Sermon Title: Why We’re Here: Sharing
Text: Acts 2:42-47 and 2 Corinthians 8:1-7 (ESV)
Brief summary (what’s the point of this text/sermon?)
We live in a world where many people—especially younger adults—are turning away from organized religion. They still believe in God, but for different reasons they no longer see the need to be a part of a church—a local, visible community of people who are following Jesus.
In this world, we in the church need to ask ourselves: Why are we here? Why should Christians be involved in a local church? Why did God put us here?
This was the second of four sermons in a series that discusses those questions. We’re using the four things to which the early Christians had “devoted themselves”: “the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). On the first Sunday we looked at “the apostles’ teaching,” and this past Sunday we considered the second: “the fellowship.”
The basic meaning of the word translated “fellowship” is “association, communion, fellowship, close relationship.” It often refers to the sharing of possessions or money with people in need, and the context suggests that it refers to that idea here. The early Christians shared what they had with one another. We also notice that Paul uses this same word in 2 Corinthians 8-9 to discuss the need for churches to send financial relief to struggling churches.
Here’s the most important point we observed Sunday: a fundamental change that Christians embrace when they decide to follow Jesus is that because they know God has poured out his grace on them, they pour out blessings on the people around them. God has given everything to us, so we freely share with others.
How do I live out the implications of this passage? (Discussion starters to help with applying the sermon to our lives)
- The early Christians obviously shared a lot with each other (cf. Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37). Should we follow their example, or does it only apply to the special circumstances that the early church was in? Why?
- Thinking about 2 Corinthians 8:1-7: What’s the background? What relief effort is Paul organizing? The church is Corinth was predominantly Gentile, while the churches of Judea were Jewish—how is that relevant?
- Do we in the church talk about giving too much or not enough? Why? Sometimes American megachurches receive bad press because they overemphasize money and engage in extravagant spending on themselves. . . . how do we emphasize biblical stewardship without becoming unbalanced?
- What should be Christians’ primary motivation to give/share? (Hint: what word is repeated in 2 Corinthians 8-9 where Paul is emphasizing giving?)
- How does sharing financial resources by every Christian relate to Christian maturity? How does giving help us grow closer to Christ and to one another?
- Giving is almost always a touchy subject in our culture. Why? Should it be? Does the New Testament teach that money will turn people’s hearts away from God? If that’s true, why do we shun discussions about it?