The Beloved Community: Great Power and Great Grace/Acts 4:32-37

Sermon Summary‌. As we celebrate Dr. King’s life and prepare to enter Black History Month, a focus on God’s liberating power and God’s justice is certainly appropriate.  From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is filled with narratives of God’s power to “break every chain” in our lives and to enter in on the side of justice.  We all celebrate God’s power. But, there is perhaps something even greater than God’s great power – God’s great grace.  It is God’s grace that saves us (Ephesians 2:8-9). And, he places His grace in our hands to share with others. It is God’s great grace. 

In 2015, humankind’s most significant challenge remains our inability to get along with one another and our capacity to destroy one another.  Somewhere, someone has to model what Paul called the “unity of the faith” (see Ephesians 4:13) and what Dr. King strove for – the “Beloved Community.” In Acts 4, we see a new community of faith being formed – the church is being born. And, in this church we see that everyone is one accord . . . no one is in need.  And, although the power of God is evident, it is the presence of God’s powerful and great grace that transforms this body of believers into the “beloved community.”

One Heart and One Mind. In verse 32, we see that the new church is together.  They are  one in heart and mind. They are sharing freely with one another.

* How many of the members of this new church are on one accord?

* What do we think this – being one I heart and mind looks like?

* What stops or gets in the way of churches today being one in heart and mind?

Great Power.  In verse 33, we see the power of God manifest in the life of the apostles?

* What did they do in the power of God? What had they witnessed?

* Do we testify boldly to the power of God in our lives?  Pay attention!  This is one thing we can speak to with sure boldness, as the apostles testified in the New Testament?

Great Grace.  In verse 33-34 we see something so powerful. NOBODY in this community of faith had need – unity of the brethren . . . The beloved community.

* What was upon the community in such a powerful way?

* What is it about God’s grace, the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life, that caused there to be no needy among them?

* Grace brings a deep awareness of need and brings a consideration for others.  How do we see Christ live out grace as expressed in Phillipians 2:1-8?

* How different is this from how the degenerate world is as reflected in Romans 1:26-32?

*How would our modern churches be different if more of God’s grace was present in the church and in us?

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