READ: Acts 4:1-5:42
- After the positive closing to chapter 4, chapter 5 begins on a pretty harsh note. A family (Ananias and his wife, Sapphira) conspire to lie about their generosity. They seek to get accolades and still keep some of the proceeds. It’s too bad they didn’t realize they could have just kept some of the money, told the apostles what they were giving, and still have been generous. Instead they sought to lie. It was costly.
- But even when truthfulness waned, fear rose, and persecution set in, the power of the gospel didn’t diminish. In fact, as we see the story unfold through chapter 6 (another problem situation), the gospel actually increased and people became believers. That’s what happens when people live like a community should live.
- The power of community must not be underestimated. What can happen when people live life together, share generously with each other, and interact meaningfully with the larger, outside community, becomes immeasurable and unpredictable except in the sense that we can predict it will move the gospel forward. It is the church being the church in the best possible way. It has little to do with what happens inside the four walls of the building where the church meets. The most powerful expressions of the gospel happen “out there.”
- Describe the times you’ve seen the gospel go to work outside of a church context.
- What kinds of things can we do that demonstrate the power of community at work?
- How are you developing community outside of Sunday mornings?
PRAY: Ask God to help us be a community of believers and not simply a gathering of Christians. Pray that we can be generous in ways that impact our greater context. Ask God to open doors for you to be generous.