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Acts 5: Being the Church

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Order of worship

Opening Scripture
Response in Song
Response in Prayer
Response in Giving
Scripture Reading
cripture passage
Response in Word
Response in the Eucharist
Response in Song

Witness in W

Witness in Wonder

Unity and its enemies

trajectory is spirit infused unity that creates powerful witness. But we must watch out for the things that get in the way. notice that God is the one invoking justice, not humans. It may be our opportunity to reveal the truth, but it is up to God to play it out.
Can you make a mental list of things that have caused disunity in your life, in an organization, and/or a church?
How did you respond to it? How did you contribute to the disunity? How did you contribute to the unity?
what carries the unity? what are things that unify?
what is evidence of unity? how we live our life? how we behave? How we treat one another? how we meet the needs of others?

4:32–37 This summary of the church’s growth and activities resembles that in 2:42–47. This section also serves as context for the deception and perverse testimony of Ananias and Sapphira in 5:1–11.

What we know

full number of one heart & soul
shared & had everything in common
apostles giving testimony of the resurrection with great power
grace of Jesus upon them all
not a needy person among them
proceeds brought to disciples and distributed to each as any had need (willfully without coercion)
Barnabas, for example, sold a field, brought money, and laid it at the apostles feet (reminds me of how people treated the Levites)
The New American Commentary: Acts 5. The Common Life of the Community (4:32–37)

Taken by itself, this could refer to shared ownership; but in conjunction with the first expression, it also refers to a practice of freely sharing one’s goods with another

characteristics of being of one mind?
what are things that get in the way of being of one mind?
first verses are held as the ideal, yet examples exist and persist that come in the way of unity
central to the unity was the witness of Jesus (He was the power, He was the unifier, He was the provider, He was the protector, He was the deliverer
Deuteronomy 15:4 ESV
But there will be no poor among you; for the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess—
voluntary: no transfer of ownership, no control of production/income, no requirement to surrender property.
notice how little time is spent on barnabas and how much is spent on A&S? HE made his gift without fanfare or
the gift belonged to God & the community. the lied about it & embezzled.
God judged, not Peter; instead of the full amt. of $, their lives were the remainder.
The New American Commentary: Acts 6. A Serious Threat to the Common Life (5:1–11)

They were the community of the Holy Spirit, and in this community they placed all their trust, found their identity and their security. But this was not so with Ananias. His heart was divided. He had one foot in the community and the other still groping for a toehold on the worldly security of earthly possessions. To lie with regard to the sharing was to belie the unity of the community, to belie the Spirit that undergirded that unity

reminds me of how adam & eve were deceived by satan. they influenced the church.
later on people begin rumbling of not being cared for or neglected.
The church is a holy body, the realm of the Spirit. By the power of this spiritual presence in its midst, the young community worked miracles, witnessed fearlessly, and was blessed with incredible growth. The Spirit was the power behind its unity, and its unity was the power behind its witness. But just as with God there is both justice and mercy, so with his Spirit there is also an underside to his blessing. There is his judgment. This Ananias and Sapphira experienced. The Spirit is not to be taken lightly. As the Spirit of God he must always be viewed with fear in the best sense of that word (phobos), reverent awe and respect. It might be noted that this is the first time the word “church” (ekklēsia) occurs in Acts, which denotes the people of God gathered as a religious community. Perhaps it is not by accident that it occurs in the context of this story. The church can only thrive as the people of God if it lives within the total trust of all its members. Where there is that unity of trust, that oneness of heart and mind, the church flourishes in the power of the Spirit. Where there is duplicity and distrust, its witness fails.
Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 160). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
first time ekklesia used (this was a unifying event?) what causes the witness to fail
spirit brings unity of community and power of the spirit.
The New American Commentary: Acts 6. A Serious Threat to the Common Life (5:1–11)

This story reminds us of a further truth. The church, when it is the church, is a holy community, the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16f.). Disunity, duplicity, and hypocrisy always “belie” the Spirit and hinder his work. If the church is to have genuine spiritual power in its life and witness, it must be an environment of the Spirit, devoted to maintaining its sanctity and purity.

The New American Commentary: Acts 7. The Miracles Worked by the Apostles (5:12–16)

The power of the miracles attracts. The awesome power of the Spirit that judges also demands commitment and responsibility. Before that power the crowd kept its distance with healthy respect, unless they were willing to fully submit to that power and make a commitment. Many did, Luke said, making it clear this time that men and women became disciples and were added to the growing community of believers (v. 14).

Attempts to create disunity

Ananias & Sapphira

BUT Ananias, with his wife’s knowledge sold a piece of property and kept for himself some of the proceeds & brought only part of it and laid it at the apostle’s feet.
Peter confronts: was it your property before you sold? were the proceeds yours to use at your disposal? why did you contrive this deed? Why have you lied to God?
He heard these words and breathed his last breathe. (Reminds me of how God responded to the sin of Achan.)
He was wrapped up, carried out, and buried.
3 hours later, his wife came in not knowing what happened. Peter asked her if the land was sold for so much, she agreed. How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit? The feet of those who have buried your husband will carry you out.
disunity—attack of the enemy from within.
author of lies
speaks to our selfishness
willful choice to deceive (came from the heart)

Response of the People


many signs and wonders regularly done among the people by hands of the apostles and they were together in Solomon’s Portico (is this location significant)
None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of men and women (isn’t this contradictory statement?) vs14 is key verse
so that they carried sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that the shadow of Peter could fall on them (doesn’t mean his shadow healed them, thouhg it’s possible).
People gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

Human Fear (attack of the enemy from the outside)

motivations: jealousy, control, power, hate, bitterness
But the High Priest rose up, and all who were with him (the Saducees), filled with jealousy, they arreted the apostles (how many) and put them in public prison.
We must obey God rather than men (vs42)
wanted to kill them, instead they had them whipped.

38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.

responding to attempts to bring disunity
-from within (deception)
-from the outside
-from within (dealing with our blind spots)
I am really struggling with maintaining a desire to build the ministry in Alaska. To partner with others from the lower 48. I was initially told it had to be grassroots. I have been told that people distrust the lower 48 mentality, especially the big city. i have been told we have been told what to do. there is a general mistrust of others up here and it has been fostered. their is a general impression that we don’t know what we are doing and we need to be told what to do and how to do it. if we would follow a formula then we would fix our problems, grow, and impact the kingdom for Jesus.
I don’t have any illusions of a big church. I want a healthy church that is being transformed into the image of Jesus. I want faithful followers of Christ. I want people that know how to work together for the sake of others. I want our church to be a safe place for the broken and those in need of Jesus and the good news of Christ. I want to see lives transformed that sees the love of God in their hearts lived out in their world and in our community. that we are change agents of the kingdom and ambassadors of the body of CHrist. I want to see the power of the HS alive in us and through us. I was to live deliberately and authentically for Jesus. To be comfortable in the greys, the tensions, the margins, the uncomfortable, the inconvenient, the messy, the time wasters. I want to have the wisdom of God and the ability to hear and discern the voice of the Spirit. I want to love without strings, submit to the authority of God in all things, lavish mercy, and exude grace. I want all that we do to be a reflection and natural response of an inner reality, for my private and public life to be congruent. i want to partner and collaborate and empower others to follow in the same manner that I desire to follow Christ. I have this strange hope that the Power of God has the capacity to redeem, restore, and transform communities that will spread like wild fire. I am not interested in doing the programatic, the tried and tired, but I want to blaze ancient trails that have been long forgotten, yet remain faithful to the historical, traditional, and scriptural witness of God and His community.
Yet, I am afraid that their are agendas and powers that are at work; ideas that are good and well intentioned. But have we taken the time to listen & wait, to seek and discern, to invite & converse, to pay attention and discover?
I was very upfront with my desire to be a part of the conversations related to ministry in Alaska and how the 2 churches could work in partnership together. But ever since the Kalepos left AK, I have heard nothing. I haven’t been kept in the loop, I haven’t been updated, I haven’t been in converations. It is obvious things have been going on, but I am apparently not privy to them.
Perhaps I am making assumptions about my place on the team. If that’s the case, let me know. I was up front about saying, if I need to know my role, to be quiet and just let you do your job, fine (I seemed to be given permission to ask away and make my perspective known). I told you I would be a team player and support, but it makes perfect sense that being the “senior” pastor (duration of time wise) in Alaska FM, I am here, I am committed to the call, I don’t want to go anywhere I love it, that I would be treated differently than I have been? I have heard from secondary sources that a candidate was coming and that a candidate was hired. And in the interview it seems that plans are already being made about Alaska and I am assumed to go along with them, or not even considered a part? I am not really sure.
Now i recognize that my feelings are being hightened and a little raw. I recongize that they are probably not a proper reflection of reality, so I am trying to reserve judgment and not draw hard fast conclusons, that is getting more and more difficult. That is why I am coming to you. I have been on the verge gossip and expressing frustration to others instead of going to the source, hence I am coming to you, b/c I don’t want these feelings to continue.
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