"What Is Mine Is Yours"
This reading sets the stage for us to consider both Barnabas and Ananias and Sapphire. What we see in these two examples helps us to understand our text. Are we really willing to share with no strings attached?
What’s Mine Is Yours
A. I would like to ask everyone to do me a favor. If you have a purse with you, a wallet, your checkbook or anything that has access to money, if you could just get it out and hold on to it for a while during the sermon this morning. Please go ahead and get out your money, checkbook, or wallet now. Thank you.
B. Rev. 3:14-19. History tells us the he region of Laodicea was one of wealth. They people prospered and its people may have even enjoyed displaying their wealth. The wording here may not be physical wealth, it could be that these Christians saw themselves as spiritually wealthy. They may have carried with them an heir of self-reliance, even self-righteous because of the standing in the community. The church at Smyrna thought itself poor, when it was really rich (Rev 2:9); the Laodiceans boasted that they were rich, when in fact they were poor. Perhaps we have here a hint of why this church declined spiritually: they had become proud of their ministry and had begun to measure things by human standards instead of by spiritual values. They were, in the eyes of the Lord, “wretched, and miserable, and poor.”
C. So, here you sit in the pew with your money on your lap. Look at it for a moment. Open you checkbook or wallet. I don’t want you feel ashamed, guilty or embarrassed. I want you see the blessings you have. How you view that money is another question. I don’t disagree that you and I need money to pay for our food, clothing, home, and utilities. I also believe our “standard of living” is higher than many in the world. But what if all it was taken from you? What if something drastic happened and you barely had enough money live. How would feel?
D. The Bible talks money more than it does almost any other subject. We can quote verses like, “the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil.” But I love Heb 13:5, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Do we really believe that? When we come to the passage today we see people who viewed what they had had differently. Let’s look at their stories.
I. Theme (4:32-35)
A. Look at verse 32 for a moment. As long the full number of us in this congregation are of one heart and soul money will never be an issue. How many of you would let your children starve? How many of you would know that your brother or sister is homeless, living in their car and not open your home to them? How many of you would let an aged parent sit in a cold home or go without because their retirement simply isn’t enough to pay the heat bills? We wouldn’t think of withholding from them because we are of one heart and mind. We love them.
B. When we learn to love each other to that same level, I mean that here is no difference between them and your blood family, I can guarantee that money would not be an issue. The problem is rarely money, the problem is normally loving deeply enough to see your church family the same way you see your blood family.
C. As the church began, they were united. But they also saw that there were needs within the family. We are now looking at a church of thousands. Did they know each other as intimately as a nuclear family? Surely not, but that was not the issue. They were brothers and sisters and when needs arose, people rose up to meet the need. One of the ways finances were raised is that people who own land and homes would sell it and give it to the church to distribute through the wisdom and guidance of the apostles. Then Luke tells of two situations where that happened. One positive and one negative. By the way, do you still have your checkbook and wallet out? Can you honestly say that “anything that belongs to me is not mine?”
II. Barnabas (Acts 4:36-37)
A. His name was Joseph, but we don’t call him that. We call him what the apostles called him, Barnabas. Jesus called Simon, Peter because it means stone or rock. The apostles called Joseph, Barnabas, because it means son of encouragement. I love stories like this. It is not a matter of money; it is a matter of heart.
B. Do you think, that within the few thousand Christians in the church that some of them took advantage of the situation? Do you think that within the body there were a few old soarheads, a few gossips, a few people that were not easy to get along with? I do. So why would Barnabas support that church when there were hypocrits?
C. The only answer I can come to is that his love for them was greater than his love for his money. I believe he trusted that God was in control and the apostles were doing their best to help people who needed it. He could give with no strings attached and expected nothing in return. I also believe he was the exception more than rule. He is given as an example of what we should all be like, but the truth is, we are not all like him.
D. I don’t believe God is commanding you to open that wallet or checkbook and give every penny you have to this congregation. In fact, the collection was taken before the sermon. I don’t believe the statement to the rich, young ruler to go and sell all that he had, give it to the poor and then come and follow Jesus is given to you and me. I do believe the passage I read in Heb. 13 that we are to keep our lives free from the love of money and be content with what we have.
III. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)
A. While we add chapters and verses, Luke simply wrote one long letter. The story really continues on into chapter 5. Read 1-4. This man died, not because of his giving, but because of his lying. He died because of a heart-disease. His heart was not about the people, but about himself. The sad part is his wife was right there with him. Read 7-11.
B. If I do something good, and do not do it out of love, what spiritual profit is there? I really would be nothing more that noisy gong asking people to look at me. This couple might had done something good, but they did it for the wrong reason and lied in the process. If these are our two examples, then let me be Barnabas.
A. By the way, if you still have your wallet out, you can put it back. I am not here to ask for your money. The collection has already been taken.
B. Matt. 25:31-40. May these words be said of us. If God is calling you today to His invitation of grace, love, forgiveness and salvation, then come. If God is calling you to day to repentance, prayer, and humility, then turn to him and live His love to others. If you are in need our help in your spiritual walk, then come.