Harmony

How did this message impact you? Share your testimony

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Introduction:

Thank you again for being here today. If you are worshiping with us online, thank you for joining us in that way. We would love to know that you are with us so I would invite you to type a short message in the chat box or let us know how we can be praying for you by submitting a prayer request.

Besides my love for drums, I love to sing. My plan going to college was to be a professional singer and I have taken voice lessons for over a decade. One of the amazing things about singing, is when you get people in a room and sing together. Up until I graduated college, I sang in a choir. There is something very special about a group of people coming together and creating sound together. There are different voice types and different parts people sing but in a choir, those voices are joined together as a unit to produce one sound.

When people sing together on one note we call that singing in unison. When people sing together on different notes that work together we call that singing in harmony.

Example: sections sing the same note. Sections sing different notes (use pitch pipe)
Example: Harmonica

Movement 1:

This morning we are continuing our series called Resonate and our passage comes from Acts 4:32-35 and you can turn their now if you would like.

The book of Acts is complex, its theology is rich, and the mission of the church is far reaching.

Structure of the Book of Acts

  • Witnesses in Jerusalem (1:1-5:42)
  • Witnesses in Judea and Samaria (6:1-11:18)
  • Witnesses to the ends of the earth (Asia minor and beyond) (11:19-28:31)

The book of Acts is unique in the NT as its narratives and speeches help us relive the experiences of the early Christians as they gave witness to their resurrected Lord and Savior. We pick up our passage this morning as the disciples are bearing witness to Christ in Jerusalem.

Hear the Word of the Lord

Acts 4:32-35 (NLT)
The Believers Share Their Possessions
32 All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. 33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.

  • This is the second time that Luke describes the quality of radical sharing the Christian community practiced

(Acts 2:44-45) 44 o Acts 2:44-45 (NLT)

And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.

Of course we are quick to notice that this passage is speaking to sharing with others. But there is more than just giving of our time, talent, and treasure that this passage speaks to. The heart of this sharing is what is important to notice here.

Movement 2:

The beginning point of this passage is that they were “united in heart and mind.” The rest of the passage flowed out of that unity with the Lord and each other.

  • The heart of sharing is…
    • Deep unity
    • The disciples often quarreled amongst themselves (Luke 9:46-47; 22:24-27) but in Acts they are a unified group (2:14; 5:29; 6:2-4) and this unity spreads to the entire church.
    • When leaders are united, it helps the members to be united too.
  • “One in heart and mind” describes a comprehensive unity.
    • John Wesley: “Their loves, their hopes, their passions joined.”
    • It wasn’t just a common affiliation with a church, this was a spiritual unity and of passionate commitment to a mission.
      • “Community life is never an end in itself; a vibrant community is a community in mission.”
    • Communicated by “homothymadon” which means “unanimity…not based on common personal feelings but on a cause greater than the individual.” E.D. Schmitz
    • Philippians 2:2 (NLT) 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
    • Ephesians 4:3 (NLT)
      Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
  • This is not easy to do in our individualistic society.
    • We do not like people to pry into our lives and we have become less vulnerable.
    • We have lowered our standard of what unity means and have settled for a more functional unity that comes more from secular management studies than God’s Word. People agree to work according to a plan, even though they may not be “one in heart and mind” with it.
    • “In a society where people deny the community orientation that is part of human nature in order to protect their privacy, close Christian community life may be one of the most important prophetic messages we can give the world. The church must present itself as the group that adequately fills this thirst for community in the heart of the human being.”
  • Deep unity is not easy to achieve and maintain. People have lowered the expectations of the Christian community because it is painful to be one in the way that the Bible describes it.
    If standards are high, expectations are high, and if expectations are high, risk and pain in disappointment will be high.

    • Those who attempt this type of unity can receive a life of completeness, motivation in holy living, and security of community that comes from those whom they are accountable to in community.
  • A part of this unity was the sharing of possessions among believers.
    • They did not consider their possessions as their own – they belonged to the Lord
      • V32 – …felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.
    • The sharing extended to material possessions and the result was that there was not anyone needy among them. In order for this to happen however, costly sacrifices had to be made like selling land and houses. This was not legislated but led by the Lord.
    • Luke 3:11 – 11 John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”
  • 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.
    • Verse 34-35 has imperfect tense of the 5 verbs, signifying continuous action. As needs arose, people would ask the Lord how He would like them to meet this need. Some, who had it available, were led to sell land or goods to meet this need. Thus, poverty was eliminated from the Christian community.
    • Mammon has always been a key obstacle in the spiritual life 10 § 1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV)
      For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. • Community life is never an end in itself.
    • “Maintenance of the group was not the primary consideration…above all, this was a witnessing community, and for this reason they enjoyed much grace from the Lord.” Harrison
    • It is easy for a movement to concentrate so much on consolidation after its initial growth that evangelism loses its place of priority.
    • Every chapter, except chapter 27, says something about evangelism. Acts is essentially a history of evangelism.
    • We cannot be a clique, country club, or an exclusive group of any kind. We are called to deep community that is welcoming, open, and inclusive of others. That is our mission – to spread the Gospel of Christ to every person and grow the community of faith.
  • This is every person’s responsibility.
    We should see this as a challenge to us regarding our attitude toward each other in the body of Christ and our attitude toward wealth.

    • We should not regard anything we have as belonging exclusively to us but as belonging primarily to God. As His stewards then, He expects us to use it wisely and we should ensure that there is no one in need in the body of Christ.
    • 1 Timothy 6:18 (NIV) 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

Conclusion:

We are called to unity

  • We are all uniquely created in the image of Christ and being in unity does not void us of our uniqueness. Unity does not necessitate that we have the same form – otherwise it would be called uniformity. But unity is where we come together and submit to one another for the common good that is pleasing to the Lord. We are called to live generously
  • What we have is not our own. It is a gift from God. We are to steward our resources as the Lord leads.
    • We should be giving to the ministry of the church. o We should be trusting in the Lord for His provision for us so that we can be generous.
    • We should be giving to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and support the outcast (minority, refugee, the marginalized). We are called to selflessness
  • That involves surrender to God and surrender to one another

Response:

Conflict is going to happen. Tensions are going to rise. Disagreements will abound. But we are called to unity in Christ and unity with one another. Generally, we are not good at handling conflict. As individuals, we struggle to know how to deal with our hurts, our anger, our emotions.

Matthew 5:23-34 – 23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

We cannot be the followers of Christ that he desires us to be and we cannot be the church he desires us to be if we are not unified.

Are their hurts, situations, emotions, anger that is dividing you from being in unity with another person?

What would it look like if we really embraced how Christ calls us to live in community? What would it look like for there to be no people sleeping on the street because we met their needs? What would it look like for a 4 year old to not go to bed hungry because we have met their needs? What would it look like if we all were generous? How would the work of Christ be impacted by those resources?

May the presence of Christ light a fire within us that we are exploding with His grace and truth.

For the Sake of the Wold

Bethel Music

Benediction:

Romans 15:5-6 (NLT)
5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. 6 Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Resonate With The Sound Of Resurrection
Resonate With The Sound Of Resurrection
Resonate With The Sound Of Resurrection