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6 Living as One

Acts: Christ Builds His Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Holman New Testament Commentary: Acts E. Courage in Provision (vv. 32–37)

Courageous Christians demonstrate the kind of generosity which makes possible the care of people more needy than ourselves.


Acts 4:32–37 NKJV
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
The general condition of the church is described in (vv. 32–35).
This paragraph constitutes a summary statement which reveals the inner life of the church (cf. 2:42–47).
It is a picture of the church as the church ought to be:

One heart and Soul (v. 32a),

suggesting oneness and harmony
Surely the powerful time of prayer had added to the bond between them
There was a bond so great, that they were moved to act to meet each others need.

Marked by a spirit of sharing (vv. 32b, 34, 35; cf. 2:43ff.)

They recognized that all they had belonged to God, they shared with each other as their brothers and sisters had needs
James 2:15–16 NKJV
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
1 John 3:17 NKJV
But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
The noble example of Barnabas (vv. 36, 37).
Verses 34 and 35 speak of those who possessed lands and houses and sold them, placing the proceeds at the disposal of the apostles to be used as needs arose.
Barnabas is mentioned (vv. 36, 37) as one example of those who from time to time did this. Perhaps he was singled out for special reference because his gift was especially significant.
This is our introduction to Barnabas, a man of gre atness in New Testament times. [1] He was known as the Encourager

Giving its witness in power (v. 33a);

The Apostles testified to the resurrection with Power
That is the Testimony we still share
A Risen Savior
He lives today
boldness, for which they had prayed
miracles for which they had asked

Enjoying the favor of God (v. 33b).

God was blessing them
All was going well
The gospel was being preached
Needs were being met
People were giving sacrificially
It is often when things are going so well with God’s people that the enemy comes in and seeks to subvert the work and destroy the fellowship. That is what we see occur in the next section.


Acts 5:1–11 NKJV
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.” Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

Jumping on the bandwagon

Ananias and Sapphira sold land
They followed the example of the other believers
My thoughts:
probably out of wrong motive
Not to meet people’s needs
They followed the example of the other believers
They too wanted to be seen as generous!
They did a good thing for the wrong reason

Good idea gone bad

They lied about the proceeds:
again, to make themselves look good
wanted credit for giving 100%, but held back some $ for themselves
Maybe God had blessed and they earned more than they expected
It was all their’s, but they lied about it!
The lie is the problem here

Judgment falls

They died for lying to the Holy Spirit
Each in their turn, repeated the lie and paid the price for their sins

Great Fear

They gained a new level of respect and awe for the Lord
They clearly saw that sin could bring DEATH!
This passage displays the holiness and justice of God
Holiness- cannot stand sin
1 Peter 1:15–16 NKJV
but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
He demands holiness in His children!
Justice- will punish sin
Romans 6:23 NKJV
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
only His mercy keeps Him from striking us down when we sin
I’m grateful for His mercy!
We must not forget that God is a Just God!
They served to bring a fear of hypocrisy in the church
Jesus’ most harsh words were for the hypocrites
He had repeatedly pointed out the wickedness in their hearts so tainted their lives that the external good works were worthless
We must be careful to follow God’s Spirit and not just the appearance of Christianity


Are you selfish or selfless
[1] Vaughan, C. (2009). Acts (pp. 39–40). Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press.
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