Acts 4:32–35

Text Focus Sentence: While the apostles testified to others about the resurrection of Jesus, the early Christian community shared what they owned or sold their possessions to help their fellow believers who were in need.

Sermon Focus Sentence: With great power, the apostles were The Rev. Suzanne Trump, Associate Pastor of Formation and Compassionable to testify to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and in doing so, God showered them with grace.

Function Statement: We are called to join with God to share God’s love and take care of each other

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

  1. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, changes everything
    1. The apostles started to build the community of Christ by sharing the Good News and inviting everyone to be in community
    2. Sharing all that they had so no one was in any need.
  • There are two delightful stories, early in the Book of Acts, that tell us of the amazing harmony and love that the early church had for one another
  1. In both chapter 2 and 4, which was just read, we hear how all the believers were of one heart and soul
  2. No one claimed private ownership of any possession
  3. They made sure everyone had enough and no one wanted for anything
  • They spent their time together telling everyone the Good News and they were filled with grace
  • Wow, imagine that if you will
  1. Harmony and grace
  2. Eating meals together and making sure everyone had food, shelter, clothing, whatever they needed
  3. Jesus’ resurrection really did change everything
  • From disciples that often didn’t get it
  • Fell asleep, denied they knew Jesus and pretty much not understanding much at all of what Jesus taught and did in their presence
  • Resurrection really does change everything
  1. Okay, we better get to it, we celebrated the empty tomb last week so we need to get together in harmony, sell all our possessions, and tell the Good News to everyone
  • Personally, I like the concept of eating together, sharing our faith, helping everyone so that we all have the basic necessities of 21st century life
  • All good, I am on board
  • Wait, what, I need to sell all my possessions? Oh now what a minute. Yeah, not going to do that
  • Nope, no, nata, never
  1. I worked hard for the things I have
  • Anyone with me????
  • I love the concept of this passage, the sense of community
  • It really does seem to me to be true to Jesus’ teachings
  • But the reality of holding everything in common, how is that going to work?
  • Did this actually happen in the first century?
  • There are two diametrically opposed interpretations, one that this is a blueprint for how we are to live or two that this is just an idealistic fantasy
  • And I would caution that either interpretation takes too literally what the writer of Acts is trying to convey
  • In writing a commentary on this passage, Troy Troftgruben writes that this passage as well as Acts 2 “is best read not as a blueprint for today but as glimpses of dynamic experiences by a community enlivened by God’s Spirit. And so, these texts say less about model church practices and more about the dynamic power of God among believers.” (Working Preacher, 4/12/2015)
  • I think this concept is important to ponder, the dynamic power of God among believers
  • How is God present and working among us?
  • Every 3 years the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America hosts a massive youth gathering
  • By massive I mean in the neighborhood of 30,000 high schoolers and their adult chaperones
  • The gathering consists of nightly gatherings with speakers, music and worship
  • Daily gatherings centered on learning and having fun
  • A one day of service in the host community, one year my group cleaned medians, which are huge in NO and another year we spent the day working with adults with developmental disabilities and helped them to play games, create artwork and enjoy a day outside with a picnic lunch
  • One of the times we went to New Orleans the theme of the gathering was This Changes Everything
  • The theme song written by James Kocian and Judi Tyler notes that God is always with us, that God never leaves us
  • And this changes everything, everything
  • And these Gatherings have life altering effects on all participants, not just the youth
  1. Throughout the gathering we witness to God’s never ending work all around us
  • God is present, here, now, in our midst
  • God is present in every conversation, every meeting, every community gathering
  • And that changes everything
  • And we are called to work with God so that everyone knows a loving God
  • We work with God so that everyone has sufficient healthy, food to eat
  • To work with God so that everyone has safe, stable, and secure housing
  • To keep our children safe, to protect those who are vulnerable
  • And to speak for those who have no voice
  • The joy of the Empty Tomb is not celebrated on one day in history but every Sunday as we celebrate the Resurrection
  1. The church as a gathering of people is dynamic, it does not stay the same
  2. We are God’s children, we do not stay the same
  • Let’s hear the story of the early church gathering and sharing meals and sharing all possessions not as a utopian ideal or even a blueprint for life in community
  • But let us see how we can work with God within our community to create a living, dynamic community that works to create safe space, healthy meals, stable housing, and opportunities for all to grow into the person that God created us to be
  • Let us acknowledge that the Resurrection calls us into community
  1. Let us acknowledge that how we use our time, our money, our resources, and our gifts and talents does matter
  • We won’t agree on everything, how we discuss and disagree matters to us and to our community
  • Our faith challenges us to look within and challenges us to make decisions that not only effect ourselves and our families
  • But also effects our community
  • Resurrection Changes Everything
  1. Are we willing and open to be fully Easter people?
  • Acts 4:32-35 provides continuity between the ministry of Jesus and that of the early church but it also links us and believers of every time and place
  • No one is in need anymore
  • Let’s change everything
  • Let’s join with God and create a loving and caring community
  • Thanks be to the Risen Lord
  • Amen