Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


Acts 4:32-35
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 4:32
v32: Instead of being frightened by the threats made against them, believers in Jerusalem became even bolder in their public ministry and more selfless in their care for one another. Their sacrificial giving, which Luke tells us was part of this church from its first days onward (Ac 2:44, 45), didn’t die out but grew as the weeks and months passed. Becoming a Christian meant one would be drawn into a community which shared in a common “basket” (Ex 16:15-18). Those who had resources gave into a common fund, and those who had need received from it.

Monday: Acts 4:32
v32 (continued): Luke describes this growing church, which by now contained thousands (Ac 4:4), as “the multitude” and says they were “one heart and soul,” meaning their unity was both emotional and practical. They not only felt love for one another, but expressed that love in selfless deeds, particularly by helping believers who were poor. And such generosity was not present in merely a few of them, but in virtually all of them, for Luke says “…and not one said any of his possessions was his own, but all things were common (koina) to them” (literal).

Tuesday: Acts 4:32
v32 (continued): Within a year or two a violent purge led by Saul of Tarsus (Ac 8:1-3) would drive many believers out of Jerusalem, but until then the amount of persecution a believer might experience appears to have varied from person to person. We see in the Jerusalem church a puzzling amount of poverty which continued to exist for decades (Ac 6:1; 11:28-30; Ro 15:26; 1Co 16:1-4; 2Co 8:1-15; 9:1-15; 1Th 2:14-16). I believe it was largely caused by the hostility individuals suffered at the hands of their own family and community. Some went relatively untouched while others appear to have been instantly impoverished. Very likely this resulted because spouses divorced them, parents and siblings ostracized them, their businesses were boycotted, their employment was terminated, and synagogues disfellowshipped them (Jn 9:22).

Wednesday: Acts 4:32
v32 (continued): To be baptized in the name of Jesus was a dangerous thing to do. A person could be left suddenly destitute. But impelled by the love of God, and led by the Holy Spirit, the church immediately rallied to take care of those who had been abandoned in this way. In effect, they said, “Know this: If you’re left destitute after receiving Christ, we will step in and care for you as if you were our own flesh and blood. You won’t starve or be left alone. We’ll be there to help you!” And I believe the numerical explosion of the early church in that hostile environment is directly related to this spontaneous generosity.

Thursday: Acts 4:32
v32 (continued): The threat of ostracism is an effective way of stopping most evangelism and is still used today in many cultures. A person who is “ostracized” is totally cut off from family and/or community, leaving them alone and desperate, but the Jerusalem church immediately drew its new believers into a close family-like relationship (“house to house”), and in doing so heard each other’s “story.” They knew the circumstances individuals were facing at home and could respond right away with real, practical help. Their intense community and selfless generosity removed the obstacles of abandonment and starvation facing some if they were baptized. As the years passed it appears their local resources gave out, which is why believers in other cities and other nations began to send help as they were able (Ac 11:28-30; 1Co 16:1-4; 2Co 8:1-15; 9:1-15; 1Th 2:14-16).

Friday: Acts 4:33
v33: The early church was founded on the historical fact of the resurrection. There were at that time different groups within Judaism who held varying interpretations of key passages of Scripture, but the followers of Jesus were different. Their faith was focused on a person, Jesus of Nazareth, who had been proven to be God’s promised Savior by the fact that He was physically raised from the dead. No longer could there be any dispute about whether or not the Messiah must suffer an atoning death, because He did suffer, and after three days in the grave rose up in a glorious new body. The whole church proclaimed this truth, but the apostles were able to personally bear witness, because they had been with Him throughout His ministry (Ac 1:21, 22).

Saturday: Acts 4:33-35
v33 (continued): Luke says they testified “with great power” which certainly meant the Holy Spirit gave them boldness and eloquence to speak, but it also points to the miracles which were taking place when they ministered. God was confirming the word they preached with healings and signs and wonders (Mk 16:20). The combination of the church’s love for one another and this powerful ministry by the apostles produced an atmosphere in which “great grace was upon them all.” The term “great grace” first of all means God was pleased with them and that it was evident that His favor rested on them (Lk 2:40), but it also means they were held in high esteem by a large percentage of the population of the city (Ac 2:47; 5:13). People were impressed by what they saw and felt drawn to join them. vs34-35: Those who owned land or houses beyond those in which they were living, sold them to provide funds to feed the growing number of people who were impoverished because of their faith. Seeing this “safety net” must have given many in the city the courage to consider being baptized themselves. All donations were brought to the apostles who distributed the funds based on a person’s particular need. Some needed more than others.
 


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