Scriptural text: Acts 4:32-5:11
Motivated by Love (Acts 4:32-35). The disciples loved each other dearly. Behold, how good and how pleasant it was to see how the multitude of those that believed were of one heart, and one soul (Acts 4:32), and there was no such thing as discord nor division among them. Observe, there were multitudes that believed; even in Jerusalem, where the malignant influence of the chief priests was most strong, there were three thousand converted in one day, and five thousand on another, and, besides these, there were added to the church daily; and no doubt they were all baptized, and made profession of the faith; for the same Spirit that endued the apostles with courage to preach the faith of Christ endued them with courage to confess it. They were all of one heart and one soul. Though there were many, very many, of different ages, tempers, conditions, in the world, who perhaps, before they believed, were perfect strangers to one another, yet, when they met in Christ, they were as intimately acquainted as if they had known one another for many years. They were joined to one another with holy love. This was the blessed fruit of Christ’s dying precept to his disciples, to love one another, and his dying prayer for them, that they all may be one in Christ.
A Heart of Love Touched by the Spirit of God (Acts 4:36-37). One particular person mentioned that was remarkable for his generous charity was Barnabas, who afterwards became Paul’s colleague. Barnabas, the son of prophecy, he being endued with extraordinary gifts of prophecy. He having land, whether in Cyprus, where he was born, or in Judea, where he now lived, or elsewhere, is not certain, but he sold it, not to buy elsewhere to advantage, but as a Levite indeed, who knew that he had the Lord God of God for his inheritance, he despised earthly inheritances, but brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet, to be given in charity.
The Challenges of Possessions (Acts 5:1-6). Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife, wanted to be counted among the philanthropists in the early Christian Church, so they too sold a piece of property they owned. However, instead of bringing all the money, they brought only a portion, yet represented their gift as the whole proceeds of the sale. It seems that Ananias and Sapphira wanted to gain a reputation for being generous, while minimising the sacrifice necessary to gain that reputation. So Ananias and Sapphira tinkered with truth and made themselves out to be more generous than they really were. God did not think it a trivial matter: Ananias and Sapphira were punished by death on the spot.