Summary: The early church lived in harmony with one another ~ how can we accomplish this today?
LIVING IN HARMONY: Acts 4:32a
“The whole group of believers lived in harmony.” (God’s Word)
Have you ever thought about this verse? It doesn’t matter which translation you read it out of, it always says the same thing:
• KJV, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.”
• NIV, “All the believers were one in heart and mind.”
• CEV, “The group of followers all felt the same way about everything.”
So I like the way that the God’s Word Translation says it: “The whole group of believers lived in harmony.”
• And that’s a great place to live:
• So great that there’s a Harmony, California;
• One in Minnesota, one in North Carolina, one in Rhode Island, one in Pennsylvania;
• And there’s a wide spot in the road named Harmony in Fulton Co. KY. (wayyyy down in the southwestern part of the state.)
I). So what does it mean to live in Harmony?
A). Webster’s dictionary writes that Harmony is, “an agreement in facts, opinions, manners, interests, etc.; peace and friendship.”
• ADAM CLARKE, “THEY WERE IN A STATE OF THE MOST PERFECT FRIENDSHIP AND AFFECTION. IN ALL THE 5000 THERE APPEARED TO BE OF ONE HEART AND ONE SOUL.”
• John Gill, “there was an entire consent and agreement in doctrine, in matters of faith they were all of one mind and judgment, and there was a perfect harmony in their practice, they all performed the same duties, and observed the same commands and ordinances; and all pursued the same interest, and had the same ends and views; and there was a strict union of their affections to each other; their souls were knit to one another; so that there was, but as it were, one soul in this large body of Christians.”
• Finally, John Wesley: “So long as that truly Christian love continued, they could not but have all things common.”
B). And so there’s the key: LOVE
• It’s a simple following of the two great commandments!
• Love God with all…
• Love others as self!
• So to steal from a popular phrase: “KNOW love, know harmony ~ NO love, no harmony.”
2). How can we possibly live in harmony?
Let’s look at what happened before verse 32: What are the common factors (along with love) of the early church?
1. They were all believers in Christ! They didn’t just ‘profess’ Christ or Christianity ~ they were believers (which requires obedience).
2. They were in unity together:
o Just prior to this, Peter & John were on trial for preaching Jesus;
o They were brought before the Jewish rulers and leaders and commanded never to teach about Jesus ~ or even to mention His name ~ ever again (18).
o When Peter & John were released, they went to the other believers and told them what had happened. Verse 24 tells us that “When the apostles heard this, they were united and loudly prayed to God.”
3. They prayed for boldness & results! (read vv. 29-30) ~ What would it be like if we Christians were to pray like this today!?!?!?!
4. They were once again filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the Word of God! (31)
3). What are the result of ‘harmonious living?’
1. Evangelism explosion: Remember, in Acts 2 where we are told that “Every day the Lord saved people, and they were added to the group” (2:47)
a. That continued as the disciples testified daily about the Lord Jesus!
2. They received an abundance of God’s grace:
a. V. 33. “God’s abundant good will was with all of them.” (God’s Grace)
b. By definition then we see that God continued giving the believers things they did not deserve and could not have gotten themselves.
3. Verse 34, “None of them needed anything.”
a. Here’s a spiritual law: God’s abundant grace is always complemented with His abundant blessings.
b. All those who were truly following God; who were loving Him with all, and loving others as themselves; who prayed and expected results; who were in unity with God and with one another; and were filled with the Holy Spirit, always had everything they needed.
And that’s the key to the Church living in Harmony!