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Book of Acts: Be the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  26:07
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Local News

Everyone likes to read, hear the local news what is going on in your neighborhood, your city. The first church was a local church and it was located in Jerusalem. We are a local church located in Vernon TX. We have news of what is going on here and need to get it out to those in the local area.
The first church was local and dedicated - Act2:42-47
Acts 2:42–43 NASB95
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.
Acts 2:44–45 NASB95
44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.
Acts 2:46–47 NASB95
46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
They were local, they were devoted, they were together, they were effective with all people.
It survived as it started, local - Act4:32-37 our passage today
Because they had all things in common and shared so no one was in need, did they practice a form of communism? We will define that shortly, but keep it in mind.
Is having all things in common mean “all things?” What was the norm then, and should that be the norm today for the church?
There are several passages here in book of Acts as well as a few other passages that can help us to address and answer these questions?

I. Communal Community in Jerusalem

Acts 4:32–33 NASB95
32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.
Communal community had all things in common (Act2:42; 4:32)
Acts 4:32 NASB95
32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.
Communal community involved selling to help (act2:45, 4:34)
Acts 4:34 NASB95
34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales
Communal community divided the proceed to help any who had need (Act2:45, 4:34-35)
Communal community divided the proceed to help any who had need (Act2:45, 4:34-35)
Acts 4:34–35 NASB95
34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.
Here in our local church we give to help meet the needs of others
food, clothing, a motel room to a wayward traveller at times or someone in a bad situation
meals, rides
financial assistance personally
benevolence from the church
How about some biblical examples both good and bad
Joseph/Joses aka (Barnabas) - Act4:36-37
Acts 4:36–37 NASB95
36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Barnabas, Mr. encouragement gave all that he had (sacrificially)
Ananias and Sapphira - Act5:1-4
Ananias and Sapphira - Act5:1-4
Acts 5:1–2 NASB95
1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Acts 5:3–4 NASB95
3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
Act5:3-4
Ananias and Sapphira gave deceptively
Widows - Act6:1
Acts 6:1 NASB95
1 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.
It was normal practice to take care of widows and orphans and here the Hellenist widows were being overlooked in their time of need.
They, without a doubt, practiced a form of communal community within the Christian community. But is it a form of communism, is it what should be the norm for the church today?

II. Observations on communal Christianity

Definition of communism. 1 a : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed. b : a theory advocating elimination of private property
Communism
A classless society in which private ownership has been abolished and the means and subsistence belong to the community.
So it is communism? NO, communism requires it, the Jerusalem church, the local church, was giving freely, not out of compulsion. Proof found (2Cor8:12, 9:7)
2 Corinthians 8:12 NASB95
12 For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
Give from what they have
2 Corinthians 9:7 NASB95
7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Give as they have purposed in their heart, not grudgingly
The other question asked was, is this the norm then?
Ananias and Saphira proved it was not the norm, they did not have to give but they gave from what was their in the first place. The problem was they lied (Act5:1-4, 7-8)
Acts 5:7–8 NASB95
7 Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.”
Other proof is others who kept their homes (Act12:12)
Acts 12:12 NASB95
12 And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
Oh then a couple of my favorite people (act18:1-3, 1Cor16:19; Rom16:3-5)
Acts 18:1–2 NASB95
1 After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them,
Acts 18:3 NASB95
3 and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers.
OR how about
1 Corinthians 16:19 NASB95
19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
1Cor18:19
Romans 16:3–5 NASB95
3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; 5 also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.
Rom16:3-5
It’s hard to stay away from them, they were a great example of a ministry team!
Just a few more examples
Nymphas, who was near to the church at Colossi (Col4:15)
Colossians 4:15 NASB95
15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house.
Apphia, Archippus, and Philemon, in whom Paul wanted to stay with; (Phi2, 22)
Philemon 2 NASB95
2 and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:
Philemon 22 NASB95
22 At the same time also prepare me a lodging, for I hope that through your prayers I will be given to you.
Philemon
We need to be ready, willing to give, to share with the local church, our christian community of believers, be rich in good works (1Tim6:17-19)
1 Timothy 6:17–18 NASB95
17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
1 Timothy 6:19 NASB95
19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
Commanded to
We are instructed to give and by doing such we store up for ourselves a treasure of a good foundation for the future!

III. The communal community: The example before us.

Let us briefly look at the example before us again and summarize and get some take away from it.
Acts 4:32–33 NASB95
32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.
Acts 4:34–35 NASB95
34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.
Acts 4:36–37 NASB95
36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
The example before us we can see in the local church, the communal church they were an example of:
A church filled not just with, but with showing brotherly love.
A church not obligated to give, but freely gave so no one was in need
The local church, well it was just born, it was the “first church ever” and it happened on Pentecost (see Act2:1-11) there were many people who had come in for the Jewish festival and walked away as Christians. There could have been many who stayed in the moment, in the movement to see what was going to happen next and the local church was there to help them on their journey as disciples of Christ. The local church was more than willing to give up to others so there was no one in need.
So, was it communism? - No! It was love that was freely given and to us today it should be freely given to help the needs of the church (body of believers) and to bring others to come to be a part of the body of believers.
Are you a part of the communal community? (lead to invitation)
Insert invitation slide
(below is only for hand-out)
Be a part of the communal community by being prayerful and participation.
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