Acts 4:32-37 | Great Grace Giving

Acts: Jesus Advances His Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Great grace giving was a bright characteristic of the early church. How should the grace of God influence the way the church gives today?


ACTS 4:32-37


We have seen Jesus miraculously uniting the church in such a way that is counter cultural to the structures and beliefs of their society and powers. Peter and John have been preaching the resurrection of Christ even to those who repeatedly warned them to stop. This led to disruption and opposition in how they were treated within their community.
On top of this, the poor and outcast of society are invited into the church, and pilgrims are likely remaining who came for Jewish Passover.
Naturally, this meant a portion of the church was experiencing financial hardships in ways they could not resolve themselves.
Widows and orphans
Maimed and sick
Those with business or employment effected
Travelers without means of income
We see the church caring for the needy within God’s kingdom to which they belonged. Jesus is forming the church into the people of God that Israel failed to be. Their voluntary giving was an outpouring of God’s grace on them, not obedience to a specified mandate.
No doubt, the measure of grace they were given may have partly been due to the amount of opposition they faced.
Still, their example of great grace giving becomes an amazing testimony for us today. Are we experiencing such grace from God? Is God’s grace moving us to such great giving?
When we give, do we give out of guilt, obligation, or grace?


If we will only see the grace God has given us, the lid would be removed for our joyful surrender and service to Jesus.
God’s underserved, unearned favor, when seen, teaches and moves us to give ourselves to Him.
The outworking of God in us enables us to love, serve, and give to Christ like we could never do out of guilt or obligation.
The church was experiencing great grace giving.

COMMON CAUSE (vs. 32a)

Acts 4:32 KJV
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

Universal Mission

Follow Christ. Make disciples. Practice ordinances. Preach Christ.

Unique Contexts

The story is told of two brothers who owned a farm and divided the income. One brother had a large family, while the other was single. One night the single farmer, knowing his brother was struggling to raise his family, bought a box of things for the family and set off for their house, planning to leave the box secretly. That same night the married farmer, knowing his single brother did not have the joys of a family, set out for his house with a box of homemade goodies to leave secretly. The brothers met each other on their errands and embraced in tears.

Today in the Word, January 15, 1997, p. 22

They had unique needs.
The church had unique needs within their context. It would change over time and as it spread to varying locations.
A church engaged in the universal mission will always have needs! People. Preaching. Properties. Programs.
Acts 1:1 KJV
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Even back then, it may have cost equivalent to a working man’s year wages to hire a scribe and publish a codex—folded papyrus sewn together with thin wood cover covers. Early Christianity actually helped bring this technology into practice. The NT writings were also cutting edge technology mediums!
Point being, there are always needs within the mission of the church—people, preaching, properties, programs.

Varying Contributions

Apostles preached
All gave
Some gave more as the Lord enabled
Yet others encouraged, served, organized, prayed, etc. as we will see.
All with grace.

GRACE GIVING (vs. 32b-34; 36-37)

Acts 4:32–34 KJV
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
Some of them sold extra properties they owned. They brought what they sold to the church.

Great Power in the Apostles’ Witness

Preaching Christ brings about the grace of God for the hearers.

Great Grace Upon & Through The Church

Great Giving Beyond Requirements of the Mosaic Law

New People of God—the Church

New Standard—Christ

Jesus gave everything.
Jesus calls His disciples to do the same.

New Motivation—the Spirit

10,000 Sermon Illustrations Three Levels of Giving

Three Levels of Giving

1. You have to (law)

2. You ought to (obligation)

3. You want to (grace)

Grace is our reason to give.
Jesus nailed the Law to the cross as He fulfilled it.
Jesus taught and exemplified a way to live greater than the Law.
As New Testaments saints, we do not have a NT law for the amount we are to give because God’s grace and Spirit move us to give more than we would ever give out of obedience to the Law.
Not just with money, but with everything, we belong to God. We own nothing.
God doesn’t just get 10%. He gets everything with great grace giving.
That said, God wants (and tells) us to steward our possessions for our needs. This church did not live in reckless abandon, and neither should we.
They surrendered everything. They gave sacrificially and of their surplus, and they met the current needs of the church.
This led to some giving not only sacrificially and their surplus possessions but also their time and occupation.

Great Surrender—From Giving to Service

Acts 4:36–37 KJV
And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
We will see Barnabas encouraging the church, newly converted Saul/Paul, and missions works. He leads the first missionary trip.


Acts 4:35 KJV
And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

Overseen by the Apostles

According to Necessities

Administered with Accountability

Wrong Motivations (Acts 5:1-11)

Undisciplined Reliance (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)

2 Thessalonians 3:6–15 KJV
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

Unmet Expectations (Acts 6:1-3)

Acts 6:1–3 KJV
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
Don’t expect perfect ministry—expect with change and growth
Need for grace
Need for administration


How does belonging to Christ and His eternal kingdom influence the way you manage temporal, earthly matters now?(Matthew 6:19-21; 1 Tim 6:17-19)

The church is an expression of God’s heavenly kingdom on earth. We do not merely long for eternity. We are living it now. May we trust God enough to be what He wants us to be—where what He wants us. For now, that is living a part of our eternity right here.
Matthew 6:19–21 KJV
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
1 Timothy 6:17–19 KJV
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

What are ways our church can faithfully invest grace giving into both the church’s universal mission and our contextual needs? Pray for wisdom as we plan and implement these matters.

How does the truth that all of us and our possessions belong to God shape the way you steward your life and possessions?

Young people

Answer for yourself, “Am I giving by grace?” Ask the Holy Spirit to give you grace to give.


Poverty is a reminder to all Christians of how we are before God and how God shares His graces with us. When people see themselves as full and seek the praise of men, they receive exactly that.
Luke 6:12-26
Our treatment of the poor ought to be patterned after God’s treatment toward us.
Dt 15:7-11
Pure religion visits and helps the poor.
James 1:27-2:9
Living faith works and helps our brothers and sisters in Christ.
James 2:14-17
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