For several weeks now we have been considering the topic Divine Elevation of the Church. The reason for this is that the Church needs to be elevated from her present state if she would be the custodian of the Gospel that God wants her to be. Her failure to follow the example of the early Church as found in Acts 2:41-47 is responsible for the weakening of the ability of the Gospel to be the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.
We have considered several of the qualities that characterized the early Church and their implications for the Church of Christ in the world today. We want to conclude this series this morning by looking at another important characteristic of the early Church, namely, that it was a sharing Church. There are four things mentioned in connection with the early Church being a sharing Church.First, the early believers spent an enormous amount of time together.
They had frequent meetings for Christian fellowship (Ac 2:44): All that believed were together; not all those thousands in one place (this was impracticable); but they kept together in several small groups or congregations. They preferred the company of fellow believers to any other worldly association. The bonding that took place as a result of their spending time together made them to be of one heart and one soul as they learned to adopt the same biblical standard in their personal lives as well as their relationship with one another.
Second, they had all things common, both problems and prospects. There was such a concern for one another, and such a readiness to help one another as much as they could, that it might be said that they had all things common, according to the law of friendship; no one wanted what another had; for he might have it for the asking. These early Christians had an intense feeling of responsibility for each other, and this awoke in them a real desire to support each other in every vicissitude of life and express sympathy for those in trouble.
Third, they sold their possessions and goods. They raised a fund for charity (Ac 2:45). They sold their possessions and goods; some sold their lands and houses, others their stocks and the furniture of their houses, and shared the money to their brethren, as every man had need. Fourth, they parted them to all men, as every man had need. We are here told what they did with the money that was so raised: That it was given to such as have need, such as are not able to provide for themselves, through age, infancy, sickness, or bodily disability, or incapacity of mind, want either of ingenuity or activity, cross providences, losses, oppressions, or a numerous charge.
Those who as a result any of these reasons, or any other, have real need, and have not relations of their own to help them--but, above all, those that are reduced to want for well doing, and for the testimony of a good conscience, were taken care of, and provided for, and, with such a prudent application of what is given, as may be most for their benefit. But what was it that prompted their hearts to share what they had with one another? It was the love of Christ that was shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:4-5).
The love of God in their hearts made them to obey the new commandment that Jesus gave His disciples in John 13:34-35 (see also 1 John 3:14-24). They were loving one to another, and very kind; their love was as eminent as their piety, and their joining together in holy ordinances knit their hearts to each other, and very much endeared them to one another. They associated together, and so both expressed and increased their mutual love.