Bulletin Back 2-2-2014

Kingdom Orientation – Early Church Mindset
Acts 2:42a, 44-45 NIV
42: They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship…44:  All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45:  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
The early church believers devoted themselves to fellowship. The word "fellowship" (koinonia) is built on the root meaning: common, having in common, sharing. I believe that Luke is unpacking that definition in verses 44-45.
Because verse 44 speaks of having possessions "in common," and the word "common" (koina) is the same root as "fellowship" (koinonia) in verse 42.
The believers were so bonded that if one was in need, the others did not feel they had the right to live on in prosperity without giving up something to meet the need. So they would sell possessions and use the money to meet the needs of the poor in the church.
Many of us like to shrug off this verse, saying…
· I have the right of private property
· There is no command here to sell property for others. The selling of property is all voluntary.
· There is no command here that we should do it this way just because the early church did it.
· This was just an early experiment in communal life that in fact proved not so successful, since there were so many poor saints in Jerusalem 20 years later (Romans 15:26).
But we need to be very careful here. O, how easy it is to justify our lifestyles and our attachment to things by writing off threatening texts. There is no doubt in my mind that Luke recorded this fellowship because it was praiseworthy. Luke admired this sacrificial love for the sake of the needy. He was giving the well-to-do Theophilus (and well-to-do Americans) a lesson in the way Christians who stand in awe of God handle their possessions.
Before we say, "Whew, this doesn’t apply to me," we need to remember that we’re all exhorted to be generous and ready to share with those in need (1 Tim. 6:18). We are told not to share with a lazy or irresponsible person who refuses to work (2 Thess. 3:6-12).
But if a brother or sister is in need of the basics of life (that means food, shelter, and clothing, not cable TV or a six-pack of beer!), then we should be quick to share the blessings that God has bestowed on us (2 Cor. 8 & 9). If we have this world’s goods and see our brother in need and close up our hearts against him, we should question whether God’s love abides in us (1 John 3:17)!
As Christians, we share the same Lord Jesus, we share the same guide for life, we share the same love for God, we share the same desire to worship Him, we share the same struggles, we share the same victories, we share the same job of living for Him, we share the same joy of communicating that gospel to others.
The power of God is evident here because Jesus became much more important to them than their possessions.
Love Never Fails- Bro. Mark             (Thanks to Diana Cheek and Eric)

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