Mutual Care
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Mutual Care

Acts 2:42–47  (ID: 1978)

The church is to be a place where we care and are cared for. Alistair Begg reminds us that the basis of our mutuality and fellowship is the great experience we have in common: God’s redeeming grace. Founded on this truth, solidarity with other believers leads us to meet one another’s needs, just as the early Christians did in Acts. God’s people are to care for our brothers and sisters in need at all times, in every circumstance, and with sacrificial generosity.

Series Containing This Sermon

Seven Marks of an Effective Church

Acts 2:42–47 Series ID: 22401

Sermon Transcript: Print

We have been looking in the evenings at various matters that are somewhat related to our studies in the morning. We said, when we launched into the 1 Timothy series, that in the evening we would take the little section at the end of Acts chapter 2, and we would derive from that certain principles that would help us in a practical way to think about the nature of the church. And in the course of time we have been dealing with that; it’s become a bit disjointed. We’ve dealt with the fact that the church was a learning church, devoting itself to the apostles’ teaching; that it was a worshipping church; and we’re going to see that it is an evangelizing church—people being “added to their number daily,” the ones “who were being saved.”[1]

And tonight, we’re noticing essentially what is the second part of what we have dealt with before when we think of the church as being a loving church—a loving church. And the subject that is before us is the matter of mutual care—in other words, that we have the privilege and responsibility of ministering to each other. And the basis of our mutuality, or our koinonia—which is the word for fellowship, translated “fellowship” there in Acts 2:42—the great experience that we have in common is that of God’s redeeming grace; that our fellowship is first of all with God the Father and with his Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and as a result of having been put in that vertical relationship with God, we are then placed in a relationship with one another . And that is a summary, essentially, of 1 John 1:3: “Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” And this, then, is the basis of our fellowship with each other.

When Paul pronounces the words of the grace at the end of 2 Corinthians, in chapter 13, he says, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the [koinonia] of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”[2] So, just in order that we’re not in any doubt as to what we’re making reference to when we think in terms of mutuality, or solidarity, or fellowship with one another, we’re using it in the way in which the New Testament uses it: not a group of people who are interested in religious activities, getting together, and doing religious things, or even people who have determined that they like the pragmatic benefits of a particular way of life, not least of all what is apparently the Christian way of life, and so they have committed themselves to that. Not that at all, but the shared experience of folks who have understood, “[Herein] is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”[3] And into this experience of love we have been brought.

And when we studied 1 Thessalonians, for example, Paul says to the Thessalonians, “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.”[4] And then, into the next chapter, in verse 9, he says, “About brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia.”[5] What a wonderful thing to be able to say! He encourages them a few verses earlier, and then he says, “I don’t really need to write to you about the nature of brotherly love. You understand this, God has taught you this. Your love for the brothers throughout Macedonia is well known.” “Yet,” he says, “we urge you … to do so more and more.”[6] And just in case they thought that this had something to do with a kind of funny feeling in your tummy, or a gush of emotionalism, or whatever else it is, he makes it intensely practical: he says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business … to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”[7]

Now, it is, then, this nature of our partnership with one another to which Luke refers at the end of Acts chapter 2, when he describes in these two verses, 44 and 45, the circumstances in Jerusalem: “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”

The Bible has been written for not simply the increase of our knowledge but the transformation of our lives.

Now, these are actually quite disturbing verses—at least, they should be disturbing verses. If they don’t disturb us, then we need to keep reading them until they start disturbing us. Because we know that the Bible has been written for not simply the increase of our knowledge but the transformation of our lives . And we have to constantly be determining what sections of the Bible are prescriptive and what are descriptive. And since we’ve become alert to that distinction, and we come to these two verses, we haven’t jumped over the devotion to the apostles’ teaching. We regard that as absolutely prescriptive, don’t we? That there would be teaching and that we would be devoted to it. In the same way, we have come to the word “fellowship,” and we have determined that fellowship is definitely something that we are supposed to be doing. There’s no question of it merely being described; it is prescribed . The matter of breaking bread and doing the obedient thing to Christ in relationship to the Lord’s Supper, again, we regard as that which is being prescribed and not described. And when it comes to the matter of prayer, it’s not something we simply observe; it is something that we do.

Okay, now we’re at verse 44: “[And] all the believers were together and had everything in common. [And] selling their possessions and [their] goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” Okay, described or prescribed? And if it’s described, how do we arrive at described when we’ve been so clear on prescribed in the first three or four? Is it because this unsettles us so much—this would mean a radical change, this would be a revolution, this would be something akin to some form of Christianized Communism in our minds, which by our very natures we find revolting? Or is it just because we’re good exegetes of Scripture? Well, I’m not going to answer the question for you at the moment; I’m just going to leave it hanging out there.

The early church was aware of the groups that were around the Dead Sea, primarily the Essene community—E-S-S-E-N‑E—a group of people known as the Qumran community, the folks who gave us the Dead Sea Scrolls. And the Qumran community had in part and parcel of its existence combined ownership of property. And if you presented yourself as a candidate for membership in what was essentially a monastic community in Qumran, then the candidate for admission to membership of the community accepted the fact that “his property and earnings shall be handed over to the Bursar of the Congregation,”[8] and any and all property that he had will be merged into the assets of the community. And these people were living around the Dead Sea communities, and that is exactly what they were practicing.

The early church, aware of this, may well have found the words of Jesus in relationship to certain things about having no place to lay his head—“The foxes have holes, the birds of the air have trees; I have nowhere to lay my head”[9]—maybe taking, for example, his call to total poverty in relationship to the rich young ruler,[10] and then combining it with what they were seeing in this Essene community, and determining that perhaps that would be the pattern that they should copy.

Now, whether it was the pattern that they were endeavoring to copy or not, the question is, Is it a pattern that we are supposed to copy? Is this something that is required for us also?

Now, this has been answered in various ways at different points in church history. You don’t need to go too far back; you only need to go to the Jesus People of the ’60s—some of the folks who were out on the West Coast and doing a kind of Christianized version of “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to [put] some flowers in your hair.”[11] And many of those folks made an honest attempt at what they thought was the pattern being laid down here in the Acts of the Apostles.

You can go back a significant time before such attempts as those, to the Hutterite community—the Hutterite Brethren—who were in Moravia. And again, these folks endeavored to do exactly what verses 44 and 45 appear to tell us. However, their most influential leader, a man by the name of Menno Simons, pointed out to his people, when they had embarked upon this venture, that what he referred to as “the Jerusalem experiment”—referring to these verses here in Acts 2—“was neither,” said Menno Simons, “universal nor permanent.”[12] So here he had a group of people endeavoring to do this, and he addressed them along the way, and he says, “I’m not sure that we have understood this properly. What happened in Jerusalem did not happen universally, and it did not happen permanently.” And he said, “Therefore, on the strength of that, we can deduce from this that what we have here is not a prescription but is a description of something that was taking place in church history.”

Now, the fact of the matter is that Jesus may call individuals to total voluntary poverty. He may. That’s what he called the rich young ruler to; he said, “There’s one thing you lack. Go and sell all that you have, give it to the poor, and then come and follow me.”[13] In other words, he says, “I want you to give it all up. This is a stumbling block for you, and so the way you’re going to live your life, if you want to live as a disciple of mine, is you’re going to have to cash your chips in; you’re going to have to give the whole thing over.” Now, you’re tired of hearing about C. T. Studd—his father was multimillionaire, and he played cricket and so on for England—but that was exactly the posture of C. T. Studd. When he left the shores of England as a missionary, he gave it all up. His trust funds ran into millions, and for him, to follow Christ meant giving it away.

Now, clearly that hasn’t been true for everyone, but it may be for some. And you may be one—and who knows, maybe that’s what I need to do as well. But the fundamental question in the vast majority of cases, when we think about this dimension of mutual care with one another, is, What are we supposed to do with our stuff? With the accumulation of stuff? I just want to call it “stuff” tonight, okay? Not a very nice word, but you understand. Stuff! Neither Jesus nor his disciples forbade private property. Agreed? Indeed, when you read the Acts of the Apostles here, it’s clear that these people still had their own houses. If they didn’t have their own houses, then they wouldn’t be able to meet together in their own homes. That’s verse 46: “They broke bread in their homes and [they] ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”

So their solidarity was not first of all about economics. Their solidarity, as you see in Acts chapter 4, was about the fact that they were committed in heart and mind. That’s the opening section in verse 32: “All the believers were one”—in what?—“in heart and [in] mind.” And you can see that Acts 4:32 is a parallel to Acts 2:44: “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” It’s almost a parallel statement: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. [And] no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own.” And their solidarity was such that economics was only one expression of the unity of their hearts and minds. Because they had understood the words of Jesus, who said, “If you can see your brother in need and simply pass him by, then how can the love of God be in you?”[14] They had understood the words of Jesus when he takes his disciples aside and he has to instruct them that when they have done things in giving cups of cold water in his name to the least of his brethren, they have done it unto him[15]—and that the way in which they have cared for the afflicted, the way in which they have dealt with the prisoner, the way in which they have ministered to the widow in her affliction, the way in which they have cared for the orphan, he says, “is expressive of the transforming power of my love within your life.” In other words, one of the things that will inevitably happen is that you will find that the stuff becomes a vehicle to be used in God’s service.

Generosity begins with an attitude. It is a posture of heart and mind.

So, what we have is essentially a call to generosity. A call to generosity. And generosity begins with an attitude.  Generous people start with an attitude. In fact, you can say that everything essentially starts with attitude. It is a posture of heart and mind.

When you read the verses carefully in Acts chapter 4, it’s absolutely clear that they had possessions. The issue is that no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own. The possessions were their own; they didn’t just claim them as their own. In other words, by fact and by law, they held the title deeds to this stuff. But in heart and in mind, they saw all that to which they held title as a means to an end in dealing with specific and peculiar and pressing need. In other words, when they understood a need to be there, then their attitude was radical in relationship to it. Because they did not immediately grab all their stuff around them and say, “Well, I’m not responding to that need. I didn’t work all my life to get all this stuff just to give it away like this in a moment or two because somebody else hasn’t looked after their affairs,” or whatever else it is. They didn’t do that. Nobody claimed that any of his possessions was his own.

How’s your attitude? Are you naturally stingy, or are you naturally generous? It’s hard to be called Begg in Scottish—although Begg is a Gaelic word which means “little,” but nobody believes that; they think I made that up to get out of a problem. But you see, generous people are generous in their hearts first of all. They’re just generous people. It’s an attitude of heart. It’s not about the number of zeros in the account; it’s about the attitude.  You see it in children, from their early years, with candy. Some will give it all away; some of them won’t share a thing with you. They have it hoarded like a squirrel, and it’s all hidden in some little place. Now, we don’t want to demean them immediately and say they’re not generous; maybe they’re planning to be very generous, and they’re just working up to it, and they just want to be phenomenally generous all of a sudden. And maybe that’s why some of us think we need to amass what we’re amassing.

But attitude, if it means anything, has to then reveal itself in action. And it is in action that we see this worked out. Because, whether you’re reading it in Acts 2, in the selling of the possessions and goods and giving to anyone as they had need or sharing everything they had and producing a context in which—verse 34—“there were no needy persons among them”…[16]

That’s a staggering statement, isn’t it? “There were no needy persons among them.” Doesn’t mean they were all wealthy; it simply means that there were no needy persons. Now, why were there no needy persons? Because there existed in their relationship a concern built on solidarity for total generosity, for mutual care. Somebody looked and said, “Here is an individual that doesn’t have x. I have x, y, and z. Why in the world do I have this? Why don’t I get rid of z, and then they can at least have x?” And that’s the way it worked. It wasn’t—it isn’t—some form of contrived and compulsory Communism, some endeavor to fulfill some sort of Pythagorean utopia, or Platonic utopia, or Marxist dialectic, or something like that. It’s nothing to do with that. It’s the Spirit of God at work in the heart of the people saying, “There’s a need, I can meet it, I’m going to meet it.” And as a result of that, there were no needy people there.

Now, you will notice that in Acts 4:34 there is this infrequent dimension to what was going on. It wasn’t a sort of “once and for all, no holds barred, sell up all your stuff and give it all away”; it wasn’t that. Verse 34: “There were no needy persons among them.” Then, says Luke, “Let me explain why: For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and the apostles, who were in the know about who was in the need, distributed it to anyone as he had need.”[17]

So, the action that they took was voluntary, infrequent, and specific. Now, you’re gonna have to check and see if you agree with that, but I believe that that’s true to say. They still had homes, their stuff was still theirs, until they chose to give it up for others.

One of the most marvelous things that I witnessed in the couple of years that I was at Charlotte Chapel as an assistant in Edinburgh from ’75 to ’77 was people giving houses to the church—usually elderly women. Magnificent homes, sometimes with all of their contents: beautiful paintings, wonderful antique furnishings. And here was a lady whose husband perhaps had died, or was at a stage where she and her husband were going to have to move into some other situation. And instead of going through all that would be involved in the capital gains and in everything that had to do with it, she simply came to the pastor, and in some cases simply gave him the keys and told him the lawyer’s name to call. And I know that there were things that were able to be achieved in terms of outreach, in terms of evangelism, in world missions, and building projects that took place at Charlotte Chapel that were directly related to the fact that here Mrs. X, and another Mrs. X, and so on, simply said, “I’ve enjoyed living in this house; it’s been a wonderful house. God provided the house for me. I never had a house when I started out. Now I’ve had a house. Here’s the house. It’s yours. You can either live in it, you can put missionaries in it, you can sell it, you can do what you choose with it.” And as a result of that manifest generosity, needy people were ministered to.

So, the attitude was crucial, the action was clear, and the action was equally appropriate. Because the distribution was proportionate to genuine need. Now, I don’t think I need to say any more about that. I think anything further sort of beats it up, doesn’t it?

The fundamental question is, What are we supposed to do with this, as a church family? Because in the mornings we’re asking the question from 1 Timothy, How are we supposed to conduct ourselves in the house of God? And we’re learning about leadership, we’re learning about worship, we’re learning about doctrine, we’re learning about all these things. Then we come in the evening, and we’re looking at the Acts of the Apostles, and we’re seeing here the unfolding of God’s purpose in the community of his people.

So, when we come to this, do we simply reject it as an anachronism? “Oh, well that was a sort of funny time. It was the early centuries, and I just need to get on and keep amassing my stuff”? Do we accept it as an absolute obligation, and all of a sudden commit ourselves to a vow of poverty, and determine that we’re going to build orphanages in Cuba, churches in Liberia and in Afghanistan? We’re going to build a commons area and a gymnasium, and it’s going to be very important, because we’re all going to be living in them. That doesn’t seem smart.

Let me suggest that in the little sections which follow where we are here in Acts 4, we have an example to follow, a sin to avoid, and a principle to apply. And with this I wrap it up.

Where then is the example to follow? Well, the example to follow is in verse 36 and 37, and it comes in the form of a person. This man “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas”—they called him Barney—“(which means Son of Encouragement), [he] sold a field [that] he owned … [he] brought the money and [he] put it at the apostles’ feet.”[18] And you get the impression that it’s kind of no fuss and bother, no funny business; he simply recognized that there were needs in the community, he recognized that he’d been blessed beyond his means, and so he had a field which he determined he would sell, and as a result of being able to sell it, he brought the proceeds, and he gave them to the apostles, trusting that the apostles would do with them what was right. That’s a wonderful example to follow.

There are all kinds of ways in which we’re able to disburse our funds. The local church may not be the sole recipient of what we give, but it should be the first and primary recipient of what we give.

That’s the principle of giving that we have tried, over the years, to teach here at Parkside Church: instead of everybody simply giving to all manner of projects and trying to fix this and that and the next thing, to try in some cohesive, purposeful way to begin, at least, with the giving of our resources first to the local church, so that we might then be able as a church to do things that we are unable to do simply as individuals. There are all kinds of ways in which we’re able to disburse our funds, and the local church may not be the sole recipient of what we give, but I do believe it should be the first and primary recipient of what we give , and that the pattern of laying it at the apostles’ feet is simply saying that they brought it to the church, and wise leadership in the church disbursed the funds. So there’s an example there to follow.

When you go into chapter 5, in the story of Ananias and Sapphira, then there is a sin to avoid. Now, what’s the sin? The sin is deceit. The sin is actually hypocrisy. The sin is trying to appear that you’re doing something that you’re not doing. Because when you read the first verse, it’s so far, so good: “Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.”[19] You’re reading this, you’re going, “Hey, this is good! Man, this is off to a flying start. We can see this is working well.”

[And] with his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money [that] you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?”[20]

“It’s your stuff! Nobody compelled you to sell it. And even when you had sold it, and you had the proceeds in your pocket, that was still your cash to do with what you wanted. Ananias, this is a tactical error, buddy. You sold it for a hundred thousand, you pocketed twenty-five thousand, you brought the seventy-five thousand, for which we’re appreciative, but here’s the bad news: you’re trying to make it look as though you only got seventy-five thousand for it. Why would you lie to the Holy Spirit?”

You see, he could have sold it for a hundred grand and given twenty grand. Wouldn’t have been a problem! He could have sold it for a hundred thousand and gone on a vacation, and it wouldn’t have been a problem. But he sells it for one figure, puts the balance in his pocket, and then tries to make out that the figure that he brings to the church is actually what he made on it. In other words, he wants to get a bigger bang for the buck, and he’s deceitful.

“[And] when Ananias heard this,” he dropped down of a heart attack and died, or whatever; “he fell down and died.” There’s a number of ways he could have died. “And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. [And] … the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.” The Jews don’t mess around, you know. “[And] about three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.” Oh, wow! I love this part. “[And] Peter asked her, ‘Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?’” And in that moment the door of opportunity swung open for her, and she jammed her fingers in it and she said,

“Yes … that is the price.”

[And] Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

[And] at that moment she fell down at his feet and died. [And] … the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

No messing around! “[And] great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.”[21]

What was the problem? The problem was not materialism. The problem was not an unwillingness to give. The problem was deceitfulness. So I would suggest to you that that is a very significant sin to avoid, even as Barnabas has given us a very wonderful example to follow.

And here is the principle that we need to apply—namely, care for those in need at all times and in every circumstance, and sacrificial generosity.  What is descriptive? The practice. The way in which they did what they did in that first-century Jerusalem context, that practice is described for us. It was not universal, and it did not continue. So the practice as worked out was, I believe, descriptive. The principle is prescriptive, universal, and timeless. And it is this: genuine care for those who are in need, and sacrificial generosity to ensure that there are no needy people among us.

Now, there are practicalities involved in that, and I recognize them, but I’m not concerned now to try and go from there and work out the infrastructure. I have people who do that for me. No, that’s kind of joke. I have dear friends and colleagues who know how to get from here to there; I don’t. I’m saying, here’s the principle. You search the Bible, say, “Is this the principle? This is the principle, okay: care for the needy and sacrificial generosity. Okay, how does that happen?” Well, we need to work it out.

And one verse to finish. Romans 15:7: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you.” What am I to do? Accept you. What are you to do? Accept me. In what manner? The same way Christ accepted us. What was that like? Unbelievable! Generous, gracious, without finding fault, without placing undue requirements on us. Why? “In order to bring praise to God.”

See, the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.[22] So it might be hard, then, for some people to accept more prosperous people. Maybe they intimidate us. Maybe we think that because they’ve become prosperous, and we’re not as prosperous, that they must have done something wrong to get prosperous like that, you know—must be fiddling something. So we’re just not going to accept them. We’ll just bypass them. Or for those who have known prosperity, to want to move simply in the circles of the prosperous and refuse to accept those who are not marked by the same levels of affluence and influence.

The church surely has few things of greater immediate relevance to offer the world than the secret of genuine human relationships.

The church surely has few things of greater immediate relevance to offer the world than the secret of genuine human relationships.  I’m going to say that to you again: the church surely has few things of greater immediate relevance to offer the world than the secret of genuine human relationships. So that means that isolationism is out. Involvement is in. Superficiality is gone. Cynicism is taboo. I’m going to have to work out for myself what this means, and that means you’re going to have to work out for yourself what it means too. But we’re going to have to work it out.

See, because we’re all scattered throughout the whole of humanity, here, all across Cleveland, so we don’t have the opportunities, we are not pressed into one another’s lives, in the way that people were in these smaller communities when they received the opportunity of doing what is described here. Therefore, if it’s going to mean anything for us to exist together, then we’re going to have think out what it means, how it works.

I have a recurring picture in my mind—I’m going to stop now with this—but as I think about this, I think about two people. I think about a cheery-faced lady—a chubby, cheery-faced lady—called Mrs. Hadden. Her husband had a wrought iron company. Indeed, those of you who have visited in Edinburgh and seen the wrought iron work at Edinburgh Castle or those magnificent gates at Holyrood Abbey—all of the restoration work was done by Mr. Hadden’s company. All of the best and most magnificent wrought iron work all around Edinburgh, from about 1920 on, was done by this company. They never had any children; there were just the two of them. And she opened her heart and opened her home to an unparalleled level of generosity. And she didn’t invite people to her home who were “the people to invite.” She invited all kinds of people to her home.

And the other lady who’s in my mind—and Sue knows who it is—is a lady who was a drunk, called Martha. And Martha had her good days and she had her bad days. Half the time she was totally smashed, and then she would be sober for a little while. But Martha had some of the nicest coats—very nice coats. She didn’t always keep them for a long time. Sometimes she moved them on to others—I wanted to say needier than herself, but it wasn’t that; she moved them on in order to gain sustenance from the bottle. But she would come in these lovely coats. And only a few people ever knew how it was she had such nice coats. But Mrs. Hadden took her and bought her the coats. She could have given her her old coats, but she bought her new coats. After all, she had enough money for lots of coats, so why would Martha have no coat, or an old secondhand coat that was out of fashion?

Not a great story, but it was in my mind.

Let’s pray:

All of us, Father, can think of those who model to us an attitude of generosity, whose attitude reveals itself in radical action, who in quiet, humble ways do things—voluntarily, appropriately, graciously. And Lord, as we think about our world, and our society, and the implications of this kind of instruction, we pray that you would help us not simply to skip over it and leave it somewhere as a piece of history. Help us not, on the other hand, to go totally crazy in relationship to it and get ourselves in all kinds of strange and bizarre circumstances. Help us to follow the right examples, to avoid the sins, to apply the principles. Help us to really care for each other, not just in financial ways but in emotional ways, as we think of those who are hurting, as we think of some who are unwell, awaiting treatment, those who care for them. Give us grace to genuinely enter into the needs of others. And where we have received comfort, grant that the measure of comfort that we have received may motivate us to extend comfort to those around us and in need.[23] Thank you for giving us lovely examples of this within our church. Increase their tribe, we pray.

And may the love of the Lord Jesus fill our lives, the joy of the Lord Jesus strengthen us as we seek to serve him, and the peace of the Lord Jesus guard and keep our hearts and minds as we make our journey home and as we live out the days of this coming week. For Jesus’ sake we ask it. Amen.

[1] Acts 2:47 (NIV 1984).

[2] 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NIV 1984).

[3] 1 John 4:10 (NIV 1984).

[4] 1 Thessalonians 3:12 (NIV 1984).

[5] 1 Thessalonians 4:9–10 (NIV 1984).

[6] 1 Thessalonians 4:10 (NIV 1984).

[7] 1 Thessalonians 4:11–12 (NIV 1984).

[8] The Community Rule 6.

[9] Luke 9:58 (paraphrased).

[10] See Matthew 19:16–22; Mark 10:17–22; Luke 18:18–25.

[11] John Edmund Andrew Phillips, “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” (1967).

[12] John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts: The Spirit, the Church and the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1990), 83.

[13] Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22 (paraphrased).

[14] 1 John 3:17 (paraphrased).

[15] See Matthew 25:34–40.

[16] Acts 4:34 (NIV 1984).

[17] Acts 4:34–35 (paraphrased).

[18] Acts 4:36–37 (NIV 1984).

[19] Acts 5:1 (NIV 1984).

[20] Acts 5:2–4 (NIV 1984).

[21] Acts 5:5–11 (NIV 1984).

[22] The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 1.

[23] See 2 Corinthians 1:4.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.