Summary: God wants us to love people, not money. Two of the effects of believing in Jesus are that the heart is loosened in relationship to things and tightened in its relationship to people.
SUPERNATURAL #4: LAY MONEY DOWN AND PICK PEOPLE UP
(July 2009 – Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)
REVIEW ACTS 1-4:
Chapter 1 - Jesus tells the disciples to wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit and power
Chapter 2 - Day of Pentecost, Holy Spirit falls, Peter preaches, church is born
Chapter 3 - Peter and John go to church, heal the crippled man, Peter preaches Jesus
Chapter 4 - The church prays for more boldness and signs and wonders
“Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with GREAT POWER the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And GREAT GRACE was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” (Acts 4:32-35).
• Note first of all that the church was made up of people who believed… in Jesus.
• When we come to believe in Jesus, we are radically transformed from the inside out!
THE BIG IDEA: God wants us to lay money down and pick people up. “Two of the effects of believing in Jesus are that the heart is loosened in relationship to things and tightened in its relationship to people.” (John Piper, Be a Barnabas, Not an Ananias).
• When God’s great grace comes upon us, it empowers us to love people and not money!
1. LOVING PEOPLE:
Verse 32: Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and one soul.
• Jesus said, “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35).
• “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19).
• This is Christianity! God loves us, and His grace empowers us to love people!
2. NOT LOVING MONEY:
Verse 32: Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
• “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5).
• When you believe in Jesus – when you trust His love – you don’t have to worry.
• “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. "Sell what you have and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven!” (Luke 12:32-33).
• Those who know and believe the love of God will be the most generous people.
PERSONAL TESTIMONIES: Of God’s provision: Getting ready to go to Bible College, provision from friends of the exact amount that I needed.
THE EXAMPLE OF BARNABAS:
“And Joseph, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” (Acts 4:36-37).
• Barnabas is one of the little known heroes of the book of Acts:
• 9:27 - Barnabas believed in Saul when no one else did
• 11:22 - he encouraged and cared for the new believers in Antioch
• 11:30 - he was trusted to bring relief money to the poor
• 13:2 - he was the first partner of Paul on his first missionary journey
• 15:37 - he was willing to give John Mark a second chance after he messed up
QUOTE: “Barnabas shines as one of the most mature, reliable, loveable leaders of the early church. And right here Luke shows us how Barnabas’ trusted ministry began—with a demonstrated freedom from the love of things, and a heart of love for the poor. He sold his field and gave all the proceeds to the apostles. In this story he stands for the way true faith in Christ creates a bond of love for people and cuts a bond of love for things… Ananias and Sapphira stand for the exact opposite: people who have not really been changed on the inside by being satisfied with all that God is for them in Christ, but who still want some place in the visible church.” (John Piper).
THE EXAMPLE OF ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA:
“1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." 5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. 7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" She said, "Yes, for so much." 9 Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.” (Acts 5:1-11).