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32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.

 

Verses 32 to 37 show how the early church shared their possessions with one another due to persecution from the state. Sharing was another indication of their unity.

32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul;

“One heart and one soul” is an explicit statement of unity in the early church.

neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own,

Due to persecution in the early church, they shared their material property with each other. Their giving was strictly voluntary. Christianity views one’s possession as stewardship; we are stewards of what God has given us.  

but they had all things in common.

Church members donated their possessions for the benefit of everyone. Believers shared with one another in an unqualified sense.

PRINCIPLE:

Voluntary giving is the essence of biblical giving.

APPLICATION:

This verse does not support communism or any other political philosophy, but only the voluntary sacrifice for others by those who love Christ. Communism forces its philosophy on its citizens by its political structure. Christians gave their property freely to meet a particular need in a period of persecution. Communism is dialectical materialism; Christianity is a spiritual movement. Communion is socialistic whereas Christianity is a fellowship community. Also, giving to need in a time of duress was temporary and not intended to be established as a permanent principle. The church later abandoned the practice of this passage.

Early Christian believers’ primary concern was for others, not themselves. They sacrificed gratifying themselves for the welfare of others. Beyond that, and of much higher priority, was their concern for reaching the world with the gospel. These two dynamics were manifestations of their unity. 

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