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Author Topic: ALL THINGS COMMON....  (Read 3116 times)

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« on: April 27, 2011, 06:24:34 PM »

I received an interesting e-mail this week in which a man chides my teaching by stating that the early New Testament Church went from giving 10% to giving 100% of all they had.  He says that when "...three thousand people were saved they immediately gave EVERYTHING they had...100%."  (CAPS are his).  Here is his statement:

Subject:  Everything

"I agree with a couple things you said, that there are false teachers among us and you are one of them. Another thing I agree with, tithing is not in the new testament however we see in the book of acts as three thousand people were saved they immediately gave EVERYTHING they had. So it went from 10% to 100%, they owned nothing for themselves...."


Is his statement true?  Is it Scriptural?  Did three thousand converts immediately give everything they had...100% as this man states.  Should we all sell everything we own and give it to the Church?  Some have assumed that this is what the Scriptures teach, and this is what all the early Christians in Jerusalem did after Pentecost.

In Acts 2:45-67 we read this:  "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,  Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

So this we are told was they "daily" practice.  A little later in Acts 4:33-37 we read this:  "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,  And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.  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."

Are we then to assume that these Christian converts no longer had lands, houses, or possessions?  Were they now as destitute as the poor they were attempting to help?  Did they now need a hand-out from their own contributions?

Well, let's see if they "immediately gave EVERYTHING they had."
"And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ" (Acts 5:42).  Somebody still had "houses."
"And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea:  and we entered into the house of Phillip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him"   (Acts   21:8) 

"And when he had considered the thing he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying"  (Acts 12:12).

OOPS!  I guess someone failed to informed Phillip and Mary that they were supposed to sell all their land, houses, and possessions so that "...they owned nothing for themselves."   But no, instead we find these key figures in Christ's Church opening their homes and possessions to those in need, even including Paul and his company.

Jesus Christ taught:  "For I was hungry, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in:  Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me" (Matt. 25:35-36).

Ask yourself how you could do all these things if you had no home and had no possessions with which to comfort those in need?

But didn't God kill Ananias and Sopphiro for not selling all they had and giving  it to the Apostles?  Let's read it:

"But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a [ 'a'--one] possession,  And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it and brought a certain part, [no all] and laid it at the apostles' feet.  But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?  Whiles it remained, was it not your own? and after it was sold, was it not in your own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in your heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.  And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.  And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.  Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out" (Acts 5:1-9).
A couple of things to clarify what happened:  [1]  Before they sold this property, it was theirs and they were not obligated to sell it.  [2]  After they sold it, the proceeds were still theirs to do with as they pleased.  [3] Their sin was that they lied to God when they "...kept back part of the price."

Yes, those with extra houses and lands were expected to sell some of them and contribute to those poor and needy converts in Jerusalem, but it was not a requirement for their salvation.  Whatever they possessed was " their own power."

Notice that these new converts did not sell evil possession to contribute to the needy:  "And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds.  Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed" (Acts 19:18-20).

So don't sell your old porno videos to make a contribution--BURN THEM, and contribute rather from honest hard-earned money.

Here's Paul's admonition to serve the needy:

"Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.  Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another (Rom. 12:9-10)

"Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.  Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep" (Verses 13-15).

"Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shall heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Verses 20-21).

Here is what I asked my e-mailer:
"By the way, have YOU sold everything you own and given it to the poor and needy?  No?  Not yet?  If not now, when?  Didn't you tell me that  "... they immediately gave EVERYTHING they had?"


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