Summary: This sermon notes the kind of commitment that the early church had and the kind of commiment it takes to build a church today.
We Need to Talk!
March 10, 2002
A. [Isn’t it Strange?, unknown author, submitted by Jerry Pearcy]
Isn’t it strange how a 20 dollar bill seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping?
Isn’t it strange how endless an hour seems when we are serving God, but how short it is when we watch a basketball game for 60 minutes?
Isn’t it strange how 2 hours seem so long when you’re at church, and how short they seem when you’re watching a good movie?
Isn’t it strange that you can’t find a word to say when you’re praying, but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend?
Isn’t it strange how difficult and boring it is to read one chapter of the Bible, but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a popular novel?
Isn’t it strange how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts or games, but they do whatever is possible to sit at the last row in Church?
Isn’t it strange how we need to know about an event for Church 2-3 weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda, but we can adjust it for other events in the last minute?
Isn’t it strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God to share it with others, but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip?
Isn’t it strange how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers but we question the words in the Bible?
Isn’t it strange how everyone wants a place in heaven, but they don’t want to believe, do, or say anything to get there?
Isn’t it strange how we send jokes in e-mails and they are forwarded right away, but when we are going to send messages about God, we think about it twice before we share it with others?
IT’S STRANGE ISN’T IT?
B. Ok, we need to talk…
1. Today we need to talk about commitment.
2. As we continue our journey through the book of Acts, we come to the shocking story of Ananias and Sapphira.
3. It is not the most pleasant story for pastors or for church members or for new seekers.
4. But it is in the Bible and we need to hear what God has to say to us through this tragic story none-the-less.
I. The Background
Acts 4:32-37, All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
A. So let me make a few comments pertaining to the background of the Ananias and Sapphira story.
1. This portion of the text sets us up for what happens in the main part of the story in chapter 5.
2. Luke gives insight as what things were like with the believers at this time.
B. First Luke tells us that the believers were one in heart and mind.
1. They were united in love for God and one another.
2. They had strong, heart-felt relationships with the other believers.
3. They were so close to one another that no one laid sole claim to their own possessions.
4. If another believer had need of something they had, they let them borrow it or let them have it.
5. "What’s mine is yours."
6. They made sure that there were no needy persons among them.
7. They were of one heart and mind.
8. What a wonderful church family (and remember this a "huge" church of 15,000 members!)!
C. They apostles were preaching powerful sermons.
1. They continued to preach and testify about the resurrection of Christ.
2. God’s grace was being poured out powerfully through their sermons.
D. These people were so committed to one another that they made great sacrifices for the sake of the church, the Body of Christ.
1. They not only gave up their possessions, they also gave up their land.
2. From time to time, people sold some land and gave the proceeds to the church.
3. One of those people who did that was a man whose name was Joseph but was also known as Barnabas because he was such a great encourager.