G2 Living: Gospel Generosity – Week 1 – Everything In Common

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November 6, 2016

G2 Living: Gospel Generosity – Week 1 – Everything In Common

G2 Living: Gospel Generosity – Week 1 – Everything In Common

We are finishing up this year of spiritual disciplines by looking at the last thing the early church devoted themselves to.
Everything in Common: Acts 2:44Act 2:42-47
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching (The Bible) and to fellowship (Community), to the breaking of bread (The Gospel) and to prayer (Prayer)43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (Generosity) 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Now I know there is always a wall that goes up in peoples minds when the church talks about money.  Often people will walk away from a church because of a condemnation or guilt that they feel in regards to this subject.  So be for we go any further I want you to hear me say this clearly.  Rom 8:1 says “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Please do not let the enemy play tricks with you and work into your mind that I as the pastor am telling you that you are not accepted and loved as a child of God if you do not tithe.  The Gospel tells us that there is nothing we can do to make God love us less or more than he already does.  This is not a matter of pleasing God it is a matter of understanding how the Gospel changes the way we think about generosity.  That is why we are calling this series G2 living.  I want our worldview when it comes to money, time, abilities and talents to be informed by what the Gospel tells us.  
Remember we have been saying all along Whatever God does to you, he also plans to do through you.  What we are going to discover in this series is our God is so generous to us that we will naturally (when we believe the Gospel) become generous people.  I also want you to know that I don’t want you to feel pressured by me to do anything.  I want you to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear what He has to say and let His word of Grace sink deep into your life.
If I had not stopped and talked about where we are going, we could easily pass by this simple phrase “Everything in Common” and not really think much about it but Luke under the guidance of the Holy Spirit 2 chapters later uses this phrase again, because God wants us to see what this really looks like.  Gospel generosity becomes a  natural part of our discipleship and growth as a believer.
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
 
Before we go any further I want to set the scene here.  In these 2 short chapters we see the church add 3000 people to the church in 1 day and then God continued to add them on a daily basis.  While He is doing this they are going through some major issues.  The very people who killed Jesus have come to these new Christians and warned them that they are not to preach in the name of Jesus.
Act 4:17-21
But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened.
So what is there response?  They prayed for boldness to follow God and do what he has called them to do.  And what does it say happened?
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
I don’t know about you but that is one cool prayer meeting.  God shakes the place and gives them a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit to empower them to do what God is calling them to do. Let’s keep reading.  

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold thembrought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
So what led them to act this way?  It was the empowering of the Holy Spirit!
I want us to notice a few key phrases:
 
No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own.  This is not some strange form of communism this is an change in there world view that recognizes that everything they have is from God and ultimately He is the owner.
Let me ask a question?  How many of your own a smart phone?  Trick question 🙂  If we are Gospel people we understand we do not own anything.  God is the owner.  That includes everything.  Even yourself.  1 Cor 6:19-20 says even the skin you walk around in (your body) is not yours.  It is God’s, He is the owner.  Why is He the owner?  Because He purchased us by dieing for our sins.  And When we accept the Good News into our lives we are now His.  But here is the cool part, He is ours as well.
but they shared everything they had… They lived by the motto “Mi Cassa, Su Cassa”  if they had something and someone else needed it.  They shared it.  Why? Because it was not theirs to hold on to in the first place.  It is His.
God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all…  I love this this is the key to the whole thing.  God’s grace was on display.  What is grace  God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.  God was supplying them with everything they needed because they knew that what they had what out of the abundance of God’s love for them.  They knew intimately that God was their supply.
there were no needy persons among them Wow look at that remember there were over 3000 people in the church at this time, ad no one had any need? How could that be?  Here is a secret I want you to hear and learn.  When you are generous to others in the name of God,  When you are being generous with what you have for the purpose of pointing people to Him.  God will always come through and supply what you need.  I can say with 100% certainty that God will never look at you and ask you to be generous, and then turn around and say that was stupid I can’t believe you gave all that away.  He will never leave you saying I wished I had not followed God when he told me to be generous.
time to time those who owned land or houses sold thembrought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need Notice this was not a requirement.  It does not say that everyone did this this was the prompting of the Holy Spirit in their lives and they where obedient.  Also notice that they trusted their leaders.  Why did they trust their leaders?  Because they trusted God first.
Barnabas – I love this guy. He might have actually been the brother of Mark (Col 4) He is one of the unsung heroes of the early church.  And he very rarely get any credit.  But I think that was part of who he was.  He probably wouldn’t want to be recognized.  Ultimately he is mentioned here as a example of someone who did this.  He wanted to be such an encouragement to others that He was generous with everything he had.
So what was the basis for this kind of generosity what would make them think that this was the kind of thing God would call them to do?
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Do you see how he begins this verse?  Don’t be afraid?  Why would he say that?  Because the natural enemy to generosity is fear and worry.  If I give this away, what will I have? I might need this.  How many of you have heard of the dead sea?  Why is it called the dead sea?  God has called us to be a river Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living waterwill flow from within them.” – John 7:38
God calls us to be river not reservoirs.  Say that with me… I want to be a river not a reservoir. I want God to flow through me.   Whatever God does to you, he also plans to do through you.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
John equates generosity with love, but not just love for each other but our very love for God. That seems pretty strong, doesn’t it?  I think the reason He does this is because if we truly understand the love God has for us and we let that soak deep into our souls.  If we let the Gospel do it’s work in our hearts, we will be so in love with Jesus that it will naturally work it’s way out if our lives. in asks of love and generosity.

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
It is easy to see how we love neighbor by being generous but how are we loving God with all ourselves when we are generous?  Because when we are not generous we begin to give our possessions (The things we think we own), a place above our trust in God and His provision for our lives. When we trust in our possessions, we are not trusting in God.  Remember, an idol is something you love, trust or obey, more than God.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 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.
Paul warns us that when we trust in other things more than God it actually is harmful.  It draws us away from our trust and dependency on Him.  God does not want us to harm ourselves.  he does not want is to walk through life with all these griefs hanging over us. When we begin to place our faith in something other than Him.  It says have wandered from the faith.
 
Hebrew 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Let me clear up this passage for us, because this seems to not gel with the Gospel.  Someone might say see if I don’t have faith I am not pleasing God.  But this word “Please God” is not tied to the idea of acceptance or love the way we think of it.  The idea is not about approval it is about pleasure.  It is about the joy that God has when we trust Him and He gets to bless us and walk with us.
(ie. Walking hand in hand with my kids.)
Matt 6:24 – Idolatry
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
 
Tim Keller – Counterfeit Gods 
Money is a surface idol, What is the deep idol?  Security and trust? Appearance and Approval/worth? Control of the future or others?  Success?
So what does this challenge us to do?
Trust God
Trust Leaders
Be reminded that the GOSPEL does not command us to do anything it invites us to know Him deeper.  It invite us to walk with him and learn to trust Him more.  It is birthed out of gratitude for God’s generosity.
Invitation:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For more from this series you can CLICK HERE.

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