Acts 4:31-37
Acts 4:31 (KJB)
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
When they had finished praying for boldness to preach and proclaim the Word in the face of opposition, the first time the place where they were shook was when the Holy Spirit indwelled them and they all began to speak in tongues. This time in answer to their prayer, the place where they were assembled was shaken but instead of them speaking in tongues, the Holy Spirit gave them boldness to proclaim the Word of God. It is a needful prayer to pray for boldness when proclaiming the Word of God because with so many false gospels and teachings out there today, the true Word of God must be proclaimed with boldness so they can strongly oppose the false teachings. This way people will not be snared into following a false Gospel which always places a person’s soul in peril.
Acts 4:32 (KJB)
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
Within the city of Jerusalem, a community of believers had formed and were one in spirit and unified in purpose behind the Lord Jesus Christ. This caused them to make available all their worldly possessions to any other believer who may had need of them. Their mindset was that no longer did material things mean what they did before and because of their joy in the Lord, material goods had become secondary in their lives. One of the great tenets of the Christian Faith is that of giving. These Christians had latched on to the reality that this world is not our final home and all material goods are just fleeting, as riches are. They knew that to give them in the service of the Lord was a greater joy than keeping them. That same joy has always been available to the true believer. God gave so much in giving us His Son that it is a true saying that no matter how much we give, “we can never out give the Lord.”
Acts 4:33 (KJB)
And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Their prayer was to receive boldness in proclaiming the Word of God but as we see in this verse, the great teaching which they focused on was the resurrection of Christ. This is what sets Christianity apart from world religions. The graves of the founders of world religions are still filled with their bodies but the tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ is empty. If the enemies of Christ wanted to discredit His resurrection, they would have located the tomb and showed everyone that the Lord was still there. If they do find this tomb, the person who will be in it will be Joseph of Arimathaea because it was his tomb Jesus borrowed. Ponder that for a moment, He “borrowed” the tomb. Many world religions such as New Age teach a spiritual resurrection. Christianity is the only one who guarantees a physical resurrection of all the true believers to be taken to Heaven and all the unbelievers to be taken to judgment. The reason why spiritual resurrection sounds so good is because there is no final judgment involved. This is why Christians need to proclaim the resurrection of Christ as a prime element of their ministries. Our verse states that “great grace” was on them all which means that the ministry of the Word was no longer limited to the Apostles but since they were the ones who were with the Lord the most, they would normally be the ones who spoke the most.
Acts 4:34 (KJB)
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,
These Christians had realized that their possessions did not really belong to them but to the Lord. They were just stewards of what they had. To begin to start funding the spread of the Gospel, they had sold land and houses, which were major possessions. They were not only selling little items and holding on to the big items but they had caught the reality of Christian giving. Generosity describes true Christian giving. Giving is a dynamic of the Christian walk. One need not have the gift of giving to be involved in giving and it goes way beyond the tithe. Tithing is not taught in the New Testament but generous giving is. Read 2 Corinthians chapters eight and nine. These early Christians had sold these lands and now were in possession of the money they received for them. Now comes another test. Sometimes a material possession may be easier to dispose of than cash in hand.
Acts 4:35 (KJB)
And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
In a symbolic gesture, the Christians had brought the money to the Apostles and laid it at their feet. They had showed a great respect for the Apostles by laying the money at their feet. When someone was at the foot of someone it showed a total subjection. (1 Ki 5:3 KJV) Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the LORD his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet. Then when the money was given, simultaneously it was being distributed to those who had need. Now this was according to their needs and not according to their wants. God was showing here that He supplies for the needs of His children. (Phil 4:19 KJV) But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. The Apostle Paul knew this well as he took up collections for the poorer churches including the one at Jerusalem.
Acts 4:36 (KJB)
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,
Here is the first mention of Barnabas who would become strategic in the life of the Apostle Paul. The names “Joses” comes from a Greek form of Joseph which was a common name among the Jews. It is not known whether the Apostles gave him his surname “son of consolation” at this time or previously owing to some kind of deed he may have performed. Since he was a Levite, he may have been serving in the Temple at this time and may have been familiar with the Apostles. He may also have been a follower of Jesus during His earthly ministry and may have shown a gentle spirit earning him that surname.
Acts 4:37 (KJB)
Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
Barnabas had seen the need of many of the Christians and he had done his part to help. He sold a parcel of land and brought the money and gave it to the Apostles so they can distribute it to those who had need. The amount of money was not the issue but the faithfulness in helping and not turning a deaf ear was the key. (1 John 3:17 KJV) But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? What a contrast of understanding between Barnabas and Ananias and Sapphira in the next chapter.