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Scripture Reading: Acts 4:32-37
A "Great" Congregation
1. We are not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought because we are all members of one body, and each one offers something to the development and strength of the body, Rom. 12:3-8.
2. Congregation must also be careful not to think of itself more highly of itself than it ought, Rev. 3:17-19. (Prov. 27:2)
3. The NT churches set examples for us that instruct us, warn us and encourage us to be the very best we can be in God's sight.
4. Prominent features of the early Jerusalem church that set examples of greatness from which every church of Christ can benefit, Acts 4:32-37.
I. GREAT UNITY OF FAITH, Acts 4:32.
A. Hearts and Lives United in the Word of God, 4:31; 1 Cor. 1:10.
1. This does not "just happen". It is the result of devoted teaching of and living by the word of God, Acts 2:41-42, 44, 46; 4:31.
2. Truth produces faith, instilling the value of unity and the strength of oneness into hearts, lives, and the local church, cf. 2 Tim. 2:2.
B. Unity Produces Commonality in Practice, Acts 4:32; 2:44-45.
C. We Must Endeavor to Guard Our Unity in Christ, Eph. 4:1-3.
1. Where hearts are not united in truth the results are factiousness, strife and moral chaos, cf. 1 Cor. 3:1-4; 4:6.
2. Be likeminded toward one another, Rom. 15:5.
II. GREAT POWER, Acts 4:33.
A. The Power of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles Emboldened their Preaching, Acts 1:8; 4:31.
B. Congregations Rely on their Holy Spirit-Powered Testimony for Certain Truth, cf. Mk. 16:20; Gal. 1:11-12; Eph. 3:3-5.
1. Our faith is in the power of God, not power of men, 1 Cor. 2:4-5.
2. Every church ought to rely on God's power to guide us in truth through the word of the Spirit, cf. Rev. 2:29.
III. GREAT GRACE, Acts 4:33.
A. Christians are Greatly Blessed with God's Favor, Eph. 1:3; Rom. 6:14-18.
1. As we stand in God's grace we have peace with God and sure hope in which we rejoice, Rom. 5:1-2.
2. We have a favored position of great assurance of hope due to the love of God in our hearts by the Spirit, Rom. 5:3-5.
3. The congregation must understand it is nothing without God's favor (grace).
IV. GREAT SACRIFICE, Acts 4:34-35.
A. Mutual Sacrifice Fulfills Needs, cf. Acts 2:44-45.
-Greatness of faith does not wait to be asked to respond to a need; Great faith acts sacrificially to help relieve the deficiency.
B. A Full Expression of Love by Helping Each Other in Times of Need, 1 Jno. 3:16-19; Gal. 6:10.
1. Out of the common treasury, Acts 4:35.
2. Also relieve brethren in other places, Acts 11:27-30.
V. GREAT ENCOURAGEMENT, Acts 4:36-37.
A. Every Church Needs a Barnabas, cf. Acts 11:21-24.
-To exhort and encourage by words, deeds and the sacrificing self to serve each other.
B. Every Christian can be a Barnabas! Heb. 10:23-24
-Each of us can work on becoming more effective in encouraging others, Gal. 6:2; 1 Ths. 5:15.
VI. GREAT FEAR, Acts 5:11.
A. Reverence for God Produced Genuine Character and Authentic Faith. Contrasted with Ananias and Sapphira, 5:1-2.
B. Two Reactions (Acts 5:13-14).
1. None like Ananias and Sapphira wanted to be part of the church, 5:14. (Lesson: The church can do without this sort of members!)
2. People of genuine faith were saved, 5:14.
1. The Jerusalem church would face challenges from false teachers (Acts 15) and negligent, apathetic faith (Heb. 3:14; 4:11; 5:12; 6:9-12; 12:1).
2. Any church that thinks it cannot fall has already started to drift! Heb. 10:36
3. Let us follow the example of the Jerusalem church and bring honor to God, who saves us by His grace, through our faith.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: December 23, 2014