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Community, mission, giving - WINDSOR STORY
Introduce Subject
- Today I want to talk about God’s mission for God’s people
the greek word koinonia
It has purpose connoted with it
It’s done on purpose
We aren’t just a mere charity
We don’t meet for our own purpose; we meet for the purpose of God
Define Subject
Fallen Condition Focus
- Our lifestyle plus Jesus vs. a Jesus community lifestyle
Reason to Hear
My hope is that we would be challenged to allow the grace of Jesus to transform our lifestyles to reflect his
Transition to Text
Unpack the Text
v. 32

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.

This is the description of the New Testament church and what a beautiful description it is
I love the line “no one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
Reminds me of a sermon that I will never forget that my wife and I still joke about - It was a sermon on giving from the Good Samaritan done by a Scottish preacher named Bill Stewart
What’s yours is mine
What’s mine is mine
What’s mine is yours but it will cost you something
What’s mine is yours and you can freely have it
One of the fears we have when we open ourselves to this radical kind of generosity is that people will take advantage of us and abuse our generosity.
But in order for us to receive the blessing from being generous we have to risk being burned.
Again, I love that line, No one claimed any of their possessions. You have heard me preach on this before, but none of these believers felt entitled to their own things but released them freely to the Lordship of Jesus
This is a no-strings-attached kind of generosity.
Radical generosity that advances the mission of God.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. What do you suppose they were one in heart and mind about? Jesus and his mission.
And so when we think about people sharing their possessions they did so to advance God’s mission in the world. It wasn’t just to give out for charities sake.
How might God be calling our church to express radical hospitality?
How might God be calling our church to express radical hospitality?
No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had...
Man, I want us to get there!! Man, I want to get there!!
Imagine using every possession you had for the kingdom of God whether that be your vehicles, your homes, your finances everything.
Imagine if we believed in the church to that degree that we expressed radical generosity.
Stephen and his shed for Jason’s rope
There is huge sacrifice involved but hasn’t God called us to sacrifice?
Doesn’t it bring God’s pleasure when we choose to honour him by sacrificing our resources, comfort and convenience for his namesake?
No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they share everything they had.
I know I am being a bit repetitious here but there is a a nugget of gold that I think people in our church at least partly model. There is a huge blessing for people that get to this point in their relationship with God when we don’t claim any possessions as our own and sharing everything.
Is there anything in your heart that says, what I have is mine and I’m unwilling to share it.
I would challenge you with this. That thing has become an idol and something you are unwilling to yield to Jesus control.
The reason I am not moving from this point is because I think there is something God wants to do in some of our hearts. There is an incredible freedom that comes when we surrender ourselves to this radical kind of generosity. And when we do we walk in the blessing of God.
If we are going to grow to become the church God wants us to be we need to mature to the point of expressing radical generosity.
To me this is a key mark of whether people are spiritually mature or not.
Do you share everything you have? Or do you hold back some of the things you have?
We’ll come back to this again in a sec but I want to prime the pump so to speak.

33 With great power the apostles continued to testifyo to the resurrectionp of the Lord Jesus. And God’s graceq was so powerfully at work in them all

So as time went on the apostles continued to testify or proclaim the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. In other words they continued to tell other people that Jesus had indeed been risen from the dead. To them they didn’t merely tell people that this was a factual thing; though it was. They continued to tell people that Jesus was risen from the dead and that there is tremendous meaning behind this act that God has done.\
Because Jesus is risen from the dead
God has proved that he is the Messiah we have been waiting for
We are all called to turn from our sin and put our faith in this Jesus
This Jesus has the power to forgive our sin
This Jesus has the ability to heal and restore
This Jesus has ascended to the right hand of God and now rules over the universe
That Jesus has conquered death and the grave and that by putting our faith in him we can have eternal life
So when the text says they proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus they proclaimed BOTH that it happened AND what it meant!!
It is interesting because the Bible says that they proclaimed the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power. What do you think that meant?
It meant that God worked supernaturally through the apostles and backed up there message with signs and wonders
But it also characterizes the way in which they declared the message.
Have you ever left a church service and say WOW, that was a powerful service? I mean the worship and preaching was good but there was something underneath the surface that impacted you in a deep, profound way. There was actually a power at work; a great power at work.
That same great power at work in the apostles is at work here today and has the power to literally change lives. How many of you want to see lives transformed by the power of Jesus? How many of you want your life transformed by the power of Jesus?
The substance that is the undercurrent of the people of God is the presence and power of God

And God’s graceq was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them,r brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet,s and it was distributed to anyone who had need.t

I love this next section too
I love this next section too
And God’s Grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.
WOW! That’s the vision of the church that I want us to be, AMEN!!!
Imagine if that was true of us; there was no need among us.
I also love the emphasis on God’s grace being at work.
When I first became a Christian I wondered what grace meant.
When God’s grace is at work it is working in peoples lives to bring about change and transformation.
Before we accept Jesus God’s grace is at work in our lives to draw us into relationship with him.
Then, the moment we accept Jesus God’s grace brings us to the point of accepting Jesus.
Then God’s grace works in our lives to give us the strength to serve him, to help us surrender to him and to inspire us to bless one another.
When we as believers unite and allow the grace of Jesus to work in and through our lives people notice
Luke here is writing about how the grace of Jesus was tangibly and powerfully at work in the church. Is that true of us?
It is also interesting that grace is used in the context of no one being in need.
Grace says, I am not entitled and I am willing to share with those in need.
Grace extends kindness and mercy even though no one deserved it.
Then, as we look at the text we see how that grace of Jesus inspired others.
- People who owned land or houses sold them and brought the money from those sales and gave it to the apostles feet, and the apostles distributed the resources to anyone who had need
Don’t you find this a little crazy. Like no big deal, I’m selling my house and land to provide for those in need and for the mission of God.
Now, let me make something clear here; it is highly likely that the needs of the apostles were also provided for here in this context so they could fully give themselves to the mission of Jesus.
I love this; these people were so moved by the mission they felt compelled to sell their possessions and give to to the apostles.
Like I read this passage and I want to know why? What made these folks respond and do such a thing. The text doesn’t tell us that the apostles commanded them to do so.
I believe something happened in the lives of these new believers the moment they accepted Jesus and they felt
1. a responsibility to care for those in need and
2. to help advance God’s mission.
I am wondering do you feel compelled to do the very same thing?
How has God called us as a church to care for those in need? How can we care for children & youth? How can we help families that are trying to navigate broken family situations? How can we reach out to those struggling with addictions?
History Lesson - Liberal vs. Fundamental - For so long in the evangelical world we have separated social justice & compassion ministry from the ministry of the word.
I think as we look at the book of Acts and even the context of this Scripture we see that the church is called to both proclaim and extend compassion.
To me Jesus modelled an approach to ministry that was both proclamation and compassion. That’s effective ministry.
If you try and tell people the good news of Jesus but they are hungry, naked and poor they are going to have a difficult time hearing you.
If you just meet peoples physical needs but don’t minister to their brokeness, their sin and their need for a relationship with Jesus you aren’t fully meeting there needs.
Bottom line is this - we all have physical and spiritual needs and God has blessed the church by his grace to meet those needs.
The grace of Jesus has the ability to holistic care for peoples needs.
Again, we are both physical and spiritual beings who have needs and God has blessed the church with the ability to meet those needs.
So the application is our approach to ministry should be both proclamation and compassion.
Stories of both/ands
Potential Stories of both/ands
I just saw Jesus story
Harvest House Story
Salvation Army
Stories of either/or
I can’t echo enough - these people sold their possessions because of the mission of God.
As followers of Jesus the mission of God should re-orient our lifestyle and our value system.
Jesus wants to infect us with the gospel to transform us to be people captivated and given to the mission.
What we have here is an amazing illustration of what happens when Jesus re-orients peoples lifestyle - PEOPLE GIVE TO GOD’S MISSION!!!
Like Joseph for example who we most commonly know as Barnabus.
Joseph got his nickname for being such an encouragement. Listen if someone was selling land and given money to the church to advance God’s mission I would call them encouraging as well.
But guys like Barnabas and others got the bigger picture; got the mission of God.
It’s fascinating because the story of Barnabus and the story of Annanias and Sapphira stand in direct contrast of each other.
Barnabas brought in the resources he had because his lifestyle was transformed by Jesus and his lifestyle and values reflected the values of the kingdom of Jesus
Annanias and Sapphira were motivated by selfishness still. Their inner being was yet to be transformed by the mission. Their motivation was to advance themselves in the community.
These two accounts stand in contrast for the reader to show us what to do and what not to.
To do - we should let the mission of Jesus transform our value system and motivated out of that give to the mission.
Not to do - be motivated by selfishness
The big problem here is the gospel of Jesus hasn’t really taken root in Annanias and Saphira. If it had, they would not have been motivated by selfishness.
This account challenges us with the question - why do we give and why do we serve?
It challenges me as a people pleaser to not do things so that I would be esteemed by others.
But as we seek to serve Jesus we don’t do it for selfish purposes. If we are really serving Jesus we serve people to help full-fill the greater mission of God.
The reason God brought such strong judgment is because this kind of behavior threatened to taint the foundational values of the kingdom.
This early movement was just starting and deceptive, selfish behaviour had no place and actually worked counter to God’s mission especially during this foundational time.
Alot of people read this account of Scripture which feels very Old Testament. God drops these two dead - Why?
Again, selfish, deceptive behaviour masqueraded in the name of Jesus is counter-mission, counter-gospel and counter-God and Jesus wanted to make it clear that this kind of behaviour was going to have no place in the church.
So what does this account speak to us today?
It tells us to follow Barnabas example and not Ananias and Sapphira
It challenges us at our very core motivations.
It challenges us to let the gospel change us at the very deepest part of our heart.
It challenges us to embrace God’s mission and reject selfishness and deception.
It challenges us to serve with the right motive.
Sum Up
Lifestyle Orientation
Spin Around
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