Intro: Sermon series from Acts 2, answers question: "What are the necessary
actions, minimum requirements, of a church truly being Christ's Church?" Discussed
meaning, importance of devotion to Apostle's teaching, fellowship, Lord's Supper
and prayer. Last week, discussed importance of church expecting God to move in power
and having an appropriate reverence, fear of God. Today, focusing on another activity
of early church often neglected in modern church: Radical Generosity! (Read Acts 2:44-47.)
Skepticism! Beware reacting negatively to a Bible passage simply b/c what
we read doesn't square w/what we "know." Many react to this passage: Communism;
dismiss it! But communism denies personal ownership of property, and is government
mandated! In Acts, a respect of private property; voluntary, generous action by
whole Church! Need to ask, "What's Luke's purpose in passage?" Further unpacking
what he mentioned in Acts 2:42: Fellowship/sharing life together! ( When God connects
hearts, nothing can separate them!) A church's shared life profoundly
impacts how that church uses its money!
True Fellowship Causes Humble Generosity! (Read Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37.) What prompts humble generosity?
1) We follow Jesus, who said at least two things about money that convict
us: "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not
consist in the abundance of his possessions!" (Luke 12:15) and "From everyone who has been given much,
much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more
will be asked." (Luke 12:48) Are you humbly aware that you are only a steward
of God's gifts? Are you humbly aware that you'll give God an account for every dollar
you've ever had? 2) Many people need (our money, possessions) more than we
do. "I may need/want this later; vs. they do need this now!"
Application: Are there any areas of your life where you are clinging to your
possessions? Is money your god? Do you need to confess God's ownership over your
belongings? When Christians humble themselves, and give generously to their fellows
Christians, and to a needy world, God receives the praise!
True Fellowship Causes Humble Accountability! Sadly, people often dishonest
in money matters! Jesus never commands gullibility: "Be as shrewd as snakes and
as innocent as doves!" (Matt. 10:16) B/c giving should help those who truly need
Humble, Individual Accountability ! Some NT principles: (Read James 1:27; I Timothy 5:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13.) Okay for a church to have standards, expectations
for those to whom it provides help! Humbly accept Bible's command for $ accountability?
Humble, Churchwide Accountability ! (Read Acts 6:1-7.) Deacons were set up to guard against both prejudice
and unfair accusations! Leaders: Money matters in church should be completely honest.
Humbly accept Bible's command for $ accountability?
Application: Personally, any areas of life where you are being dishonest
about your finances? Church leaders, any areas of our church's life where we are
being dishonest about our finances? When the Church humbles itself, and expects accountability
among its members and within its leadership, God receives the praise!
True Fellowship Causes Humble Simplicity! (Read Acts 2:46-47.)
Public worship! Jewish temple; early church participating in society! Church shouldn't
separate from society unnecessarily. Sin, immorality, false teaching, yes! Discomfort,
disengagement, retreat? No!
Private meals w/"simplicity of heart!" Not trying to control or impress each other
with luxurious home, extravagant meals, instead of just enjoying each other! (Rev,
Application : Personally, are there any ways you have withdrawn from society
unnecessarily? Is there anything personally you can do to make fellow Christians
more welcome in your life? Eating in, eating out?
Church leaders, are there any ways our church has withdrawn from society, from other
churches, unnecessarily? What can we do to re-engage?
When Christians humble themselves, and share life together in public and private,
God receives the praise!