They Had All Things in Common

Acts 2:44 – And all who believed were together and had all things in common.

Acts 2 gives us an account of the beginnings of the church, God’s kingdom as prophesied for thousands of years. At the end of chapter 2, we see this new church gathering together, praying together and worshipping together. Then we see them freely and gladly sharing their possessions with one another.

They had “all things in common,” Luke wrote.

I want to consider this phrase and connect it to other things that are said in this context in Acts 2. They certainly had a mindset that all things they owned were to be shared with their brothers and sisters. But where did that mindset come from? What brought such an attitude in people that led them to freely and gladly share anything they had with the others?

Because they had all things in common! Let’s look at the context around that phrase to see that this new congregation shared more than possessions.

They Had All Things in Common.

  • They had in common their brokenness before God (Acts 2:36). Each one of them had crucified the Savior and Messiah. The sin, guilt and shame before a holy and just God was shared by each person.
  • They had a common need for a Savior (Acts 2:37). They all were cut to the heart. Each one of them recognized the need for salvation and turned to Jesus. Every person in this group knew that Jesus was the only way.
  • They had a common entry into the kingdom (Acts 2:38,41). Each one had gladly received the word, repented of his or her sins, and was baptized into Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of those sins. Young or old, rich or poor, male or female, they had all obeyed the same gospel.
  • They had a common practice (Acts 2:42). This new congregation of saved people “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Each person in this group had committed to doing it God’s way. He or she had also committed to be with those who were like-minded. They spent time together and prayed together. They sang together and took the Lord’s Supper together. As a group they committed to following the apostles’ teaching because it came straight from their Savior, Jesus Christ. An intimacy developed in this group, didn’t it?
  • They had a common attitude (Acts 2:46). Collectively, this group was glad and generous in their hearts. Each person stood in awe of the power of God as it was displayed through the miraculous working of the apostles (Acts 2:43). As a church their hearts were full of praise for God (Acts 2:47).

So, why did the church lovingly and willingly share possessions with each other? Because they shared the same heart. They truly had all things in common.

Living on Purpose–Unity

The best secular job I have had so far in my life was serving as an officer in the United States Air Force.  The clarity of mission and common purpose, everyone living the value of service before self, the camaraderie and closeness of the unit…there was a lot of great aspects of being an Airman. I say that, because as I think about living on purpose for God and being a Christian (part of a local congregation), I should find those same elements in my service and the same unity in service.

As Christians, we are brothers, sisters, and fellow workers for the Lord.

 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Peter 2:17; NKJV)

25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all…  (Philippians 2:25-26; NKJV)

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42; NKJV)

We are serving a Father and have an Elder Brother…we are a family with a clear and common purpose of service before self to one another to the glory of God.

15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15; NKJV)

As I think about this and I examine the state of my relationships with my brothers and sisters, the health of my local church, the emotional/spiritual well-being of my fellow soldiers, the clarity of purpose and our zeal for loving and saving souls…I need to be honest with myself and my God and consider what I am doing and the results I am getting.  It is my responsibility to be what God has called me to be in His family.  It is my responsibility to live on purpose for Him and live towards unity.  I can’t do that for others and what others are doing can’t be a distraction or an excuse for my not living the way God expects and doing the things He has commanded me.  God does not move and He will not forsake me.  Knowing that, I can be grounded in Him and allow myself to be filled with His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, patience in such a way that I will be full and able to pour that out on others.  Only God can fill me like that and expecting my brothers or sisters to do that will cost me and it will cost them and it will not unify.

God wants us to start with Him and be united with Him.  Starting there, we can afford to be vulnerable and to serve because no matter what others are doing or saying, we can be sure God is the same and expects the same and we can go to Him for strength and to be fulfilled and refreshed.  To say it another way, if we take confidence in God’s unwavering love and security for us, we can then live in such a way that we can invite others to come along us when they are ready. This takes away the threat for all parties and provides an environment for unity.  A way for us to become of one mind, able to receive each other, not be divided…to join ourselves together against the wiles of satan and to God’s glory.

5Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.  (Romans 15:5-7; NKJV)

 10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10; NKJV)