Acts 4:32–35 (ESV) — 32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
Barnabas and Ananias:
Acts 4:36–5:11 (ESV) — 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. 7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
What would it look like If the full-number of those who believed in Parkland where of one mind and heart! Can we pray for this?
I’m going to do my best to present the biblical standard of Unity then we can pray with that unity in mind.
I’m not claiming this is some easy task, in fact it is one of the most difficult tasks we have as we join Jesus in his mission.
John 17:20–21 (ESV) — 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
The fact that Jesus prayed for Unity tells me that it is something we should pray as a priority and should expect God to answer it.
Christian Unity: Is when the Spirit empowers the church to unanimously get on board with Jesus agenda in one heart and soul.
Daily agenda exchange.
Luke 9:23 (ESV) — 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
1. This is not a private thing. Everyone sees and watches the man walking through Jerusalem with a cross on his back.
2. This is a daily thing
3. This is a heart thing.
What Unity is NOT:
A. Pluralism: a theory or system that recognizes more than one ultimate principle.
i. Acts 4:23–28 (ESV) — 23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “ ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’— 27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
B. Repentance is key to unity. To calibrate our hearts back to the one who unifies.
C. It is one heartedness not just being nice and staying shallow.
D. Example: Ananias and Saphira. Coexist movement.
E. Gift of the discerning of Spirits.
Risk of lacking discernment:
Move on/business as usual and no one addresses the breach of “one heartedness”
A. Humanism:Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity.
– American Humanist Association
B. Example of supernatural unity: Praying and someone else prays exactly what God put on your heart. (Acts 1:14, Acts 4:24)
i. Acts 4:24 (ESV) — 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,
C. Being of one heart and soul can never be achieved without the Spirit uniting our hearts together with a singular vision, that is Jesus and His mission.
A. Fatalism:commonly used to refer to an attitude of resignation in the face of some future event or events which are thought to be inevitable
B. Unity takes partnership with God in the relinquishing of ones owner’s rights. “any of the things that belonged to him was not his own, but they had everything in common”
C. Ephesians 4:3–4 (ESV) — 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—
D. (Acts 2 all the way to Acts 4) When any organization grows Unity get’s harder.E. Example of needing to cultivate unity: Any marriage does not just supernaturally become unified without a daily and constant cultivation.
IV. Unity is not preaching the lowest common denominator as to not offend.
A. Dilution: the action of making something weaker in force, content, or value.
B. We see dilution happen when we water down the Word, skip passages that offend people and make it more palatable to anyone and everyone, in the name of unity.
V. Christian unity is not superficial. Superficial unity is conformity where everyone is exactly alike.
A. Example: social cliques. Unity is not an affinity group thats formed because they have inside jokes or even shared frustrations.
B. Luke describes the early church being of one heart and soul, not of being of one interest or personality.
C. Example of superficial unity: My last church never did this, I love that you do this. It’s unity based on common frustrations. This is not (one heart and soul)
D. Acts is a brand new community that came from at least 15 different nations. Trying to figure out how to do l life together! The Jerusalem church for sure were mostly converted Jews so they had a love for scripture and an understanding of rituals. But as the gospel spread to gentile nations, this actually represented the heart of Christ more.
VI. Christian Unity is not organizational where everyone must be forced into the same denomination.
1. Authoritarianism: the enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom.
2. Example: North Korean army
3. The giving for example that took place here in the new testament was voluntary and not under compulsion
Christian Unity: Is when the Spirit empowers the church to unanimously get’s on board with Jesus agenda in one heart and soul.
How do we get on board with biblical unity?
1. Recognize it’s spiritual Holy Spirit
2. Determine that what you have is not yours
Acts 4:32–33 (ESV) — 32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
1. Your time
2. Your money
3. Your energy
4. Your emotions
5. Your convenience
They are all God's!
Determine to join Jesus mission to be a witness of the resurrection.
Cultivate one-heartless through repentance and the discerning of spirits!
Blessing in Unity:
Psalm 133:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
Acts 4:33–34 (ESV) — 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold
Romans 15:5–6 (ESV) — 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me give you two examples of Barnabas.