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At Home in My Church

Acts 4:32-37; The Acts of the Apostles, chap. 7, pp. 70, 71; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 10, pp. 26-30; Our Beliefs nos. 14, 12, 17.

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“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).

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Our church is a family of believers who take care of one another.

Do you like organizing things and people? It’s a gift to be able to do that. The disciples had their hands full after Pentecost, with people losing homes and jobs because of their faith. But they pulled together, and everyone had food, clothing, and a place to live. Try to picture the interactions within the fellowship of believers.

After Pentecost the number of believers continued to grow. Everyone was in awe of the miracles that the disciples performed. They listened eagerly to their teaching. They spent hours together praying, praising, and studying. Since they were together most of the day, they shared their meals in one another’s homes. Those who were able sold their possessions and gave to people in need. For a while even nonbelievers were excited about the changes made in their friends and family members. The believers were a loving group of people.

Yet, the priests, elders, and other religious leaders began to persecute the believers. Following Christ was becoming more diffi cult. The disciples decided it was time to do something.

“Peter, we’ve got a problem,” one of the disciples said when they met for their daily planning time. “Many of the new believers are being thrown out of their homes by their families, and they have no place to go.”

“That’s right,” John added. “Some of the men have lost their jobs. So they cannot provide for their families.”

“We have to find some way to help them,” Peter said.

“Why don’t we put out a general announcement?” Matthias suggested. “We can have everyone contribute what they can to help those who don’t have food, clothing, or a place to stay.”

“Will some of you organize this right away?” Peter asked. “We’ll need a list of what is turned in so we know what we have to distribute.”

In just a few days the disciples made contacts with other believers. They had plenty of things for people, but now they needed help distributing them. So they invited the believers to contribute to the distribution of the supplies. Within a short time the volunteers were ready to start working. Some were willing to help because they wanted to work in return for the food and shelter they would be given. Others helped because they loved God and His people.

Soon those who were struggling to provide for their families received from the followers of Christ what they needed: food, shelter, clothing. With these needs taken care of, the new believers were free to share the good news of the gospel with others.

Some of the believers had sold property and donated the money to the community of believers. Several others were also planning to contribute in the same way. One man, Barnabas, from another country, sold his land and journeyed to Jerusalem to give the money he received for it to the apostles.

“I now see why Jesus commanded us to care about our neighbors as much as we care about ourselves,” Matthew said.

The apostles and the other believers were happy and grateful for the outpouring of love. It made them want to love and serve God—and one another—even more. The description of the early Christian church recorded by Luke in the book of Acts serves as an example of authentic Christianity for us who live in the present age:

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:44-47).