SERIES: Unstoppable – The Book of Acts
Sunday, July 9, 2017
- Have you ever experienced overwhelming generosity?
- That’s the kind of impact that Christians in Acts were having all over Jerusalem and later throughout the world as they took the message of hope in Christ all over the place.
TEXT: Acts 4:32-37 (833)
32 All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.
- What united them was their faith in a resurrected Jesus.
- Shift from ownership to stewardship
- This generosity was organic, not mandated (not a redistribution of wealth)
33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.
- No needy (impoverished) among them – needs but not needy
- Why? Because people sold extra things to meet the need
36 For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. 37 He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.
Acts 2:44-45 (832) “44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.”
1. Generosity can’t be mandated, only modeled.
A. Acts church / not a forced or guilt-tripped generosity from the apostles / it came out of the overflow of friendship they felt for each other.
B. It was because of the example that Jesus set for them / John 3:16
C. Biblical generosity isn’t about a redistribution of wealth controlled by the church. It’s about reflecting on Jesus’ generosity toward us and then imitating that generosity toward others.
2. Generosity should be a by-product of my spiritual growth.
A. If someone claims to be growing spiritually as a follower of Jesus but doesn’t find herself becoming more generous, I’m not sure how deep her faith really is.
B. 14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” – but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? – James 2:14-16 (931)
C. Generosity is a fruit of spiritual transformation.
3. Generosity has to be “no-strings-attached”.
A. True generosity can’t be based on reciprocity. If I feel like you are going to owe me something, I’m not expressing generosity, I’m merely participating in a transaction.
B. 12 Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he [Jesus] said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.” – Luke 14:12-14 (797)
4. Generosity and joy go hand in hand.
A. In Acts 20:35, the Apostle Paul quotes Jesus and tells us that, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (849)
B. Later in his letter to the Christians in Corinth, Paul tells us that, “…God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 – 886)
C. But you already knew. Because you’ve felt it.
D. Generosity is emotional / fear will keep you from being generous, generosity will unleash joy in your life
- We do not do generous things, we are generous (it’s a being vs. doing thing)
- How do I get there? You get intentional.
- Four myths about generosity:
- It’s spontaneous
- It’s driven by cash flow
- It’s the amount that counts (Jesus’ giving hero gave 2 pennies)
- It’s only for rich people
- You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. – 2 Corinthians 9:11 (887)