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good morning friends how you doing today resounding I love it my name is alex I’m one of the pastors here my bible has finally got to that point where it’s losing important pages um and I was going to give you some kind of like you know overly spiritual thing like see a bible that’s falling apart and there’s a christian that isn’t or something like that but I well I did it anyway but uh I will yeah hopefully purchase a new one we’re gonna read in a second from acts chapter five man we had a a weekend in the walton household uh we had one of those moments where one of our kids I got got kind of sick we uh had little gigi there she she suddenly her breathing got really labored and had one of those parental panic moments where I dashed her off to the hospital because she just wasn’t really responding to me and what was amazing to me was we live in this incredible place where there’s a hospital right down the road that you can get to in

four minutes and that is a joy and what amazed me in this moment as well as the resilience of a child that gave her one of these breathing things and she went from not really responding to me me struggling to get her to answer to eating popsicles with like a joy that was unheard unseen before in her she’s like within seconds um so we were thankful but it was one of those moments like wow life is stressful and life with kids is even more stressful so if you are a stressed parent stressed grandparent if you are a grieving parent if you are many of those things man my thoughts and prayers are with you today because I needed them this weekend acts chapter 5 is what we’re going to jump into we’ve been following this community that’s developing and one of the fascinating things about this book axis is yes on one hand it’s the apostles that are doing these incredible things but not really through their own power at all

they are doing it because they are empowered by this spirit but another thing that I find just compelling about this acts community is is this they look like Jesus Jesus lived in a particular way taught particular things he had a way of living in the world that was different as he sketched out what his mission would be he said things like I have come for the poor for those of on the margins I have come to release prisoners I have come to create hope in the hopeless so when we look at Jesus and see how he acts we should look at this group and say oh that’s interesting they act like that as well and hopefully at some point we get to this place as a community where we look around us and say is that how we live in the world around us we have a big sign that says living in the way of Jesus and the heart of Jesus to the extent that we do that to the extent we take what he did and copy him we are thriving and successful as a

community and to the extent that we miss it well we need to catch it we are a community called to what what the book of acts calls it is bear witness and that doesn’t just mean tell people that Jesus died and rose again it doesn’t even mean just potentially die for your faith and the word witness simply is the word martyr in greek which raises that possibility that this might cost you something but we are also called to take how he lived and display it to the world the longing for this community is we get to reflect him and so as we’ve tracked through the book of acts we’re seeing this community develop and start to shape last week we looked at this interesting way that the religious leaders around them acted out of power and this community chooses to act without power they choose to turn to an alternative kind of power and now we get to read chapter five which man this is a text hold on to your seats because this

is a tough one acts chapter five now a man named ananias together with his wife sapphira also sold a piece of property with his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself but brought the rest of it 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 you receive for the land didn’t it belong to you before it was sold after it was sold wasn’t the money at your disposal what made you think of doing such a thing you have not lied just to humans but to God when ananias heard this he fell down and died and great fear seized all who heard what had happened then some young men came forward wrapped up his body and carried him out and buried him about three hours later his wife came in not knowing what had happened peter asked to tell me is this the price you and ananias got

for the land yes she said that is the price peter said to her how could you conspire to test the spirit of the lord listen the feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door they will carry you out also at that moment she fell down at his feet and died then the young man came in and finding her dead carried her out and buried her beside her husband great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events and now if we were in an anglican church or something of that tradition I would say to you this is the word of God for the people of God and you would respond thanks be to God and you may question is that the appropriate response to this text a better response might be something like God help us this is a text that is full of just struggle and yet this is the text we are called to read and this is the one we will enter into today so let us pray God as we handle a text that is difficult a text that might even be

repulsive to some of us a text that may make us question many things about what we believe perhaps a text we would like to remove from these writings God as we wrestle with it would you use it to shape us as individuals and as a community I along with my brothers and sisters I give you my heart and ask you to transform me and I pray the same for them wherever we are in a journey of faith would you speak and would we listen amen you wake up juan early morning sun is bright outside and you do what you’ve done every day for some weeks now you go and you join this community that is increasingly been called the way it’s a group of people that have followed and gathered around the teachings of Jesus and even though people said that he had died this group believes that he has risen again and as you come to worship you are thankful for this community that you are experiencing you are seeing people’s lives

transformed people seem to be engaging with something and to start with when you heard Jesus teachings you had a chunk of questions but now now you’re seeing these followers followers of his engage with his teaching and seeing them as transformed people you just find the whole thing compelling and so you’ve jumped in and you love the way that this community seems centered around these incredible concepts there is hospitality you have been welcomed into more meals in the last few weeks than you can remember at any point in your life there is this solidarity people are willing to stand up for you in this community and you realize I’m part of something bigger as well there was this mutuality that is just compelling it isn’t just about one person it’s about everybody there’s a humility that seems to be there as well not everybody has to be right all the time they are people that are learning to live with their differences and

finally maybe the most compelling thing is there is this incredible generosity just the other day a man called barnabas walked in with a box full of gold coins he announced that he’d sold some land and he wanted to give it as a gift to the community there was this moment where everybody applauded and everybody cheered and suddenly people that had been into town that had come into town and had joined this community of faith that had no resources of their own suddenly people have food to eat there is food on the table because this man gave so generously this is a community that is built on generosity and it’s exciting to be a part of it it is a community of transformed people and as you begin to worship together as a group of people there’s a moment where a man named named ananias walks in to the meeting he carries with him too a box of gold and he walks to where the apostles are leading the service at the front

and carrying this box of gold everyone begins to murmur as he makes his way to the front everybody stops and he loudly proclaims I sold some land here is the money from it and everybody applauds and cheers this man who was given so generously then as the the conversation the murmurs stop peter who’s been leading this group of apostles whispers just a few quiet words is that all of it ananias ananias responds indignantly yes of course it’s all of it I saw the land and here is the money and then peter whispers a few more things that you can’t quite catch but then suddenly in the midst of this time of celebration and worship ananias this man you have talked to you have known falls down dead this is the story that luke presents us with a man comes into a community not unlike this one with a generous gift with a large sum of money presents it to the community and at the end of the service he is no longer living he is

now dead depending on your engagement with a story you may feel multiple different things you may feel if you’re a church person who’s been connected with a church community for a while oh this is the service where they talk to us about giving and money and all those kind of things and and maybe you kind of nudge husband or wife and he’s like did you bring the checkbook this week because I forgot and all those different murmured conversations uh maybe there’s a panic that we’re going to have you write down how much you gave in the last month and you’ve got to hold up a sign that announces it to the community and then maybe at the end of the service after we’ve gone through this passage you’ll write a different number and reveal it to the community maybe if you’ve been engaged with the church world for a while

there is somewhat of a panic that of course it’s just about money and that’s what we’re going to land on today maybe if you’re someone who would describe yourselves as de-churched or over-churched or lots of those words with churched and a prefix in front of them maybe this if you’re honest is one of the passages that is making you feel pushed away from the church of organized religion of any kind maybe this is one of those passages where you look and say how is this fair and how is this right the passage has a ton of tension in it because the name ananias unbelievably means the lord God is gracious and you read this passage and you say where’s the grace in this this is this is all judgment this is the fire and brimstone thing how is this fair on these people you think through the old testament the older scriptures that we have and you think of all the things that people do and live and ananias gives a gift of lots of money and he’s

dead and then his wife is dead with him how does that seem fair I I suggest that a generous reading of ananias and sapphira is is very similar to these two guys these two guys one of them is daniel radcliffe not being harry potter at this point uh this is gildan stern and rosencrantz from shakespeare’s hamlet any of you that are familiar with the story you may know these characters they are bit character side characters hamlet the hero is melancholy he is out of sorts so his uncle the king who is really the bad guy invites a couple of college pals to come and spend some time with him they’re supposed to cheer him up so they arrive just on that principle no pretensions just to do what they are asked to do but in the course of doing that they start to realize this is an opportunity this is an opportunity for them to gain significance this is an opportunity for them to become wealthy so they enter into this story on behalf of this

evil king and they begin to try and work all these sort of in all these systems they realized kind of quickly that they are playing checkers when everybody else is playing chess they are out of value some of you are like that’s that’s work that’s life for me I feel like that all the time but these guys feel it particularly in this moment they are guys that enter into the story think they are playing a significant part and find that they’re just being manipulated by everybody else they are playing catch-up and they end up stood in front of the king of england with a note that they believe says reward these men give them lots of gold and the note actually says kill these men and they end up with nooses around the neck the english playwright tom stoppard took these two characters and wrote a whole play just from their perspective and as they stand there with the nooses around their neck they kind of look at each other and say how did this

happen where did we go wrong like what what did we do they are caught up in this game that they don’t really understand a generous reading of ananias and sapphira would say the same about them they have got involved in a story that is bigger than they realize and they end up somewhat as the victims of it and yet there’s a manipulation to how they go about it that suggests that that maybe they do know more than rose and cranston guildenstern maybe there isn’t that innocence there and that while the story to us as westerners may seem unfair to many other people they would say it is fair much of the rest of the world would say that the community itself is far more significant than the individual and if an individual has to pay a price for the community to survive that’s that’s good and right we have this view of the individual’s rights that says no it’s not fair because they deserve better than this and yet that’s a tension

that many other people would question maybe you look at this story from the perspective of someone who’s very unchurched maybe you’ve never really considered Jesus before maybe you look at this story and say why does it even matter why does the death of a couple of people a couple of thousand years ago matter how can it impact us today and do those kind of things even really happen does God act like that in the world depending on your connection with church you may have all sorts of different reactions so so let’s start with that question why does this story matter what can we learn from it so if anything at least on the surface this story pushes us in a specific direction when you read the christian scriptures what you tend to get a picture of is this the there are levels in which God is close and imminent that he longs to be our friend and that’s good and right and yet there are other passages other writings that would

suggest God is high and holy and distant and unapproachable now if you’ve been involved in the church world for any length of time you may have observed that different churches tend to trend to one end of the spectrum or another and and that’s probably because we’re spectrum people I I would like to believe I sit in the middle the reasonable middle of every discussion and every argument but that’s a very naive point of view the reality is I’m just not self-aware enough to see my own lens and so there are political spectrums we trend to go one side or the other side there’s lots of different spectrums out there in the church world there is a spectrum between what you might call the imminence of God and the eminence of God if you want easier language God is nigh he is close he is a friend and the other side God is high he is distant he is holy he is to be revered and he would seem that those two things aren’t compatible how

can you get close to someone who is so far above you and yet the christian story has said over and over again that Jesus is the answer to how that might work in practice if you think about the shape of a cross you have an up beam that might reach out reach upwards as God is holy God has high standards God is distant and that respect far above us and then you have a cross beam that reaches out and that might reflect that God loves us that he is all embracing that he longs to pull us in and and he might say that the cross is God’s way of having his cake and eating it he gets to be holy and keep that standard while embracing broken people like you and I the intersection of the cross is where Jesus dies and that’s what makes all of this possible but but inevitably as followers of Jesus we tend to trend to seeing God as close gracious intimate or we tend to trend to see him as holy distant above there is this need to find some balance there and

so as we sang that doxology you may have felt that moment where it suddenly felt like maybe the atmosphere feels a little different there is a holiness and a reverence there I grew up in a pentecostal church so to me reverence was the normal and I can remember engaging in services and prayer meetings where it felt like if I just reached out a hand he would disappear through a veil between the physical and the spiritual world that I was touching something different and yet you might say I’ve never experienced anything like that in church and some of your struggle with church might be just how unspiritual it is at times we are called as followers of Jesus to land somewhere in the middle of that that closeness and that holiness we are called to have our cake and eat it in the same way that God gets to do that as well if nothing else maybe this passage is a reminder that God isn’t just gracious but he is also all of those other

things as well and if that’s all we took that might be a good thing in lamentations as the old testament wrestles with this it is of the lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not they are new every morning great is thy faithfulness assumption what it is for a holy God to engage with humans and yet there is also this compassion and as Jesus teaches his followers to pray he even uses this language there is the language of father abba intimate close and there’s the language of hallowed distant above transcendent if we took nothing else that might be a good thing and yet I suspect that the story isn’t just about whether you see God as holy or whether you see him as close and intimate I would suggest there’s a whole community aspect going on that is important in this story as well why does this story matter to understand acts chapter 5 the verses we just read I don’t think you can understand it

without understanding what comes just before it so we’re gonna jump back to acts chapter four and and just look at what was going on there acts chapter four verse 32 onwards all the believers were of one in heart and mind no one claimed that any of their possessions was their own but they shed everything they had with great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the lord Jesus and God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them brought the money from the sails and put it at the feet of the apostles feet and it was distributed to anyone who had need this community is made up of a lot of different people there are people that live in jerusalem some of them whom are wealthy there are people that have traveled in for the festival where pentecost takes place and they have stayed and they

have just the food supplies they would need for a few days travel and now they are there in jerusalem with nothing really to their name and and what we see is a community that comes together that shares a community that that really just takes everything and throws it into a common pot and it’s available to all and as you see it described isn’t there a sense that wow this is idyllic this is incredible to to see a community live on these terms so there are questions from secular writers about the new testament who they say luke is luke is being unreasonable luke is writing about things that could never have taken place because how can a community be this good and to enter into that idea I’d like you just for a moment to use your imagination I’m going to ask you this question what does idyllic mean to you if you can create the place and space that you want to create what does it look like where is it what what’s the landscape like is

it ocean is it mountains is it boring flat plains of kansas or nebraska hey it’s your idyllic vision you can pick whatever you like what people are with you and what do you do how do you function in that community and most of us after a walk and say oh it looks like that I have this picture uh some friends that were on honeymoon sent me this picture from the amalfi coast I should say some former friends because they know I love the amalfi coast so I’m now just not talking to them I haven’t talked to them since they sent me this picture but not resentful at all but but maybe that kind of starts to make you think oh I could be there for a while there’s this description in the lord of the rings tolkien’s description of the last homely house looks something like this that house was as bilbo had long ago reported a perfect house whether you liked food or sleep or storytelling or singing or just sitting and thinking best or a pleasant

mixture of all of them merely to be there was a cure for weariness fear and sadness some of us are like ah let’s go there for a while that that sounds good a few years ago I was working with a guy and he invited me over to his house we were working on a project together and he was living with his parents at the time and so he gave me an address and I was looking for his house and simply couldn’t find it eventually found this tiny trail that went away into some woodland and as you came around the corner there was this incredible house in front of you that I later found that his dad built with his own two hands it was stunning beautiful and you walked through the door and everything was just laid out perfectly he said would you like a glass of water I said I don’t really like well water and I assume you run a well here he said no we have this reserve reverse osmosis system I think you’ll like it and he came and handed me a glass of

water that is still to this day the best glass of water I have ever enjoyed and then we sat on his back porch for a while and I looked as his mom and his dad played catch with his two younger siblings who they were homeschooling behind them there was a lake with a small boat sitting floating on it and I got kind of spooked by this place I went back to the office and people said what’s wrong with you where have you been I said I think I went to narnia or something like that anyway I I I went to this place and and people were different no difference not the word better people were better than us in this space there was something about it that was just beyond description we have those moments that we think this is idyllic this is perfect this is too good to be true and as we read this story in acts we might say the same about it wow I could go there for a while this seems to be what community looks like and take your vision for a second

your picture of what is perfect or what is idyllic and let me ask you this question what would you give to create that space or place and what we read in the new testament is that God gave incredible amounts to create this space and place that this community came at incredible cost it’s a longed for community this is back in deuteronomy 15 imagine yourself as a jewish person finally starting to engage with this acts community and know that this passage has been important for a long time if anyone is poor among your fellow israelites in any of the towns of the land the lord your God is giving you do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward them rather be open-handed and freely lend them whatever they need give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart then because of this the lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to this is a community that these jewish people have

been longing for and now it’s finally here we are seeing a longed for community a community that cost a great deal to create and a community that must now be treasured some philosophers have talked about how true beauty actually has an emotional quality to it it actually has a sadness to it because you see something beautiful and compelling and you know it can’t last forever there is the potential of losing it and we see this community that is beautiful and compelling and it has a sadness because what if this community becomes damaged or broken if you could create your idyllic community a second question is what would you do to save that space or place would any cost be too great to crit to save this incredible community that you have created in your mind and this is what we see with this early acts community I would suggest we see a community that is beautiful that is compelling but is also at risk could

also be lost in a moment because we are people we are broken even though we are transformed even though we are changing even though the message of Jesus is you have moved from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light that is true in the moment that you started following him there is still this constant transformation that takes place over years after years and so we are still people that are flawed and broken the times of london once asked a question of all their readers what is wrong in the world and gk chesterton the english writer and philosopher sent them a short note that just simply said this dear sirs I am gk chesterton that was all the notes said I am what is wrong with the world so when you see broken people engage with the community what does that look like and here we see two examples of what it looks like to engage with this community one person who does it well and

another couple that seem like they don’t joseph a levite from cyprus whom the apostles called barnabas which means son of encouragement sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles feet a first positive example is this man who experiences this community sells all his land and then comes and presents it and if you have a house you want to sell and want to give them money I have no arguments no objections whatsoever but don’t feel any pressure because it seems like this was unusual barnabas is driven by what the community needs and what he feels called to give he is driven by what the community needs and what he feels called to give it’s not just the need of the community it’s also how he engages with questions with God in questions and says what what is it that I’m called to share in this moment he is a transformed person who longs to enter into the community with no strings

attached it seems like for barnabas he is engaged with this second principle that Jesus teaches in prayer I talked about how Jesus on one hand recognizes that God is father on the other hand recognizes that he is hallowed the next part of the lord’s prayer will say this your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven there’s this engagement with God that says God I long for your kingdom but there’s a tension with that passage because you have a kingdom as well you have a kingdom now we may be uncomfortable with the language of kings especially in a country that has a reputation for overthrowing benevolent kings uh like george iii but the language is useful and important for us the truth is we could translate kingdom as something like circle of influence but it doesn’t quite give it the same ring there is something about the language of kingdom that recognizes that we have the potential to rule with some kind of

power over those around us now that is true if you’re an employer who has staff that is true if you’re a parent that has a family that is true over your friends you have a circle of influence you have a kingdom of your own and to pray your kingdom come your will be done is essentially to pray God dethrone me from my own kingdom you take this thing and you be the ruler of it the truth of kings is that can only be one in a certain place and a certain space what barnabas seems to be able to do is he seems to be able to go all in on this kingdom this community and acts to the extent that his own kingdom is now extinct or at least he is no longer the ruler of it barnabas is a positive example of what it is to take everything that we have the resources the connections the relationships the the property and say God I am no longer the ruler of this thing this is your thing this is surrendered and now we have ananias and I’ll talk about ananias

but really it’s ananias and sapphira they come to this as one thing now a man named ananias together with his wife sapphira also took a piece of property 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 is ananias generous with his money I guess to an extent is yes if anyone in our community came to me and said I sold a piece of property I sold a house here’s half of the money I would say wow that’s an incredible gift to give it seems like on the surface when you look at it to start with he doesn’t do anything wrong at this point he has some property he sold it and he gave a gift seems like that is to be celebrated it seems like the core of what is wrong with ananias is this he isn’t honest about it he isn’t honest about it and ultimately his kingdom is still his own he still gets to decide it seems like the undercurrent of this story is this ananias feels called to

give it all and yet he can’t he can’t let go he’s still got this hold on his possessions and the truth is his possessions still have a hold on him and now this is the hard part this is potentially the unfair part I would suggest that every single one of us are expected or called in following Jesus to take our possessions everything that we own all of our connections and hold them with an open hand I believe that’s what it is to say I am no longer king of my own kingdom but it can get unfair because you may get a different answer to anybody else as to what to do with your stuff you could be sat here considering buying a third home in the mountains so you can spend weekends there and God may say that’s a good thing do it you could be thinking about buying a new couch to replace one that’s 30 years old and God might say I have better use for that money there is a tension there that it isn’t always fair what it is to walk with Jesus and no

longer be king of our own kingdom is to take everything we own and say this is your decision and it is no longer mine it’s to let go it’s to say I’m no longer in charge of this ananias I would suggest is not all in on this kingdom and his own kingdom continues to thrive but there’s a problem with your own kingdom thriving right because this kingdom that Jesus presents is an eternal kingdom the kingdom you rule over is a temporary kingdom the kingdom I rule over is a temporary kingdom it lasts until that last breath and it seems like engaging with this community ananias continues to keep his own kingdom but it doesn’t last very long at all 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 you received for the land didn’t it belong to you before it was sold after it was sold wasn’t the money at your disposal what made you think of doing such

a thing you have not lied just to human beings but to God I would suggest ananias is driven by what the community sees and how much he can hold back he is an untransformed person who longs to keep his kingdom while receiving the adoration of Jesus kingdom it would be fine to say ananias for ananias to say I can’t go that far I’m going to keep some of it I can be generous to a point I feel I need to care for my family’s security I’m going to hold some of it back it seems like that would be fine but he longs long’s lungs for the community to do for him what it did for barnabas it long he longs to be celebrated by this community for his generosity but it isn’t real he wants to have his cake and eat it to use that same phrase when ananias heard this he fell down and died and great fear seized all who heard what had happened then some young men came forward and wrapped up his body and carried him out and buried him and that language

of buried him this is the only time in acts that this is used of a follower of Jesus in actual fact the new testament is very determined in celebrating the death of a follower of Jesus as a good thing it’s the same way that paul wrestles with you know what I’d really like to go and be with Jesus but it’s good for you guys that I stick around for a while at no point in acts is the death of a follower of Jesus seen as a sadness as a loss except at this point this is the only time that that language is used of someone who passes away who is following Jesus this is a loss this is brokenness and about three hours later his wife came in not knowing what had happened peter asked to tell me is this the price you and ananias got for the land yes she said that is the price peter said to her how could you conspire to test the spirit of the lord listen the feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door and they will carry you out also at this moment she

fell down at his feet and died then the young men came in and finding her dead carried out had carried her out and buried her beside a husband and great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events there’s so much symmetry here with the garden of eden there is a man and a woman and they deceived together they are in it together and now there is a new creation and a new thing that God is doing and there is a man and a woman and they become deceptive together and their story becomes broken there is this new community that needs protecting and what happens to that idyllic community that we looked at if this becomes its story if this is okay if this is now acceptable somewhere in this it seems that God is protecting and nurturing this little community that truly is an incredible community and that seems to be the justice of the story this is a story about the corporate and the community it’s not about the

individual it’s the community that what matters so here comes the difficult question what do we learn from this because it’s not just give more money or something like that there’s so much going on in this story about community what do we learn what do we take away and I think for me it’s a confession it’s a confession that looks like this I am ananias I in so many ways am ananias community costs me and at times I run from it community costs me and at times I run for it from it think about those five words that I gave you early that that we sketched out of some of the beauty of this community hospitality means I will welcome you in but at times I don’t want to solidarity means I will lift you up but at times I don’t want to do that mutuality means I need you and yet I want to believe I can do it or myself that I’m okay humility means I could be wrong and I don’t like to be wrong and generosity means I bring what I can and yet so

much of the time like ananias I long to collect my stuff and hold it near because I will be better for it community costs me because it costs me my kingdom that at times I am not very good at surrendering at times I feel like I’ve surrendered and at times I raise my flag again and declare myself king again and it seems to be part of who I am it seems to be this constant wrestling and constant battle I am ananias community costs me and I run from it and yet at the same time just like ananias community compels me because there is something incredible about this picture that is created that says to me even at the cost it comes at I want more of that thing that is magical and these people aren’t just different they’re better than me this is narnia and I long for it I long for that idyllic picture that we are given all the believers were one in heart and mind no one claimed that any of their possessions was their own but they shared everything

they had with great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the lord Jesus just the tension in that passage is incredible it is compelling but it comes at an incredible cost and it comes with some chaos I was once listening to a sermon from a church who simply took a load of buckets and put them out at the front of the church and then they said if you’ve got more than you need come and put money in it and if you’ve got less than you need come and take money out of it people wrote checks and put no name on them and people came and saw an amount they needed and wrote their own name in the payee column think about the chaos in that and yet this is essentially what this group of people did they shared everything they had with great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the lord Jesus and you wonder how much the great power they were able to do with this was connected to the type of

community they had become and God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that they there were no needy persons among them from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them and brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles feet and it was distributed to everyone who had need community comes at a cost but it is also compelling because it of what it offers us who are so often broken and needy people hospitality is the potential that I I with all my flaws all my faults I’m invited in anyway solidarity means that in the moments that I am weak there is someone there who will lift me up who will help me to walk mutuality means that I I I with all my limitations I am needed and that the community is less than it could be without me humility means that if you could be wronged as a possibility for once in my life I could be right and that seems something worth celebrating and generosity

means that yes the cost is I bring what I can but generosity means that I might be able to receive what I need this is this picture that this new testament community creates and it is wonderful it is idyllic but it comes at a cost my suggestion is this that we need to be people who choose to commit even when it costs and this isn’t me giving like the speech about you must commit to south it means that you and I need community somewhere wherever that is and my longing for you is that you find that community somewhere and in some place that works for you that gives you this thing because you need it and I need it some questions as I invite the worship team to come back some things that you may ponder I’m going to give you these five different words all ending in itty again um I liked the common ending here’s some questions and pick one take it home with you ponder it hospitality who will you invite in solidarity who

can you lift up mutuality how can you play a part humility how can you listen generosity what can you bring maybe as you pray the spirit will whisper to you that one of those things is the thing for you maybe there’s a brave and bold step to take that you haven’t taken before I don’t need to tell you what it is you need to be able to listen and I need to be able to listen we get to choose to commit even when it costs God as we worship as we ponder may you challenge us thank you for the picture of incredible christian community of what it looks like to follow Jesus well together to the extent that south looks like that we celebrate to the extent it doesn’t we long for it may we reach that longed for community that we see in this early church it may not look exactly like it but mate find those common heartbeats those common ways of being may we as individuals learn what it is to walk in the way of Jesus and the heart of Jesus but may we

recognize that we do that best in community however you want to speak would you speak as we sing together thank you that you are the God who is both holy and high but you come close and near amen