The Early Church was different. The church, that is the people who believed in Jesus, lived a radically different lifestyle from the people around them. Instead of being self-opinionated and proudly independent they behaved like brothers and sisters should – loving each other, having the same values and caring for one another (Acts 2:44-45). The key to their relationship was that they were so grateful for what God had given to them that they were glad to share everything.
Whatever they possessed was available to the other believers. Although they were in different families, they behaved towards each other as though they were in the same family. And they were. They all believed in Jesus and had received Him into their hearts; so they were all children of God and therefore they were a real family together (John 1:12). The Holy Spirit had filled them with God's love and the power to share what they had received without grudging.
That was a demonstration of God's grace. He had shared Himself with them, through His Word, through Jesus coming to earth among them, and through the Holy Spirit filling them with the life of Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9) - so they shared themselves, and whatever they had, with each other. The apostles continued to share the gospel message and, despite official threats (Acts 4:17), refused to be silent about Jesus and the resurrection (Luke 24:48). God's grace was at work.
Grace is a word which describes the way God works; He gives freely to people who can never repay Him, and do not deserve any favour from Him. He does so because He loves them, stoops down to rescue them and provides all they need so that they might have the power to work with Him to grow His family and help rescue others. Grace is the joy and pleasure of a loving Father who does good to His children, and through it to forge a bond of love which benefits the whole family. Grace received enables grace to be shared (1 Corinthians 15:10). Ask the Lord to fill you again with His Spirit to appreciate all He is giving you, so that you can share with those around you (2 Corinthians 9:8): and also ask Him for the ability to explain that it is all because of what Jesus has done for you (1 Peter 3:15).
© Dr Paul Adams