Radical Community | Summer Devotional 2022

You're never too far away from God to come back

Getting Started

Have you ever gotten super into something to the point where it affects your entire life? Like fantasy football, eating Keto, or that reality tv dating show you hate-watch with your friends? It’s to the point where everybody knows your obsession and you absolutely will be organizing your week or your budget around it. 

That’s the kind of passion and life re-orientation we’re talking about in Acts 4. And it makes sense because there is some WILD stuff that happens before our passage. We’re talking thousands of people becoming Jesus followers in one day, people getting healed, disciples getting thrown in prison then suddenly freed. Just like when we discover how amazing our new obsession is, the people in Jerusalem are going crazy for the power of God. It’s like nothing they’ve ever seen before!

Acts 4:31-37

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. 32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who 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.

Questions to Consider

  1. What happens to the believers to kick off this passage, sparking all of this radical stuff?

  2. What are all the results of them being filled with the Holy Spirit?

  3. How does this community display God’s Kingdom on earth?

  4. Imagine you were a wealthy Roman joining this group of people; what would you think or feel? What if you were a poor Jewish person joining the group?

  5. V. 32 explains the perspective of the Jesus followers that led to their actions. What’s one thing you can do to cultivate that kind of perspective and begin living this radical lifestyle this week?

Closing Reflection

This community of Kingdom people seems crazy. But it’s the kind of crazy that you look at and think, “Wow. That’s beautiful.” 

But I think we’ve gotta see three things to help us realize this crazy community isn’t beyond our ability. First of all, it all starts with their dedication to prayer leading to them being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God. He’s the third person of the trinity. He is the One doing all sorts of transformation in believers each day and the One through whom believers perform miracles. So it makes sense that this super radical generosity begins when they are filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Second, their perspective and their practice changed. As a result of their unity and selflessness, “there were no needy persons among them.” They recognized that everything belongs to God. If everything is God’s, then the money in your bank account is not your money. And the skills you have are not yours to do with as you please. Rather, it’s all gifts from God for you to bring His Kingdom to the world (and be personally blessed in the process!). 

Third, when they’ve got this radical community of love and generosity going, imagine how much better their preaching and evangelism are received. When Christians are judgemental, greedy, and worried about their own self-advancement, claiming God changes everything sounds pretty hollow. But when people see us loving others at our own expense, they’re probably willing to listen a little more!

So yeah, maybe their generosity seems radical. But Jesus was a radical guy. And He calls us to be, too. Let’s be honest– it’s not hard for us to get radical about our favorite team, diet, or Netflix show. And the steps it takes to become radical about God are actually easier than you’d think. 

So what’s that look like for you today? Is it grabbing a friend and taking a homeless person to lunch? Is it looking at your monthly income this summer and giving 1-5% of it to your Greek IV chapter for ministry outreach? However you try to make yourself a little more radically loving, God is going to bless that and make it worth it.

Do you want to listen to the podcast recording of this devotional? Available now anywhere you get your podcasts! Here is a link to the episode.

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