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The Joy of Generosity | Part 1: What does the Bible say about giving?
November 28, 2022
32Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
In Acts 4, Luke writes about Peter and John’s arrest and appearance before the Council of the Sadducees and religious leaders. They are accused of proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. In verse 8 we see Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, boldly witness in the name of Jesus.
Such was the power of Peter’s speech that the Council had nothing to say in response, and they released the Apostles. Peter and John’s boldness inspires the early Christians—they gather together as a church and pray for boldness to proclaim the name of Jesus. In Acts 4:31 we read that the Christians in the church were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. Luke emphasizes the unity of early Christians as the Spirit filled, and Spirit led church. Early Christians ordered their lives in light of the power of the resurrected Jesus. In verses 32-37, we see the work of the Spirit in and through early Christians—particularly with respect to addressing the material needs of fellow believers. In chapter 4, Luke records the work of the Holy Spirit in unifying the church, enabling the Christians to boldly proclaim the gospel, and to meet the needs of fellow Christians voluntarily, responsively, and sacrificially.
To discover and experience Jesus Christ in our midst
To cultivate mutually encouraging relationships
To participate in God’s mission to the world
God, we are confident you are coming, bringing a world where all will be made right. Calm our anxiety, strengthen our patience, and keep our hope aflame, as we work towards, and wait for, your new day. Amen.
Responsive Prayer—Psalm 25:1-10
1To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.
3Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.
5Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
6Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
7Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
8Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
10All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
1. In verse 32, we read, “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul.” What can we learn about the early church from this verse?
2. In verse 32, Luke emphasizes the point that the early Christians had everything “in common.” How are we to interpret the word “common” here? (Hint: Jason briefly describes the word in the video).
3. In the video, Jason outlines Acts 4:32-27 under three main sections describing how the earliest Christians gave away their resources in radical proportions to meet the needs of others in response to the grace they had received in and through Jesus. What are the three ways the early church shared their money and possessions? How have you seen or experienced generosity at Central?
4. In verse 32, we read: “No one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own.” What can we learn about the early Christians’ view of property and material wealth from this verse? How ought it shape our own call to generosity?
5. In verse 34, Luke emphasizes how the early Christians shared in response to specific needs of fellow believers. What can we learn about the nature of economic sharing from this verse?
6. In verse 37, Luke mentions Barnabas. How do the radical actions of Barnabas, and the early church point us to the radical work of Jesus on our behalf?
7. How does this passage give us hope as Christians living in the city that promotes individualism, greed, and power based on material wealth?
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Go in Advent hope and peace.