Sunday, March 5, 2017


March 6, 2017
Acts 4:32 "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had."

In the book of Acts, it recounts the first set of Christians immediately after the ascension of Jesus into Heaven.  Between the disciples and the first believers, the Bible says there were only about 120 of them.  Jesus worked for three years, spoke to thousands of people, performed countless miracles with signs and wonders, and yet only 120 of them were believers.  But that 120 started something in motion that has been unparalleled since. After Jesus ascended into Heaven there is an important part of the story missed, sometimes glossed over in spreading the Word of the Gospel. The Bible says they dedicated themselves to the teaching and instructions of the disciples, being devoted to learning. Then they became one in heart and mind, and then, THEN, they shared all they had with each other, those in need.

It is interesting to note that studying from the disciples, the first set of believers' actions was the sharing of their possessions, not spreading the Gospel. I've known many who went to theological seminary, being devoted to the instruction by Biblical scholars, becoming pastors, but who have never shared their possessions with each other like the first set of believers. It makes me wonder if we are missing something in our learning, or if our heads are engaged without our hearts. The Bible says that their numbers were added to on a daily basis after that. Could this be the key to church growth, the sharing of our possessions?  Sharing of our possessions is a huge act of self sacrifice, but the early believers did so without even noticing it. They shared their possessions, not thinking anything was their own. Catch what this is suggesting. The Bible is suggesting that the first set of Christians, so filled with their belief in the instructions of Jesus, so filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, that they were rid of selfishness. The point isn't the selling of their possessions or distributing things evenly, the point is being almost void of selfish desires or behaviors and still being human.

Is the mark of a true believer a reflection of his selflessness? As a human, my personal plan for my life is taking care of myself and my family, making sure my needs are met, then my "wants", and only then do I think about the needs of others. After your needs are met, do you think of your "wants" next or do you think of the needs of others? This is hard to consider, but maybe we aren't allowed to have "wants" as Christians; maybe we are simply to think about the needs of others, realizing if we have something and they don't, we are to share. Wow, how counter cultural is that? Jealousy and selfish desires motivate us to action, even if the action isn't necessarily sinful.  Taking care of myself, my wants, never brought anyone to the knowledge of Christ and never grew the church. Is the key to church growth having a mindset of selfless believers?  I ask this because of what happened to the first body of 120 believers.

That first body of believers were of one heart and mind, that first 120. They were the first people to have the power of the Holy Spirit come upon them. Right after that, Peter preached and 3,000 people became believers and were baptized in ONE DAY. It took those 120 to baptize all three thousand people and then help mentor them. Then those 3,000 became in like-mind, selfless and sharing of their possessions. It wasn't just the 120 who sold their possessions, it was the 3,000. Then they added to their number daily. In fact, days and weeks later, that 3,000 grew to 5,000 believers, who also gave of their possessions. The point is not in the physical act of sharing their possessions, the point is the Bible notes it as a physical response to being a full believer. The point is that being a believer means being of selfless heart and mind. Sharing of what you have, after your needs have been met, that's a physical sign of your Christianity. Are your needs met today? Share. Give to those who have need, otherwise you might not actually be the Christian you think you are. Is your church not growing?  Maybe there is a spirit of selfishness being perpetuated.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Acts 1:14-15, Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:32-37

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