Acts 4: Giving to One Another

There was no needy person among them. (4:34a)

Really?

No one among the first few thousand Christians in Jerusalem had material needs?

Christians can’t say that today.  Of course, there are many times more Christians today than there was back then, and in many more impoverished areas of the world.  Still, that is an incredible claim.  Oh, for that to be true today!

How was that possible?  We have part of the answer if we back up a few sentences:

Nobody said that they owned their property; instead, they had everything in common. (4:32b)

This is the thinking that makes the lack of need possible: the realization that the material blessings that come our way are not our own.  We are stewards of God’s possessions.  We are conduits not swimming pools — blessings come in order to flow through us and out, not be collected for our leisure.  I need a new mind in this regard.  The feeling that makes this kind of radical care for the community of believers is in the sentence before this one:

The company of those who believed had one heart and soul. (4:32a)

A solidarity of spirit.  A unified soul.  A deep kindredness that has knit people together as one.  When that happens how could we let our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer in need?  I need a new heart in this area too.

Maybe that is the secret.  In only three chapters since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit we have seen a sea change in these disciples.  They have a new understanding they did not have before.  They are now becoming known for harnessing extraordinary power to heal.  In this chapter especially we have seen a boldness they certainly didn’t have two months before.  Now they possess a sacrificial love for each other.  How did they do it?

They didn’t.  The Holy Spirit came upon them in a deeply transforming way.  Their new mind and the new heart came from above.

Come Holy Spirit and give us radical, giving love for each other!

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Categories: Acts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Acts 4: Giving to One Another

  1. v8 – “filled with the Holy Spirit”, why when I read this verse, Holy Spirit something like “inspiration”, “righteous”, “bravery”, etc. I can’t linked to your god at all.

    v12- I think this is where people take the meaning of salvation, but to related in earlier Acts 3:19, is it this verse is more general in term of expression and explanation?
    The verse use ‘salvation is “found”‘ but in Act 3:19 “so that your sins may be wiped out”. I think the expression in 3:19 is more details and strong.

    V21- It quite different event in the past. Earlier Christianity praise God, but today praise Jesus. Is it change through time?

    V25- The definition of Holy Spirit is different in this verse (compared to v8), it seem a holy spirit is intermediate between God and his servant. Something like a creature.

    V26 – The behavior of man, always want to fight with god and his messenger. Reading through many translation give me a though, Lord and Messiah is 2 separate entities.
    V27 – in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.
    V30 – your holy servant Jesus.

    The chapter is take Jesus as nothing compared to God. But reading a commentary of others website talking about humility and humble. In this chapter dont talk about humility at all.
    It talking about power through servant. (v30)

  2. Acts 4:12 is by far the most confrontational verse you and I have come to.

    Most traditional Christians will tell you this verse means that “salvation,” that is the saving of one’s soul, cleansing from sin, and redeeming one from his brokenness comes uniquely through Jesus. There is no other name/mediator/Savior through which salvation comes.

    If this verse is true, then it seems Jesus is a pretty important person. He isn’t just a prophet. He isn’t just a teacher. He isn’t just a servant, or maybe better said, he is the only servant who did work that was so necessary and important to humanity that he has to be accepted by anyone who wants to be accepted by God. I don’t think we can get that Jesus is God’s Son or even God himself from this verse directly, but we clearly see Jesus doing something (salvation) that only God does. It is becoming less of a stretch to see him as God.

    This is why, to your next point, you will see Christians praising Jesus as much as they praise God, because to us they are one and the same.

    V.25 — You are seeing why we would say the HS is more than just inspiration.

  3. I am struck by how many times reference is made in this chapter to the “name of Jesus.” I count six times in the Message. It is wonderful that miraculous things are being done for people like the man in this passage. I am sure that is part of the reason public opinion protected Peter and John, but it seems that it was particularly important for them to be doing what they did “in the name of Jesus.” It was great to do good, but good done in the name of Jesus, for the glory of Jesus, unmistakably done to advance the kingdom of Jesus – that was even better.

  4. Eddy

    Jason, I’m glad you brought this up. I tend to stay in the realm of “in the name of” as only “by the authority of” but it’s also “for the glory of” and it brings attention/ (fame as Courtney Garland) says to God and not man.

    • As you have said before, there is still a place for Need to Breathe and Colony House in service of Jesus, but I found the overtness of this passage interesting.

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