The book of Acts details for us the life of the early church. In Acts 4:32-5:11, the author gives us a contrast between two lifestyles in the church – one that creates a thriving church community, and another one that kills the church community. Here, we explore one of the most challenging texts in the New Testament relating to God’s justice in the church.
If you have your Bibles go to Acts chapter five. We’re going to jump right into it. If you’re just joining us, we are walking through the book of Acts. And we are actually verse will be in Acts chapter four verses 32, five through 511. And we’re looking at the early church trying to identify what was important to them, and how can it be important to us, we are trying to learn about the rhythms and life of the earliest practicing Christians, and what that means for us today in the 21st century Western culture. And so, I suspect that today’s text is going to be kind of challenging for many of us, whether we are coming from a background and backdrop of a history of faith. Or maybe we have coming from a backdrop where we’re not practicing believers or maybe even perhaps atheists, and this is a very challenging Text. And so there’s not really an easy way to teach this text. So we are just going to do our best and jump into it and be faithful to what we find in Scripture. So if you have your Bibles, acts 432. There 511. This is the stories of agonize and sufferer existing in the community of believers where we find some tension.
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belong to him was his own, but they had everything in common, and with great power, the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them for as many as were owners of lands or houses, sold them and brought them or brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. The US Joseph who was Also called by the apostles Barnabas which means son of encouragement. A Levi’s, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles feet.
a man a man and is with his wife, Safire a sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only
I’m sorry and brought
only a part of it, and later that the apostles feet
but Peter said,
and the nice Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land, while remained unsold? Did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God. When a not analyzed heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard it who heard of it. The young men arose, wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, tell me whether or not you sold the land for so much. And she said yes for so much. And Peter said to her, how is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord, Behold the feet of those who have buried your husband or at the door, and they will carry you out. immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in, they found her dead and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband, and great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard these things. Let’s pray. God, we thank you for your word, help us discernibly with the spirit and wisdom, engage this text help us be shaped according to your scripture, your spirit and your people this morning, tune our hearts to what you would want to speak to us as individuals and to us collectively as a church. In Jesus name. Amen.
What a text. Does that mean? You have
beautiful community starting out and then a couple, a married couple lies about what they gave and then they drop dead.
What the heck?
now’s a good time to point you to our offering bucket right there on the side of the wall.
I had to that’s been that’s been burning in me all week. So
I had to.
There’s a lot of tension in this text. There’s a lot of serious words in this text. And we’ve got to engage this thoughtfully and carefully. As we’ve as I’ve been sifting through literature and scholarship on this particular text for the last two and a half weeks sifting through it, praying through it. It’s just funny to see how uncomfortable This makes us. I’m watching and reading. New Testament scholars try to evade this text. Certain theological camps, saying this is not historical, we shouldn’t have to worry about this. This goes against the character of God in the Old Testament, the old God of the Old Testaments, not the God of the New Testament, they begin to argue these things and they’re trying to evade the text you as you’re reading their literature, you can almost feel them struggle with this text. And to be quite honest, this text makes me struggle a little bit. And I haven’t been having to ask them I asked myself over the years reading this passage, like why does this text make me and us so uncomfortable? To be quite honest, over the years, I’ve been disrupted at this text by the radical generosity of the early church, the first thing we have thrust into this text block, we find this radically generous community, self sacrificially living for the sake of others, and it’s not the idealistic community. It’s not saying that everything is well with the world. In fact, Peter and john just were in prison. And then shortly after this, we see this incident infiltrate the church so if anything, Lucas Telling us there’s an ideal for this community. But even from the earliest days on, we’ve been plagued with tension. Because we are broken people. But why does this make us so uncomfortable? Well, when I hold the map up to my own life, and I see the radical generosity, generosity of this early church, I’m disrupted. I begin to make excuses for my lack of generosity in certain areas of my life. I’m also surprised because the lie of this married couple doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. I feel like I’ve done way worse than life,
then something like this.
So I’m disrupted and surprise, and I’m also confused, because this does not seem to be in line with the New Testament Jesus that is full of grace, full of truth, repent, believe the gospel and all will be well it doesn’t appear in the text. At least, the Ammonites even got the chance to repent.
What do we do with this?
I’m sorry, I get confused about that. Or have been confused about that. I’m also concerned because what does that mean and what does this teach us? About the character of God.
Little disruptive, isn’t it?
CS Lewis when he lost his wife, darkest moments of his life, he said he did not have so much of a challenge as ceasing to believe in God as much as what he was feeling like of what he would be believing about God. Like, I’m not in danger of losing my faith, I’m concerned about what I’m beginning to believe about God. The dark, tense moments in life really kind of bring this up in us.
What does this mean?
What I want us to do first is take a step back, take a breath, and consider the context, the situational context, the literary context, and try to help move us into the space where we can walk through this text as a church. We’re not going to ignore this text. We’re church that preaches, bring out the book. And so if you’re wrestling with this, I invite you into the space to ask questions around tables. Come find Come talk to us. We’ve got questions about this text. So I don’t I don’t know where you are. But you are invited into this space to wrestle with this with us. And so what we’re going to walk through it, the first thing, let’s take a step back, consider the context, this text does not move us. You know what that was kind of funny when we talked about the giving, because in your heart, you know, this is not about giving. That’s why it’s funny, you know, this is not just about, they’ll give money to the church and all will be well, you’ve realized that as we read the text,
so we can kind of make light of it.
So it’s, this seems to be something off about that. That’s different. It’s not just getting us into giving or giving us a rule to follow. We have to keep in mind what the genre of literature the book of Acts is, it is first and foremost a historical narrative. It is teaching us and that means it is teaching us what happened, not what must always happen. It is being descriptive, not prescriptive. It saying, here’s what happened, what can possibly happen, but not what here must here is what must happen, or here’s what always will happen. It’s important that we that we see that prescription would be for the followers of Jesus to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. That’s a prescription as followers of Jesus, that’s not optional. That’s not descriptive. That’s that is a prescriptive thing. But when the when the text tells us that Jesus went down to Jerusalem, that’s descriptive. There’s there’s a difference. And we need to keep that in mind. It is primarily descriptive, not prescriptive. And not only that, but I think we’re partly disrupted because these moments are so rare in Scripture. They are rare. This sort of thing happens about four times in Scripture. And the context is always when God is breathing new life into the community or doing something new into the community of God, whether it be in Israel or the church. Could you hit that? Thanks.
And so we need to keep that in mind. In fact,
that’s another element to this disruption is that it does happen though it’s only happened four or five times in the entirety of scripture in various ways it does happen and it’s happening with something new when God is at work. In fact, Luke maybe even using the story of Akin and Joshua seven, as a framework of how to delineate this text of how to walk through this text. It’s a very similar text, I’d encourage you to go read it for the sake of time, we’re not going to touch on that too much. But it’s a very similar passage in the Old Testament. And I’ve got I’ve got friends on who are more theologically, on the liberal side who would say, the Old Testament New Testament God, they’re completely different. I completely disagree with them. I think Luke is including this in the New Testament to remind us that it is the same God yesterday today in the same, he is still holy, he is still just he still cares about these things. And so we can’t detach God and the Old Testament and Jesus, Jesus said that he is the fulfillment of the entirety of the prophetic literature, the Old Testament, the Torah, Jesus had a very high view of the Old Testament. And so when we say this is not the same thing we are dismissing the claims of Jesus himself in the in the in the Bible has lost its authority or influence in our lives at that point.
It is the same God we are dealing with God.
But these moments are rare. And they’re rare because what you notice is in most of these narratives when God is breathing new life, so as the enemy john Wesley A long time ago said that when God’s people are revived, so is the enemy.
And so these moments
radically happen with a rarity. But just because it’s rare, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t not only take a step back and panoramic, panoramic look at it, but now we need to zoom in and see okay, what does it actually mean for us? When we take a close look, and we consider the content this text is designed to disrupt our disordered hearts.
It is meant to create
within us a sense of discomfort.
Some of us may respond with anger, I’d ask you why.
Some of us may feel confused.
What is it about God’s character that you’ve that you’ve struggled with God doesn’t need us to protect him by avoiding this text.
Luke didn’t have to put this in here.
It would be so much easier if he didn’t.
We could just have the ideal that community and then move on. But no, Luke, even if you’re a skeptical person, one things I used is I’m a skeptic by nature. And so coming into faith was really hard for me from a skeptical standpoint.
But one of the things I appreciate about the biblical literature is it’s radical honesty about this stuff. I trust people who are honest, and Luke is simply trying to be honest about what happened. He could have easily left it out attracted way more people,
and then the story,
but he’s being in he’s being honest about the event.
This tells us that God does take his church and
sin very seriously.
And why would he do this to this couple wasn’t that big of a
We’re going to explore that more as we go along.
But I think I think a helpful image
is to think of it this way God is again breathing new life into the community. In fact, Jesus has been resurrected. And he is now sending out his church to into initiate and to advocate for what he calls new creation, what Paul calls new creation. And second Corinthians 517. Paul says, Therefore, if any of you are in Christ, you are a new creation, the old has passed away the new has come.
is the focus.
We need to frame it in the way of this is a new birth. The churches in infancy stage right now. It is profoundly powerful. Yet it was an infancy stage. It’s much like when you have a child and your your the baby is born and you look down at this little infant, that little infant has more power over youth could ever imagine. Yet it’s vulnerable, its weak, it needs nurturing, it needs care,
but the power of a infant
is remarkable. And so the church in this infant stage is quite remarkable sociologists, even secular non-believing sociologists consistently tell us that this was the movement that should not have survived. There was something about Christianity that was radically unique. Recommend one book to you called dominion. It’s a
it’s a he’s an atheist
historian, who probably understands Christian history better than most Christians, is thoughtful, honest and true. And he’s one of the ones leading historian who says, this thing should not have gone the
way it did.
The book is called Dominion by Tom Holland, not Spider Man.
Different Tom Holland.
but this remarkably powerful infant needed care and nurture. So as a parent, when my child is born, I look down to this child and now I have to protect this infant in fact that the doctor say stay home for eight weeks so it doesn’t get exposed to infections and stuff like that. Whatever the case is our job Protect that infant against infection. And that’s what I want us to see about this sin invading this infancy stage of the early church as an infection, deadly infection into the life of the infant church, and God protecting
In fact, we talked about sin as a relational disruption, a separation between us and God. The Bible has so many radically different visions of what sin is to give us a view that it is total, total and its effects that touches our heart, mind, body and soul, every facet and so today I want to look at sin as an infection and use this phrase from Neil planting. Who says sin is a parasite, an uninvited guest that keeps tapping its host for sustenance, nothing about sin as its own. All its power, persistence and plausibility are stolen goods. Sin is not really an entity but a spoiler of entities not an organism but a leech. On organisms sin does not build shalom vandalize is it
is not just breaking the rules.
That’s a Western way of looking at sin. It’s just about breaking the rules and redoing those rules. No sin is an infection into the heart and lives of believers in the community. And so in this particular infancy stage, God has decided to move in justice swiftly and quickly to extract the infection.
That doesn’t make it any easier in a lot of ways.
But at some point, we have to let God be God and His justice be as Justice.
The text also teaches us that this is not just a physical battle, this is a spiritual thing happening. And n is why have you allowed Satan to fill your heart to be filled is not to be possessed. It is to be invasive Lee influenced by the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives and they surrendered in obedience. YV let Satan do this. Have you exposed yourself to this? This is not merely a man going, I think I’ll do this and then it’ll be wrong, but it’ll still be okay. It is him opening himself up to the alternative powers that be. So there is this dynamic between the spirit of the Holy Spirit vs Satan in
So, two questions I want to answer this morning, I wanted to at least discuss what creates a thriving community and what kills a thriving community or church. Because this is the first place in Acts where Luke uses the word church to describe this newly created people. So what does it
do? What do we do to create this? What do we do
to kill it?
So if you notice on the paper on your notes, my points have sub points in those sub points of sub points. So listen closely. What creates a thriving church. The first thing is a spirit filled heart. A spirit filled Heart. And when we are when we have a spirit filled heart, we find things that happen in life that don’t typically happen outside of the realm. And so they listen to the characterization of the early church. It says that they had all things in common they are of one heart and soul. They had great power, and great grace. All of these things are characteristics of the early church, we have to keep in mind they had great power where their power come from they were declaring that Jesus has risen, which means God has broken into human history dealt with death, and there is a new creation, a new life that is now prepared for those who follow Jesus. It is not simply believe in Jesus so you can go to heaven and as the resurrection means all things in Christ will be renewed. It’s a beautiful, holistic picture of salvation. Yes. The icing on the cake is we are with Jesus for eternity. But it is that is that is that is not the only thing about salvation. In fact, one one scholar on the book of Acts, his name is that Carson a bell? He says this he says He says Jesus’s resurrection signifies the beginning of new creation. And this represents the new period of salvation in which God, God’s Spirit is present who transforms the lives of those who have come to faith in Jesus, the Messiah and Savior. Their power came from what they said. Their power came from declaring the resurrection. what creates the community is that we can have with people, the most important thing is about the resurrection, our position on abortion, sexuality, all of the famous social issues. Those don’t matter if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.
They simply don’t.
This is something we talked about here often in those conversations which we should be having in those tense conversations, when we are responding, and we are having discussions with people, one of the questions we get to ask is have you seriously considered the resurrection in its content? text and thought about it as a historical thing. The list is so long of atheist setting out to disprove Christianity only to find that Jesus is king.
Based on the resurrection,
that was where their power came from.
The power of this church now
notice great grace was upon this community. A community This has means that a community was marked by reconciliation. That’s what grace does, it reconciles us to God and then bridges the distance between us and our neighbor.
was upon them all this means people from vastly different backgrounds, vastly different communities coming together to worship Jesus.
great power, great grace. And so three things about this community. A spirit filled heart creates unity.
A spirit filled heart creates unity.
Listen to the common language and all things in common. They were all together, one heart, one soul, the heart and the soul coming together like this in Scripture is to convey the entirety of our being our thoughts, our attitudes, our actions are directed towards the same unified purpose. They had every reason to be divided over seemingly insignificant issues. The church in the West has a habit of dividing over non essentials.
They are unified in one purpose
and one priority, and that is to make Jesus known to love God and to love each other. It was the character of his community that was attractive, not their programs, the way in which they loved one another. They were unified on these essentials and
we read this in relations 328 Paul says there is there there is neither Jew nor Greek there is neither slave nor free. There is neither is no male and female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. All of the social barriers that existed that kept people apart had been shattered by the gospel. Do you think a slave and a master
sitting at a table voted the same way?
Do you think the males and females sitting around the tables together agreed on everything?
Do you think the Jew and the Greek agreed on everything?
People who are coming from these various theological backdrops? They unified on the Lordship
We encourage you to have your positions and persuasions on various seemingly seemingly insignificant maybe Second level Third level issues. You can have your opinions, but our priority here is the Lordship of Jesus
at the table.
They were unified on this
spirit filled with Heart creates this, this unity that contributes to a thriving community. Secondly, a spirit filled heart creates generosity, generosity of our time, our treasure, whatever that whatever the case may be, we are called to participate in the life of the church. This is what’s happening. Everybody bringing stuff together, meeting the needs of the community, and people will look at this and go Well, well, well, this seems like one of those Koon by our communities. No, this is a community in need. We can’t forget the poverty that this early church was in the church was birthed in poverty. This was not just a Koon by our community. This was a commitment to making sure that God’s people were taken care of.
And when we look at the cross,
we see that God has given his best
and to follow Jesus means that we give our best I hear all these conversations is the tithe 10% or what you know where’s the floor, tell me where the floor of giving it. give generously. give generously of your time. Your treasure. Those are the number one competitors for our hearts in the West is time and treasure. This is not a sermon about giving this is not to guilt us into giving us to ask the question, how is my participation in the community reflecting the early churches commitment to one another. This is one of the things I’m most proud about at the table. This is not a con we get to celebrate the generosity of people here but what God has been doing in your lives.
People are in need in our church community and those needs are being met.
But if you notice we’re growing.
When we grow, there’s a tendency to think, oh, somebody else can
It’s not the posture of the early church.
We assume that God has called us to participate in the kingdom of God.
And the formative elements of giving of your time and treasure
when you with that shows it shows that time and treasure, don’t own you. Whatever it is, we’re not willing to release. That’s what we are being controlled by.
That’s the challenge is it’s not
about the giving. It’s about the heart behind that giving this radically generous community. Again, this is not sell all your possessions there was a particular hap context for all of this. Paul’s not Peters, Luke, sorry, Luke is not telling us here to sell all of our possessions and just circle around and sing Kumbaya. That’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying the condition of our hearts towards God and towards others should reflect the generosity of God and saving us by His grace. God has given his best we ought to strive to do that we should we will fail Absolutely. But we shouldn’t intentionally do so.
The third thing is spirit filled heart creates dependency on
God for everything. overflowing out of our generosity. We often find ourselves in positions going is God going to come through I gave that is God going to come through? When we get to spaces of complete and total dependency, this is where God really moves. And this is not saying use your money unwisely, okay, this is the Bible has solid principles for saving wisely spending wisely and giving generously. Those two things are not antithetical, Paul, or the authors here are not telling you
give everything you have and not provide for your family. In fact, in Tim, in the book of Timothy, there’s something differences.
If you don’t care for those in your family,
first, You’re no better off than the outsider. So there’s not a dichotomy between giving generously and saving or spending wisely. But the biblical narrative says, God creates people who give generously
and they find their full dependence on him.
The example they give us in the text is this Barnabas guy, his name is Joseph. He’s mentioned 25 times in the book of Acts. He’s always encouraging. He’s never grasping for attention or recognition. But it gives away what’s most prized for him. You see, the text gives us a Couple of indications it says he was a Levi is from the land of Cyprus. So he was wealthy he had land. There’s an old testament prohibition against the Levi’s owning land. By the time of Jesus that seems not have been that big of a deal.
But he had land.
We don’t know how he got it. We don’t know why he got it. But identity in this culture was tied directly to land. He was giving himself away. God not only redeemed Barnabas, but redeemed his resources as well. That’s the example that were given. And so the question becomes the weight of what is what is keeping us back from that sort of community? And be honest in our evaluations of our hearts and say, where are we on this? What am I not willing to let go of? Isn’t my time, my abilities, my resources.
This is not a call to just get rid of everything.
This is a call to reflect on the position condition of our hearts before God and others. And so what this did when you look at all of the Greek tenses in this
several of them
are habitual in nature. They’re ongoing.
They form a habit.
It’s hard to get into this rhythm.
But what happens is we become devoted to Jesus and then we discipline ourselves in the way of that devotion. And so the word habit, you know, the etymology, that word comes from, that word actually carries the sense of to have into hold. That’s the etymological framework for that word to having to hold where do we say that?
They’re forming a habitus here, of consistently, not just when you feel like it, but making it a discipline. And so it’s not doing these good works just for the sake of it. No, when we are devoted, we discipline ourselves according to that devotion. If you’re disciplined every day to go get a cup of coffee at a particular place, you have created the discipline that informs that devotion in the same way When we are devoted to Christ, we begin to discipline ourselves in the way that informs that devotion.
That makes sense.
The habits that we create for us deeply.
So what kills the thriving church
will simply an unguarded heart
and unguarded heart. That’s the issue. Notice the issue is not what they gave the issue is that their heart was left open for Satan to infiltrate and that created
You see, God has launched new creation. And this is not the first time that God has launched to creation and a married couple sought to afford it.
What does this remind you of?
Adam and Eve? This is essentially Adam and Eve part two. God’s not gonna have any of it in the new creation. And so he stops it dead in his tracks here and the text does not indicate that no nice got an opportunity to repent. That’s tough, but have a very hard time believing that a community that is a model By great power and great grace that there was no opportunity for him to turn the other way. I have a very hard time believing that you know why? Because even his name and a nice means favor for God has shown grace. That’s what his name means. God has shown grace, I have a very hard time believing that there was not paths along the way for him to kick back and turn back in and quit doing what he was doing. And a community that was marked by great grace according to the text, very hard time believing that we don’t know if it happened or not. But I have a suspicion given his name, given the given what Luke says about this community
I think you probably had an opportunity every decision he made was shouldn’t be doing this. That’s just my own opinion, does not in the text. So just treat that as you will. And a nice Why is Satan filled your heart? Why do you contrive the state in your heart? When he says How? Why do you contrive this deed the word contrived there, it actually means to purpose in your heart to predetermine In your heart, this sin was thoughtfully premeditated. It was positioning himself this way the whole time.
Why have you contrived this YB fashion? This?
The question is deeply personal and rhetorical. When we look at the text, it seems to be saying not just why, but how could you? How could you? You’re seeing great power, great grace, you’re seeing that? How could How could you? How could you do this? How could you disrupt the beautiful thing that God is doing?
Well, because his heart was laid bare and open.
It wasn’t garden.
And so when this happens, what happens is we create three things, a competitive heart, a comparative heart, and a consumer mystic heart. Competitive heart, we see an analysis of Fiverr we’re after position and reputation and their pride and what pride does That leads us to focus on our appearance, not our authentic self. That’s our pride does. We’re constantly trying to make ourselves look better in the eyes of others, and we want to be above others. Our pride makes others feel inferior and a superior. And if we find somebody that we feel is superior to us, we have to find some way to knock them down
in our own hearts.
Find some flaw.
A competitive heart kills community.
And so what pride is all pride is is it’s insecurity and deceit masked
and charisma, often.
It’s insecurity mask, because
what happens when you achieve the position that you want, you’re constantly in insecurity of losing that position. And then you don’t have that position. You’re willing to step on people to
get what you
want is his competitive nature to it.
What happens when we’re prideful is that people become the secret enemy.
They become the secret enemy. Check this out.
you guys are all going. Can I go with him?
Just be sure to see the giving box on your way out one more time. Again, I just had to I had to Sorry. Sorry. Okay, I’m done. Done with that. Okay, that’s the last time last time I promise. I really hope no one has a heart attack or stroke or anything in the church today, please. No, but going back to this text, people become the secret enemy. And what’s ironic about pride check this out is that we, the people that we crave, we crave their attention, that we view them as the enemy.
Scripture is clear Pride goes before destruction and we obviously see an instance here and people become this enemy. We but we crave their praise. And in our inner lives, we kind of we die up inside. That’s what pride does. We can never be in an authentic community where there’s pride because we’re constantly trying to see who’s better than who which leads us to the next thing. Pride creates within us a competitive spirit, always evaluating the resources and lifestyles of others
community cannot exist in that situation. Why? Because we are constantly envious
of what other people have.
There is no possible way for authentic community when comparison is running the show. And ISIS a Fira compared their lives to Barnabas and you what’s hard is that both of them did the same thing on the outside, they look the exact same it was the inside issue that matter. Both of them did the same thing. Just radically different hearts and motives is see what happens is when we have these empty, unguarded hearts We envy the possessions the positions, the wealth, the lifestyles, the vacations of other people.
And then what sets us against them
we get more concerned about people’s
and actually praising God. And that opens us up as it did and and is
in the twist the thing is, is that
we sometimes leave in in the people’s hardships because of the attention they get.
But not only that,
even more twisted Lee is that we celebrate when the people that we envy
are having a hard time.
You know, that this is true of us. That when somebody that we have compared our lives against has something we don’t
we secretly in our hearts
detach from them
and we celebrate when they kind of don’t get with They want
it’s sort of a twisted thing this competitive spirit and it kind of kills community that’s what’s happening with Barnabas and and an ISIS a fire. The last thing is a consumerist at heart. That’s the last thing a consumer mystic heart. And this is rooted in selfishness which analyzes a fire they were more interested again and getting praise rather than giving praise it was all about them. And more than any other spirit and the western church today consumerism is the dominant one that I find the consumer mystic spirit, they were an ISIS of fire a wanted to receive the praise it was about
And so what consumers to heart is often non committed
or deeply committed, so long as everything’s going their way. They’re either not committed or they’re deeply committed until their needs.
Their perceived needs are disrupted.
The consumers to church becomes about us meeting my needs my agenda, my plans, my wills. And if you don’t do that, then I’m out.
And one of the things that
one of things that we’re proud of here is that we’re
we’re trying our best to fight for simplicity because simplicity combats the consumerist nature and here’s what I mean by that. You go to you go to many churches, and they have virtually a thing for everything.
Everything you got the fishing ministry, you got this ministry
that that ministry that this ministry that that ministry, and what we do is we create consumers,
telling them pick and choose what part of the community you want to
be in, rather than being committed to the community itself. And there’s good to have small groups that are in your demographic, it’s good you need people in your life that are in the same life stage to help encourage you. But when the only small group we have as a young married couple small group, you tap out on wisdom. You need that multi generation gentle
nature to a church community.
We have to combat that consumerist spirit, within an essence of Fira.
It was give us the recognition.
Now all of these things are rooted in a fear that Christ is not enough to meet our deepest needs,
all of them.
When we are being competitive, competitive, or consumer mystic,
we’re just not believing that Jesus is enough to satisfy the longing that’s in the heart. And that’s what the issue is the heart of the issue is that the heart is the issue.
And so what we have to do is we have to
peel back and we have to be exposed the reality of our heart. Jeremiah 17 nine says that the heart is deceitful above and beyond all things who can comprehend it.
But God says, God says
I, the Lord search the heart and test the mind to give to every according to His ways to get every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds. Beautiful part isn’t easy to 3626 just in case you thought the Old Testament God was not a God of grace. And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I’ll put within you and I will remove your heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. What he’s saying is I’m going to soften you. I’m going to satisfy the deepest longings of your heart. Guess what an ice had the desire to be known, celebrated, loved. And out of that when those are misdirected, we try to channel that with other people and find our primary significant satisfaction in everything but God. But CS Lewis says like this, God cannot give you happiness apart from himself. It does not exist. Because you are wired for that. Anything less won’t do. Zephaniah,
again, another Old Testament passage. This is God’s heart.
Zephaniah three, nine, I think
they don’t have. Okay, well, we’re running on time. Zephaniah three, nine basically says
that when you are in a relationship with the Lord,
He is joy. He’s pouring out his joy all over you. He’s provides a significance and satisfaction that our hearts so deeply crave. And so the question we asked before we move into just a Oh, wow,
we don’t have a lot of time for conversations
that on purpose.
The question I want to leave you with
is what would life look like if we were free?
If we were free from the feeling of having to compete with others? What would life look like if we were free?
From that desire to be above everybody?
What would it look like if we were free from having to have possessions
none of this is teaching that possessions is
bad that wealth is wrong. No, these guys were all wealthy, not nothing is against that nothing is against having things by does not say you cannot have things it says things should not have you. And when things have us, it disrupts and infects the community.
That’s what this is. That’s what this text is about. It’s about analyze
looking at the community, craving the attention, and then moving into a space where they’re saying it’s all about
What would life look like if that were the case? Let’s pray.
God, we thank You for Your Grace.
Help us wrestle with this difficult text. Help us be honest about where we are. Now we just ask that you would bless those in this room with an Open, guarded heart, a heart that’s guarded by your spirit, your people and
God, you are breathing new life into this community.
And we suspect that the enemy will try to do the same. The Father, will you please protect this church? As we transition as we grow? God help
us become the church that is unified
around the essentials a church that is generous and dependent on you in Jesus name. Amen. Well, we have only like five minutes. And so why don’t you answer the first question on that paper.
And then we’ll close up and then be dismissed.
Alright, give you guys about a minute to wind it
There we go. Alright guys, we’re going to wind it down want to make sure we respect your time and get you in and out of here on time. Keep having these conversations afterwards. We covered a lot there.
I didn’t get to half of the stuff I wanted to talk about so
we can keep talking about it.
The I wanted to end with this quote from David Nagaland his book reordered love reordered lives. That’s a book I’d recommend to you. He says And failing to worship God, we open the door to the worst of sense and all hell breaks loose in our lives and in the world around us.
That’s kind of an intense way of saying
the wholeness that we crave is only located in Jesus. And when we would direct our attention, our affection towards anything or anyone else, we’re going to find ourselves following the cultural narrative of follow your heart. But we have identified today is at the heart of the issue is that the heart is the issue. And so for those of us following the course, of our hearts map,
whatever that means,
ask yourself, is that working? Have you found the profound sense of wholeness, significant satisfaction, security that your heart was wired for? Have you found it?
And I challenge you
to think through that because
what the gospel does is it says you have been recognized and
Celebrating loved by God.
And if you don’t believe it, you look at the cross.
You look at the cross.
So with that, I’m going to ask that you stand.
And if you’re if you’re needing prayer, we’re going to have some folks available in our upstairs room down the hall to the left, right up here, if you need prayer. If you’ve decided today that you you’ve want to follow Jesus, that you have felt God drawing you into a relationship with him.
Let us know so we can pray with you and talk with you.
Little clean up before we dismiss,
this is our last Sunday. And so can we just celebrate all that God has
done in the last year? It’s been wonderful.
We’re going to break down the tables. And so today you can put all the tablecloth in the corner over there. Just Just right in the corner by the garage over the garage door over there. And we’ll break down the tables will Amanda Heart and kind of get this space ready if you want to sweep if you want to, if you want to stick around and help out, we usually need about six to 10 people to stay behind and help us out clean up and get things organized. So if you can cool if not, we understand we don’t understand you got to go. So let’s pray and you guys are dismissed. Father, I thank you for this church community. God as we begin to transition, would you be with us? Would you guys give us your wisdom, we thank you that great grace, great power, and great fear or characteristics of the early church God and we ask that you would breathe that into the life of our community here in Jesus name, amen.
All right, we’ll see you guys next week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai