GOSPEL UNITY

Scripture Reading:  Acts 4:32-37

“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.  And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.”  (Acts 4:32,33)

What impresses me most about the early church is the unity that was evident upon all the believers:  “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul” (v. 32a).  By this time there were over five thousand believers and all of them were united in heart and soul.  Their love for Jesus and their faith in His atoning work bound them together.  We were told earlier that “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).  They were serious about their faith and they were committed to grow together in it.

At the core of the apostles’ teaching was the resurrection of Jesus from the dead:  “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all” (v. 33).  The power of the resurrection ignited their hearts and souls and bound these believers together in unity.  As a result, they experienced an outpouring of the grace of God upon them.

The unity in the early church manifested itself in a tangible way:  “No one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common” (v. 32b).  They freely shared their resources with one another as any had need.  I am certain that these early believers understood that everything they had belonged to God and was to be used for His glory.  Thus they generously shared their belongings with one another.

Jesus prayed for unity among believers in His High Priestly Prayer (John 17):  “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may be one, just as You, Father are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20,21).  One reason the early church grew so rapidly was because of the love that these believers had for one another.

Lord Jesus, I pray for unity among believers today.  It seems that there are so many division and conflicts that exist between Christians.  I pray for my own local church that we will be united in heart and soul.  And I pray for the church across the world that we would see a renewal movement that produces growth and unity.

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