Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Jerry Shirley for sharing this series on Acts. It has been a blessing as well as a great help. I have used these for our church, as I spend my days caring for my dying father.
Harmony of the Early Church Acts 4:32-37
I read about a lady, who called long distance to talk with her friend because she was terribly distraught. She told her friend that her church had become a scene right out of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s movie. “The deacons are fighting-with the pastor! Our people hate each other, it’s just awful,” she told her friend. Her friend replied, “Well, let me add this to our church’s prayer list. What’s the name of your church?”
The lady answered, “Harmony Baptist Church!”
Harmony ought to be more than just a name on the sign out front. Harmony should be what God sees when He looks inside the church!
In our passage, today, we find three ways the early Church expressed harmony. Each of these are expressions that should be in Elim Bible church today.
1. The Expression of Experience.
What do I mean here? This is where it all begins. It is all about experiencing REAL salvation, not some fairy tale version the world recommends.
In verse 32 we see the phrase “those who believed”
The early church called ONLY those who surrendered to Jesus “believers” or “Christ followers.” The word “Christian” came into play later.
Rom 10:10 NKJV - 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Rom 10:10 NLT - 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.
Paul is not talking about the blood pumping muscle. This verse deals with the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge.
If you remember, I have said many times that there is only 18 inches between heaven and hell. (The distance between the head and the heart)
A person is not saved simply by developing some mental acceptance about salvation. You can believe all the facts of salvation and still die lost in the clutches of sin. You can have a head knowledge religion but religion does not bring salvation.
Having real heart knowledge, believing in your heart, placing your faith in Jesus is what brings true salvation.
Far too many believe salvation is nothing more than just walking an aisle, or filling out a card, or praying some prayer. But it is so much more than a simple action. True and life changing salvation is a belief of the heart. True salvation affects you, there’s a change that takes place in you. There is a real commitment to the One who died for you! It is about placing your life in the Hands of Jesus, by faith.
I watched every single person walk in here, today and take a seat without giving a single thought to whether or not that pew would support your weight. No one stood there thinking “should I just stand here and think about whether it will hold my weight or do I trust it and sit down? (Stand next to a chair, brought in)
The truth is that I can believe in my head it will support me, but does that give truth to the chairs ability to hold my weight? No! It doesn’t matter what’s in my head! It doesn’t work until I sit down, until I put my heart into the sitting!
You might be asking, Pastor, just what does this have to do with Harmony in the church?
Across town, on Third Loop Road we have a church by the name of Grace Baptist Church, where a friend of mine, John Collins, is the pastor.
I don’t know how you see it but for me, it takes a lot of grace to get along in the church and to move forward as a body.
Every church needs members that have grace working in their life. By this I mean they have been saved! If you look at the church today you will find that a high percentage has not been saved but simply have their name on some roll! The wrong roll I might add. Where will you be when the roll is called up yonder?
It’s no accident that in verse 33b it says “and great GRACE was upon them ALL”!
We all may have our disagreements, but if grace is operating in your life you CAN NOT stay mad!
The early church may not have had the same testimony, experience, feelings, etc. at the moment of salvation, but they ALL had that born-again experience! And so should we!
The second expression of harmony that we see is:
2. The Expression of Giving.
Some skeptics say that verses 34-35 reveal the early church was ruled by Communism.
Is that true? Is that what these verses refer to? No!
What we read in these verses was voluntary, and the motivation was love.