Acts 4 – By the Spirit We Are Plenty-full
What did you learn about the Holy Spirit?
- He empowers people to preach with boldness (4:8,31).
What did you learn about the Spirit-filled community?
- They “were one of heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them” (4:32 NASB).
- There was grace for all (4:33).
- No one was needy! (4:34)
Notes from Pastor Mark
Remember from last week that Peter and John are standing conspicuously in the middle of the temple courts, preaching about Jesus. The man whom they have just healed miraculously is clinging to them and the people are “astounded” by what they are seeing and hearing.
You can’t help but be impressed by the change the Holy Spirit has brought about in Peter particularly. Here was the guy so full of bluster that he bragged about standing with Jesus even if every other disciple would run away. Of course, when the chips were down, Peter melted and denied Jesus not once, but three times! But then the Holy Spirit comes upon His people at Pentecost, fills them with His power, and suddenly, once-timid souls are on fire!
But the amazed onlookers aren’t the only ones that take notice. Obviously, since they were preaching right in the middle of the temple courts, so did the religious leaders (Acts 4:1). They didn’t like the fact that Peter was preaching that Jesus, whom they had been responsible for killing, was in fact alive again! So they seize them and put them in jail. But too late! Another 2,000 people had come to believe in Jesus. (Wow…what would it look like in Gig Harbor if we experienced that kind of Holy Spirit revival?)
Like they had with Jesus not many weeks earlier, now they put his followers on trial asking virtually the same questions: “By what power or what name did you do this?” And of course, they tell them. Jesus! Resurrected Jesus! The religious leaders command them to stop talking about Jesus. I love Peter’s response: “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard!” Oh, that the Holy Spirit would raise up more disciples in this moment who would say, “I can’t help but tell you what Jesus has done in my life!”
One of the noteworthy things Jesus did then was to create generous people. Folks who hoarded and protected their wealth for their own benefit suddenly, by the power of the Holy Spirit, wanted to share. They stopped feeling anxious about their future and started trusting that God would take care of them. In 2:44, we discover that “all believers” sold possessions and goods and shared with those who had need.” Again in 4:32, we discover that their unity of Spirit (v. 32) compels them to share everything they possessed. As a result, there were “no needy persons among them.” In fact, some of them (not all of them…) even sold lands and homes, brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet who in turn distributed it among the poor.
You cannot read the gospels (Matthew 6: 19 ff., e.g.) or Acts and not understand that part of the transforming work of the Holy Spirt is to make His people generous; to help us be content with what we have and long to share with others. If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, but hoard your wealth and do not give to His work, it is really worth asking if the Holy Spirit has redeemed that part of your soul. If you are a stingy person, would you be willing to confess that before Jesus right now and ask the Holy Spirit to change that part of who you are; make you more content; make you more generous?