Acts 4:32-37 Easter 5
Pastor Nathan Nass May 14, 2017
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his pos-sessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Deep and Wide
Four weeks ago was Easter Sunday. Our church was full. It was a great day! Do you remember what Pastor Degner’s Easter sermon theme was? That’s a dangerous thing for a pastor to ask, isn’t it? “Of course we don’t remember, it’s not Easter anymore!” That’s why I asked. Here was the theme: “Jesus’ Resurrection Changes Everything.” So did it? Easter’s long gone. Life goes on. We go from one season to another. Now it’s soccer season or grad-uation season or planting season. In life, we’re always moving on to the next thing. Easter’s not on our minds! But if “Jesus’ resurrection changes everything,” Jesus’ love is meant to impact every part of our lives.
Here’s the way the apostle Paul put it: “I pray that you … may have power … to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ … that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19). There’s a song about that. Have you heard it? “Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.” Paul was talking to people who were already Christians. But he still had an urgent prayer for them: “I want you to grasp how deep and wide Jesus’ love is, so that you can be full.” God wants you to be full—to be filled up right to the brim—with God’s love. To be so full of Christ that there’s nothing else you need.
Are you full? Full to brim with the peace and love of Christ? I don’t think we are. Here are some signs we don’t grasp how deep and wide Christ’s love is. Do you catch your-self daydreaming about doing something great so people finally notice you? Then you’re not full. Do you need to drink a beer every night to find some peace? You’re not full. Is your life a constant race from one activity to another, trying to find fulfillment? You’re not full. Is it hard for you to be content with what you have? Then you’re not full. This is why Paul prays for us to grasp how deep and wide Christ’s love is! We don’t grasp it by nature. We don’t get it! We try to find something else to fill us.
Today the early Christians show us what it looks like when Jesus’ love goes deep and wide into our lives. “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrec-tion of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.” Every day those disciples talked about Jesus’ resurrection. Every day! Was Easter just a season for them? No way! When they saw Jesus rise from the dead, everything changed. And people noticed. We’re told that “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordi-nary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). This change wasn’t superficial. The gospel had penetrated deep into their hearts. It filled them and gave them great power and courage.
Here’s how: In their worst moment, Jesus had still loved them and died for them. That’s love! They knew what guilt and sin feel like. And Jesus had taken them away. Then he rose again! He actually rose from the dead! “No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me!” They were full. Filled to the brim. It didn’t matter what they faced. They didn’t need everyone else’s approval. They had God’s approval! They didn’t need lots of money. They were filled with Jesus! They weren’t worried about dying. They were going to live with Jesus! That’s how deep Jesus’ love had filled their lives. They were so full of Christ that there was nothing else they needed.
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