God’s Prototype of the Local Church
A Generous Church
Intro: Generosity is a characteristic of true Christianity. God set the ultimate example when He sent His son to die for the sins of the world. Jesus set the example by living a life of selfless sacrifice to fulfil God’s will for His life.
In these verses, we get a glimpse into the mindset of the early church when it came to personal wealth.
They were more concerned with helping each other than they were helping themselves.
I. The Example
The early church set an amazing example of giving and generosity.
All throughout the book of Acts, we see this characteristic of the New Testament church.
Notice our text:
- Acts 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Look at Acts 4:32-35
- 32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
- 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
- 34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
- 35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
KEY POINT: The SIGNIFICANT difference between these verses and modern day socialism is simply this – what these Christians were practicing was voluntary; not mandated by the government.
Notice Acts 11:27-30
II Corinthians 8: 1-6 Paul listed the churches of Macedonia as an example of “liberality.”
Make no mistake; the early church set a tremendous example of generosity.
II. The Exhortation
The word “charity” is mentioned no less than 25 times in the Scripture.
This word is the Greek word AGAPE, which means “love in action or in deed.”
It literally means brotherly love, benevolence, and good will.
There is so much emphasis placed on charity, that Paul wrote an entire chapter on it in I Corinthians 13.
By the way, this generosity wasn’t even considering their giving of tithes or sending missionaries.
This was a lifestyle of sharing their blessings with those that did not have.
These was a generosity that was demonstrated out of love and compassion for one another.
I John 3
- 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
- 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
- 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
- 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
- 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
- 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
- 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
III. The Expectation
- Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
- 6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
- 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
- 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
Conclusion: The question tonight is simple: how generous are you with your things? Your time? Your talents?
The early church took care of one another. How do you measure up to their example?