Summary: God’s grace finds expression in the way we treat both people and possessions.
Living a Life of Grace
Acts 4:32-37 32All 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. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. 36Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Intro: V.33 says, “…much grace was upon them all.” What is grace? It has been called favor that we don’t really deserve. This favor can be with God and/or man. Acts 2:47 tells us that these early believers were “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” God was pleased with their lives, and people saw how they lived and loved, and they were drawn to them. When we live a life of grace, we take some of that undeserved favor that God has shown to us, and we pass it on to others who do not deserve it either. If we deserved God’s love and forgiveness, then it wouldn’t be grace. If people around us deserved to be loved, blessed, and treated well, then it wouldn’t be grace. When we owe something to someone, we are not being noble by paying it. We are just doing what we are obligated to do. However, when we live in such a way that God’s kindness and favor spills all over everyone around us – that is what it means to live a life of grace. Here is the main truth of the sermon today:
Prop: God’s grace finds expression in the way we treat both people and possessions.
Interrogative: How does God’s grace in our lives affect our relationships?
TS: Let’s talk about that as we look at three main thoughts from the text.
I. Grace Gives Us the Proper Attitude Towards Other Believers (32)
32”All the believers were one in heart and mind.”
- In Psalm 133:1, the Message Bible says, “How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!” I’ve noticed something about people, whether they are Christians or not. People normally do not just happen to get along. Part of the reason for that is because we all come from different backgrounds with different life experiences. We all view things somewhat differently based on how we were raised and what values have been placed in us. What is important to one of us may not be an issue with someone else. So, based on what we know, we are pretty sure our way is right. Otherwise, we would probably change the way we do things.
-So, in light of this, how is it possible for people to become like the believers we just read about in v.32? 32”All the believers were one in heart and mind.”
-Sociologists, as well as psychologists, would probably tell you that people tend to form close knit groups based on commonalities. So, even though we all have different experiences and ideas, there are many things that we have in common. Let’s look at a few of them.
1. We all have sinned. We’ve all made mistakes, but more than that, we’ve sinned against God.
2. Forgiveness is offered to us all by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
3. When we ask God to forgive us and lead us, the same HS comes and makes His home inside of us. Again, The Message says in 1 Cor. 12, that “By means of his one Spirit, we all said goodbye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything.” So, the same HS lives in each of us, drawing us closer to God, and closer to one another.
4. By ourselves we are incomplete. We are complete in Christ, but not independently so. Without one another, the body of Christ (the Church) is incomplete. So, it’s not all about me or all about you, it is about the Lord and US! Together, we can grow in the Lord and accomplish what He has called us to do.
-How, then, do we foster an environment that results in what we read in v.32? ”All the believers were one in heart and mind.” Think about it! The Jerusalem church was made up of about 5000 men. How do you get so many people to come into agreement and unity? Well, it was not without its challenges. We read about disagreements and debates, but together they pursued and found the common ground of God’s will for their lives. How can we do that? Without spending a lot of time talking about it, let me just say that they shared the same HS, the same word of God, they were willing to humble themselves like Jesus did, and they were willing to share their possessions to make sure everybody’s needs were being met. There was a lot of God’s grace on them!