UNITED AS ONE
"While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God's word with fearless confidence.
"The whole congregation of believers was united as one -- one heart, one mind! They didn't even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, 'That's mine; you can't have it.' They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them." Acts 4:31-33 (The Message)
Talk about miracles! The healing miracles done by Jesus and even the apostles had nothing on what was happening on the inside of these people. Never in the history of mankind after Adam's fall had so large a group of people lived together in such unselfish harmony for so long as was happening here in Jerusalem. This had to be God.
People start an enterprise with good intentions. They determine their aim, set up their constitution, start with a flourish and things go well for a while. A few months or years down the line, however, things begin to fall apart. People have different ideas about how they want things done; leaders emerge with opposing ideas; a power struggle begins; before long self-will and self-interest erode good intentions and, without a harsh dictator kind of leadership, the enterprise flounders.
What made this group so different? The command centre of their lives was being manned by a power outside of themselves. The Holy Spirit in them was the unifying power. This was God's plan from the beginning. He made man in His image with the capacity to be one with Him and with each other.
Scientists who believe and propagate the theory of evolution try to persuade us lesser mortals that we evolved upward from animals. In the animal kingdom no creature lives in harmony with other creatures, even of their own species, by choice. What about a hive of bees or a colony of ants, you may ask? Yes, they may exhibit unity but not by choice. They were programmed by their Creator to function as a unit for their survival.
Not so among mammals, There is often a battle for the alpha position and the top dog wears his crown uneasily because there is another aspiring leader waiting in the wings to snatch it from him, often in a bloody battle.
We discern a different atmosphere among the people in the early church. They were not forced to comply by a harsh dictator. They lived together in harmony because two of the most crucial areas of their lives were submitted to Jesus - their wills and their bank accounts. Bring those two ambitions under the Lordship of Jesus and you have the whole person submitted to Him.
Isn't it true that the most destructive power in the human race is greed for power and money? Where the Holy Spirit is not in charge of a person's life, this is the motive that drives us. Jesus was the only human being who was free from greed. His life was a perfect mirror image of the Father, gracious, compassionate, generous and merciful. He showed us God who is a giver, not a getter.
Jesus gave us a fool proof test to discern what spirit is controlling a person - their fruit. In this case the fruit of God's work of transformation was the undeniable miracle of unity. Unity becomes a reality when people are submitted to Jesus and to one another out of reverence for Christ. Greed id replaced by the kind of generosity that touches our hearts and our pockets. Now that's real power!