This sermon was presented to the 144th General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada at its meeting in Waterloo, Ontario, as part of the Monday morning worship on the first full day of the Assembly.
“Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and [one] soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions…”
As the psalmist would say, “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!”
But really! Do you think it was really like that in the early church?
Someone asks that every time we have a Bible study on Acts chapter 4, don’t they? Did they literally share everything they had with each other? Or is that just an idealized memory of what the early church was like?
It is difficult to imagine a group of people so dedicated to the wellbeing of the community that they give up everything they have for the good of each and every other person. But even if it was true back then, we are well aware that it hasn’t been true for a very, very long time.
The conflicts and divisions in the church got started almost right away, with disagreements about doctrine, conflicts … Read more »
1 John 1:1 – 2:2
“Unity: How Good It Is!”
Oh look and wonder, how good it is! Oh look and wonder, how good it is! How good it is when kindred live in harmony together, joyous and sweet as life God gives on Zion evermore. (Sung: Book of Praise, #93)
How good it is, indeed, when families get along with each other and enjoy spending time together in work, in leisure, and in rest. If you spent time with your family last weekend over Easter, you may be reflecting either on how wonderful it was to get together, or on how difficult it was because of conflicts, or tensions, or misunderstandings between family members.
How good it is, indeed, when church families enjoy coming together to worship, serve, and share fellowship together! Last Sunday after our Easter service, I couldn’t help but notice and celebrate the fact that many people hung around for quite a long time over coffee and conversation in the lower hall. Children were playing, adults were talking, almost everyone was smiling and laughing, and there were even pictures being taken to remember the day.
How good it would be if all Christians could come together in this … Read more »
1 John 1:1-2:2
The fourth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles provides us with an idyllic picture of the church at the beginning: “The whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul.” Now that’s unity! They were “of one heart and soul.” Of course, maybe that’s because there weren’t very many of them yet. They were just a small group of disciples who had a lot in common with each other and managed to keep the same perspective on most things.
Well, no. They weren’t that small a group. Even before the day of Pentecost when the Spirit was poured out on the gathered disciples, there were about a hundred of them waiting together in Jerusalem. And after that, the church grew in leaps and bounds!
And no, they weren’t all fishermen from Galilee. Remember the Jews from all the nations of the world who were in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Pentecost? And remember how they heard the disciples speaking in their own various languages? After Peter’s first sermon to the crowd, apparently 3000 believers were added to their number, and more and more every day after that!
By the fourth chapter of Acts, the … Read more »
The following sermon was preached by the Rev. Amanda Currie at St. Andrew’s for the World Day of Prayer worship service on Friday, March 6th, 2009. The service for the downtown churches of Saskatoon was hosted by St. Andrew’s and organized by Adela MacDonald and Helen Foss, in cooperation with women from seven neighbourhood churches. The liturgy was prepared and adapted by the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada.
Scripture: Romans 12:4-21; Exodus 2:1-10; Acts 4:32-35
The earliest Christian church, described in the book of Acts, sounds so wonderful, doesn’t it? “Those who believed were of one heart and soul…” Doesn’t that sound lovely when you think about the disagreements and conflicts in our churches today? “With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus…” Doesn’t that kind of preaching sound inspiring? “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned land or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.” Wow! Not a needy person among them — no one left out — because they all committed … Read more »