Summary: Give or die...not tithing but truth. God requires truth and will judge, what would happen if we were judged today in our normal business day?
Truth or Consequences
We are in the process of going through the book of Acts and refreshing our minds and hearts as to what happened in the earliest church. In the scripture time line we are only weeks or perhaps months away from the birthday of the church, Pentecost. And we are watching as everything was new. Luke has recorded the best stories and is documenting the church perhaps for historical reasons or maybe as part of the defense preparation for Paul’s trial in Rome.
Last week we talked about the need to notice God there must be some expectation that he is there. Sometimes people do things that demonstrate his presence because his character and boldness exceed what the person is personally capable of. The spirit can change all the expected outcomes ad to notice we have to be open.
This morning we are taking the assigned scripture and doing two separate readings. The first section is a sort of an aside into how the believers were living.
They were living as one heart and mind…that sounds so good, no disagreements, No differing of opinions over what we should do. Unity is what that is describing…unity.
Luke give a little glimpse of the early church tat makes people today a bit uncomfortable. They unity of the believers leads to system of taking care of everybody in the church. Some might say it sounds like communism. But I believe that it is dramatically different.
The scripture says, “No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” Now that just doesn’t sound right does it. They gave up their stuff….Let me be more specific , THEIR MONEY, so that everyone could be taken care of.
Hay Hay Hay, we are talking about My money.
My savings, my house and Lake Place, my boat, all the things I worked so hard to get.
Scripture is hard on us sometimes. I have heard people say that we just need to get back to what the early church said and did. Then we find a story like this. People are generously giving so that thoes that don’t have get along.
People that are giving up their nest egg, the rental properties, the old home place and not putting the money in the bank but giving it up so that the people that can’t feed, cloth and house their children can.
Our reaction, all that sounds very noble and I am so glad that someone is doing that. Who me, Oh I could never do that, I am just as poor as those other folks.
I believe what the early church was doing was being the safety net. Society had no way of dealing with the poor and bad things happened to people. The people in the church that were most blessed responded to the needs. They gave up of the extra things they had, they risk their future security to meet other people’s needs that day.
When the church operates that way, and it works you get a sense of security that if…if something happens in your life that you will get the help you need.
The scripture describes the apostles teaching about the resurrection of Jesus and Much Grace was upon them.
They were men anointed by God, it was obvious in their teaching and in their leadership. It does not day that they asked the people for money, it does not indicate that they told the believers that all their property belonged to God so sell it and bring the money in.
They are not acting like a televangelist with a lot of bills to pay. They are just sharing what they know is true, the story of Jesus.
In this setting in Jerusalem there are no needy people.
-Does that indicate that God blessed everyone with a set monthly check so that the old and crippled were taken care of?
-Does it mean that no one that believed happened to be poor or needy?
No, the scripture tells us that as a response to the message of the apostles, people brought gifts. The Grace of God was so evident and so moving that from time to time the people that owned lands or houses sold them and brought the money to the apostles.
I don’t think we are directly talking about tithe here.
We are talking about people that have been blessed with possessions responding to the good news. We are talking about new believers that respond to the Grace that have received
The scripture tells us that they put the gifts at the feet of the apostles.
Ok, I think that this strongly indicates that apostles are very important to the church. They are representatives of God. They demonstrate God’s power and they teach about what God has done through the actions of Jesus Christ the son.