Summary: The fifth message in a series on the book of Acts
Unstoppable – The Unseen War 10/15/17
If you’re just joining us, we’re in a series in Acts entitled – Unstoppable. From inception, God has intended that His church would be an unstoppable force to carry His good news of God’s love and Jesus sacrifice to the nations. Yet for this to occur, this movement can’t be a movement of human ability/ingenuity, but a movement of the H.S.
Starting at Pentecost, after Jesus ascended, the H.S. descended to launch the G.C. in/through His people – and heaven broke loose. As we’ve already witnessed through the first four weeks – God was/is radically at work transforming lives in miraculous ways.
What you may’ve missed in this early story is the opposition the disciples were facing. It wasn’t solely against flesh and blood, but as Eph. 6 tells us – our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world and spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.
Up to this point, the battle the early church was facing was primarily external in nature – and the enemy was losing. In Acts 4-5, Satan changes his tactics to the internal – and he chooses a man who was ripe for the picking. And he chose area of his life where we’re all vulnerable – the area of generosity/money. (Read Text)
Let me clear the deck for this lesson, it’s not directly about stewardship/money, but about the generosity of the H.S. and spiritual war we’re engaged.
GENEROSITY and the Movement of the Spirit
All the believers were one in heart/mind. No one claimed any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had…God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.
What’s going on! As the H.S. was changing lives – generosity, unity, and concern was abounding. Instead of selfish consumption that marks the flesh, the church was experiencing genuine care and people were giving of themselves selflessly.
They were giving b/c God was moving. They wanted to help each other and share the news of Christ. This reality is at the heart our tithes/offerings. It’s not about Law, but the Spirit. It wasn’t about a command – they were compelled by Christ.
For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas, sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Barnabas is an example of someone who God had blessed who was using his wealth to minister to others. He wasn’t looking for a seat at the table, or giving so others would look at him w/ respect, He gave b/c he was compelled by the H.S. to minister to the church and share the Gospel.
Giving should always flow from a heart of gratitude b/c we’re grateful for God’s generosity to us – b/c God so loved the world He gave us Jesus to die in our place to give us life.
I think this is why Jesus said what he did in Mt. 6.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Don’t live selfishly for your gain but invest your blessings into the things that count for eternity – God’s mission.
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light w/in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
This is about perspective. If your focus is on your ambitions/desires instead of on God’s will, then you’re a candidate to succumb to the enemy.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Either God is your God or money will be your god – but it can’t be both. And the god of money is a terrible master.
Truth: God asks us to give not b/c He needs the money but b/c we need Him – and He knows if we make money our god and our focus, then we’ll miss out on His will/purpose of us knowing Him and participating in His best for our lives.