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Summary: We have been considering the infant Church in the midst of hostile forces. We now come to a section of the book which gives us a glimpse of the internal conditions of the Church at that time, and particularly of the fellowship that existed around old....

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October 28, 2013

By: Tom Lowe

Title: The Continuing Unity of the Church (4.32-37)

Acts 4.32-37 (KJV)

32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,

37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.

Introduction

We have been considering the infant Church in the midst of hostile forces. We now come to a section of the book which gives us a glimpse of the internal conditions of the Church at that time, and particularly of the fellowship that existed around old Jerusalem First Christian Church.

The believers had prayed and God’s Spirit had filled them and given them new power. The church that believes in the power of prayer will know the blessing of the Holy Spirit in its ministry. How can we tell when a church is really filled with the Spirit? When you go back to that first filling at Pentecost (Acts 2.44-47), you will discover three outstanding characteristics of a spirit filled church:

1. It is unified (vv. 2.44, 46).

2. A Spirit-filled church is active and well-known in the community, and will have “favor with all the people” (v. 2.47).

3. A Spirit-filled church is multiplied, because the Lord will add new believers to the church daily (v. 2.47).

Luke had two reasons for including this passage here. For one thing, he used it to introduce Barnabas to his readers. A common technique of Luke was to introduce a character quickly in a minor role and then later bring him on stage in a major role. This is what he did with Barnabas. Luke’s second purpose in these verses was to show how Barnabas and the rest of the Church contrasted with Ananias and Sapphira (chap. 5). The generosity of the Church and especially Barnabas differed markedly from the selfishness of that husband-wife team.

Commentary

32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

In verses 32 through 35 there is a general description of the condition of the church in Jerusalem. But it is not something new, because the same condition existed back at the beginning of the Christian Church, immediately after the giving of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. In chapter 2, verses 42 through 45 there are four things mentioned which characterize the infant Church.


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