ACTS 4 = BEING CHURCH TOGETHER!
Bible Background: Acts was written by Luke. It’s “Volume 2” of his Gospel. It could be entitled “Acts of the Holy Spirit” because of the amazing spread of the Christian faith and the amazing growth of the church in the years following the death and resurrection of Jesus. Today’s reading is a snapshot of how these first Christians were moved to care for each other!
Digging Deeper: 1. What does an Easter Church look like? To get to this reading we’ve skipped over the Pentecost experience (which we’ll re-visit on May 20), but obviously, the Spirit of the risen Christ is active in those first believers!
2. Can you imagine a church that was “of one heart and soul”? What would that feel like? How would we act? How would we welcome and get to know and care for people in order to be that close? Would folks even want that?
3. “With great power the apostles gave their testimony (to the risen Jesus) and great grace was upon them all!” What form do you suppose their “testimony” took? Preaching? Study groups? In private? In public? Describe what “great grace” might look like:
4. The idea that “everything they owned was held in common….and there was not a needy person among them” does not sound anything like the economic or social system we live under. How does this ‘testimony’ of scripture challenge our American way of life? What is the role of Christians or of the Church in a land where the rich are continually getting richer and the poor are always getting poorer?
5. Can you imagine selling “land or houses” and bringing the proceeds to our Good Samaritan Fund to help any and all in need? As stewards of all God’s gifts, this brings up that question of “ownership”. Is it mine? And can I use it as I see fit? Or does it actually all belong to God, and all that we have is just on loan to us? Do you recall the scene of the rich young man who comes to Jesus looking for ‘eternal life’? Remember what Jesus tells him? Remember what the rich man does? Is there a sadder story in the Gospels?
6. How does this account in Acts 4 inform your faith? Your lifestyle? Your giving to God? Your giving to others? Your politics? Your understanding of what it means to “Be the Church”?