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Message Text

Acts 4:32-37

Now 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. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There 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 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 5:1-4
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”

Message Notes

1. It is easier to care when you are not fighting.

32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul

Psalm 133 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

John 13:35 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

No one will believe we love the people outside if they don’t find us in unity inside.

Generosity comes from a heart of unity.

2. Generosity accompanies the Gospel.

33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them.

Generosity without the Gospel is a temporary fix.
Mark 8:36 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

3. Extraordinary generosity follows extraordinary empowerment.

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 sold35and 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.

The teaching here is when we realize what we have meets what people need, the exchange can happen.

When suffering happens, the church becomes more generous so everyone’s needs are met, and the world notices.

When the church moves in the Holy Spirit, care is tangible.

4. Satan always tries to make a powerless counterfeit.

5But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,2and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?4While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”

Their motivation was not the Holy Spirit but the desire to be recognized. They were willing to do something meaningless to receive something meaningless.

If satan can convince the church that counterfeit care is enough he has won.

Generosity without the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit is just behavior modification.

Connect Group Discussion Questions

1. What stood out to you most from this week’s message?

2. How do we treat each other when we are in coflict?

3. Being in unity with each other doesn’t mean we always agree. What does it look like to maintain unity during disagreement?

4. How can the way we handle conflict demonstrate the love of Jesus to people who don’t know him yet?

5. For followers of Jesus, generosity and the Gospel go hand-in-hand. How can we stay focused on the gospel while we’re meeting the need?

6. Our most powerful generosity happens when the Holy Spirit gets involved. How can we stay open to his leading and be ready for every opportunity he brings us?

7. How can we be sure that our generosity genuinely flows out of a loving relationship with God and people and is not simply “behavior modification”? What can we do to make sure satan does not fool us into counterfeit generosity?

8. What do you plan to do differently because of this week’s message?