Summary: The life of the early believers and church was most unusual. It was a far cry from the way the church and its believers live today. Yet, as we study their lives, we get a clear picture of the essentials for living together and for fulfilling the mission
The life of the early believers and church was most unusual. It was a far cry from the way the church and its believers live today. Yet, as we study their lives, we get a clear picture of the essentials for living together and for fulfilling the mission of the Lord.
The first thing we see is that the early church was of one heart and of one mind. READ v. 32. In the original Greek manuscript is literally says, “the heart and the soul were one.” The person’s whole being was one with all other believers. What we talked about last time they fully had—oneness, one accord, love, unity, harmony.
And remember, there were multitudes, thousands of believers at this time. How in the world can a body of people achieve one heart and one mind and become so unified? Well this verse reveals how.
The early believers gave their heart and mind to Jesus’ Lordship and mission. They believed, truly believed, that Jesus had died for their sins, had risen from the dead, had been exalted to the right hand of God, had commissioned them to go forth helping people, and He was to return and reward believers for being faithful to the mission of saving and ministering to people.
They were thoroughly convinced of the mission of Christ, of the great commission so they gave all they were to speak the Word of God. Nothing, not even threats and persecution, could keep them from proclaiming the Word and carrying out the mission of Christ. The point is they knew Jesus to be the Lord, so they gave their lives to be His servants. They surrendered themselves totally to the Lordship of Christ.
Jesus prayed, in John 17:22-23, that we might be one, even as He and the Father are one: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
But for that to happen many walls have to fall down. Suspicion has to be replaced with openness; uncertainty has to be replaced with willingness; and fear has to be replaced with love. On the day of Pentecost, that is precisely what happened — the barriers came falling down. The Holy Spirit of God moved in and produced a wonderful unity in that first group of believers.
Our text today describes the extent of that unity as it existed at the very beginning. For a while, they were allowed to live in the glorious oneness which only the Spirit can produce. I believe this sense of community can be recaptured today when we allow Christ to be Lord, and surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our personal lives.
I believe that deep down within us, we all long to be close, to be part of the same family, to be in tune -- and in touch with one another. Acts 4:32-35 gives us an inside look at how the church cared for other believers. In this passage, we see 3 different degrees of their unity: ¬ they had a mystical unity, a ministerial unity, and a material unity. We’ll also discover three principles that can help us experience that same depth of unity today.
A Mystical Unity
Let’s begin by looking at 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.”
When the Holy Spirit of God took charge of the lives of these believers on the day of Pentecost, He produced a mystical unity among them. They were experiencing a oneness, a unity which they could never have produced on their own. This diverse multitude that had gathered from all nations and tongues had been melted together by divine love into a union which was mystical in nature and divine in origin. Those things, which before had divided them, now faded away. They had met the Lord. They were together and they were one.
Notice the three words mentioned in the first part of this verse: “believers,” “heart”, and “mind.” Unity was evident in those three areas. It was a unity of faith, a unity of emotions, and a unity of will. Notice that the "believers" were one. They were one with each other because they believed the same thing. They had placed their faith in Jesus and now were attempting to live out that faith.
There can be no fellowship without correct belief. 1 John 1:7 says, "But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another." It is only as we walk in the light of the truth of God’s Word that we can enjoy true fellowship with one another. A common faith unites us. So if a common faith unites us, why can’t we all get along? What’s up with that? And most of you know what I’m talking about.