My good friend Rod--a preacher in Alabama, my native land--will be one of four guest speakers for a "revival" meeting with the theme of "Kingdom People."
I encouraged him to use the Book of Acts (particularly chapter four) to illustrate what "kingdom people" looked like in the early Church. I am particularly struck by verses 32, 33, and 34. The phrase "great grace" is used only here in the entire New Testament. And that "great grace" isn't only describing the quantity of grace in the church, but the quality of grace as well.
Verses 32, and 34 are almost identical. Yet Acts 4:33 tells us about the "quality" of community and relationship and witness this group of people experienced. I do not, for one moment, believe that the writer of this epistle (Luke the Physician) would have just thrown in what we know as "verse 33" because he didn't have anything else to write about. I also do not believe that he would give us verse 34, simply because he needed to repeat himself.
We are told (in Acts 4:33) that great power was given to witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ...and "great grace was upon them all." What was this "witness" exactly?
I have some ideas.
Could it have been the great praying in the midst of the persecution that is mentioned earlier in Acts 4?
Could it have been the miraculous signs and wonders in Acts 2, 3, and now in 4?
Could it be the fact that these Christ-followers took the instructions of Jesus very seriously--namely the ones we find in John 13:30ff.
Particularly that one where Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another."
Great love...great witness...great grace.
The three do fit very well together, don't they?