GETTING THE MESSAGE/Acts 4:32-37
This passage is much like the passage in Acts 2:42-47. It is a snapshot of the blessedness of the early church. The church is marked by joyful dedication to the Lord Jesus and generosity toward those in need. In Acts 4 however, the church is under threat of persecution for proclaiming the name of Jesus and his resurrection from the dead.
Nevertheless, as we see in verse 42, “those who believed were of one heart and soul.” This unity was an answer to the prayer the Lord Jesus made in John 17 not long before he was arrested. He asked that his disciples may be one just as He and the Father were one, and not only his disciples but those who would believe in Him through their word. Jesus wants his people to be of one heart toward God.
The way to such an undivided heart is to believe. We must believe that God sent Christ into the world. He came into the world to save sinners, and he did this by his sacrificial death on the cross. The people in the church had such joy and generosity because they believed they had forgiveness of sins in Christ. And they were no longer slaves to sin and death, but belonged to the living God.
This is a blessed estate to be in. No more than a few months previously, they had been among those shouting for Jesus to be crucified. Now they were praising God in his name. There is a wonderful transition we see in these people: from darkness and death to the light and life of Christ. The image of God is being restored in men.
If we want such blessedness as they enjoyed, we must seek after such an undivided heart as they had. The same Spirit that gave them such joy lives in all who believe in Christ. We seek the good of our own souls when we die to this world and live to Christ. We glorify God when we exalt Christ as being our best portion, and his will as our ambition. If we struggle in our lives as Christians, it may be because we are not pursuing what is best; to honor Christ, to follow him wholeheartedly.
In verse 33, we see the help of the apostles to Christians under threat: “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” The proclamation of the bodily resurrection of Jesus was especially offensive to the Jewish leaders. But it is the root of all faith and power in the Christian life.
The bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead proves that Jesus is who he said he was (the Son of God) and that he accomplished what he promised to accomplish; to destroy the works of the devil by taking away the sting of death, which is sin. Those assembled in the church no longer had reason to fear men or death. Psalm 27 begins: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”
The apostles told the church what they resurrected Christ told spoke to them. They spoke of how he ascended into heaven to the right hand of God. Every Lord’s Day Christians meet together to worship God, on the day Christ rose from the dead. We celebrate the risen Lord, and the Lord by His Spirit is with us.
When the Holy Spirit works powerfully, he does so that we might exalt Christ. The power of his resurrection is that we will walk in newness of the life he has wrought in us. Paul in Colossians 3 writes: “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ.” We have a duty to serve the Lord.
It was the love of Christ which brought him down from heaven for you to assume your nature. That God would become flesh for the sake of sinners is an act of love. It was the love of Christ that made him yield perfect obedience even to death on a cross, so you might have the benefit of it.
And it was the love of Christ that raised him from the dead for you.
So we should strive to attain to a love for Christ. The early church committed their souls to him. They knew after death, Christ would take care of their souls. They believed Christ would raise up their bodies on the last day. They believed in a resurrected Lord. And they had great joy.