a glimpse of how communal living among believers took place. It was not monastic for the apostles and brothers of Jesus we read in parts of the Scripture were married. They did not form a closed, gated community which was open to only those who proclaimed Christ as Lord and Savior. Instead, they remained in their homes, living their lives out in the community where they could be a righteous witness to unbelievers. They also did not hock their goods and turn them into collective pot where the leadership would dole out the goods for what they would consider to be the legitimate needs of the group. They retained their personal possessions, although they did not treat them as private possessions, but items which the entire group could share in their use.
A. Sharing the Gospel
And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. Vs. 33
This was the awesome power of the Holy Spirit that was not only bring signs wonders and miracles, but changing the lives of the believers in all manners of living. This is the kind of power demonstrated by the words of Christ in John 13:35, This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.
It is that love for each other which will cause someone to reach outside of their comfort zone and share the message of Jesus Christ with both relatives, friends and strangers. And when this act of humility manifests, there is also the grace of God which falls in the midst of living.
Earlier in the passage, we read how they had been told to not share the message of Christ, but the love of Christ, and His love for fallen mankind compels us, even at times of great risk, not to be silent, but to speak out the truth to those who need to hear. Sin is a transgression against God, and we must not seek the comfort of isolation, but the very risk of going against what is politically correct to bring people the Good News which will lead to their heavenly reward, for in contrast, our silence will only aid in allowing people to pass through life without one more witness, a witness which could be the vital link between eternity with God or eternity without.