Acts 4:32, 33: “All the believers were of one mind and heart, and they felt that what they owned was not their own; they shared everything they had. And the Apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great favor was upon them all.”
None of the Christians in the early church felt what they owned was really their own, and so they were able to give and share, which eliminated poverty among them. It is difficult from our cultural mindsets to imagine having to share our possessions and property so that other believers could benefit from God’s gifts and blessings that we have received.
The early church in Acts recognized the other believers as brothers and sisters in the family of God. It is tempting—especially if we have material wealth—to cut ourselves off from one another with concern only for our own interests and enjoyment. But as part of God’s family, it is our responsibility to help one another in every way possible.
To have unity in the body of Christ that will bring God’s power and grace into our lives, we must live in the attitude that everything we have comes from God, and that we are only sharing what is already His. Acts 4:24 says, “Then all the believers were united as they lifted their voices in prayer.”
We all know how impossible it is for everyone of us to agree on everything or to share the same opinions on everything. That’s why there are so many different religions and denominations and why it is hard for all Christians to get along joyfully with one another. But what happened at the time of the early church with these believers took place because they were united together by the Spirit of God. They came together in spiritual unity. The believers were loyal, committed, and loved God and His Word. The church never could have survived without spiritual unity.
The early church was able to share possessions and property as a result of the unity brought by the Holy Spirit in and through the believers lives. The early Jewish believers in Jesus created great friction with Jews who didn’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Believing Jews were forced to meet in private homes for communion, prayer, and teaching about Christ. Many were excommunicated from their synagogues and from their families.
But the church grew daily because zealous worship and brotherly love is contagious! The spiritual unity and generosity of the early believers would be vital principles for the church to follow today. This way of living is not the way of communism because (1) sharing their possessions was voluntary; (2) it did not involve all property but only as much as was needed; (3) it was not a membership requirement to become a part of the church. Spiritual unity must be birthed in us by the Holy Spirit which gives us the motivation to love each other just as Christ loves us. Love then will readily serve one another.