The verse that I want to focus on, in this passage that we just read, Acts chapter 4 verse 32, where the bible reads, "In the multitude of them that believed, were of one heart and of one soul. Neither said any of them that aught which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common." Go if you would, back to chapter 2 of Acts and I want to preach a sermon tonight entitled, Common-ism versus Communism. Common-ism versus Communism.
When people look at this passage in Acts chapter 2 and the passage in Acts chapter 4, they'll often construe this that, the bible is teaching communism. In fact, communist movements throughout history have cited the Bible and communist thinkers have tried to twist God's word, to try to prop up their wicked ideology. Even today, there are people that would miss use Acts chapter 2 and Acts chapter 4 into a teaching that, in the church, we should basically just be subsidizing everybody and paying for people who don't work and don't make enough money. We should all equalize the rich and give all their money to the poor and all that.
I just want to look at this from scripture. Let's just honestly look at the scripture and see what it teaches. There is a difference between common-ism, and I'm just kind of making up that word common-ism, but a difference between this story where they had all things common and the idea of communism that says, "Hey. It's wrong for one person to have more than somebody else. The haves and the have nots. The class struggle and we should all have the same amount. We should all be equalized." That is not Biblical.
Look at Acts chapter 2 verse 41. It says, "Then they that gladly received his word, were baptized. In the same day they were added unto them about 3,000 souls. They continued steadfastly in the Apostle's doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread and in prayers. Fear came upon every soul and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. All that believe were together and had all things common. Sold their possessions and goods and parted them to all men, as every man had need. They, continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people and the Lord added to the church daily, such as should be saved."
The first thing I want to point out is that when we are deciding what we believe. When we're developing our doctrine from the Bible, we should always base our doctrine and what we believe on statements from the Bible, not stories from the Bible. There are a lot of stories in the Bible about what people did and then there are a lot of statements in the Bible, where God is commanding us to do something, or God is commanding us not to do something. Here we see a story about people selling everything they have. Having all things common. Giving away their stuff to other people. This is not a command to give away what you have, to the church, and that we'll all have things common and that we will abolish private property in the church. There is no command that says, "Abolish private property in the local church." There's a story where people did get rid of their stuff and sell it and give it away, but it's not a command that says, "Do away with private property, in the church."
That brings me to my first point of the difference between common-ism and communism is, that it's voluntary. This was voluntary, what took place. Now communism is not voluntary. Communism is confiscating that which belongs to someone and then distributing it to someone else. Where it's mandatory. I am going to prove to you that this was voluntary. Go to Acts chapter 4 verse 31. In Acts chapter 4:31 it says, "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 and the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of soul. Neither said any of them, that out of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common." Look, because someone is saying, "Hey I don't even care if this is my stuff. I'm willing to just give it all away." That's not a command saying, "That's how you must live your life. You must have no private property." Just because it's telling a story about someone who did that.
Lets keep reading. It says, "With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and great grace was upon them all. 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 and laid them down at the apostles feet and distribution was made out of every man according as he had need. Joseph, who by the apostles was sir name Barnabas, which is being interpreted the son of consolation, a Levite and of the country of Cyrus, having land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles feet." Look at chapter 5 verse 1. It says, "A certain man named Ananias, with Sipphira, his wife, sold a possession and kept back part of the price. His wife, also being privy to it and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles feet, but Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost and to keep back part of the price of the land?""
Let me just explain, real quick, what's going on here. People are bringing huge amounts of money to the apostles. They're just making huge offerings. They own houses. They own lands. They're so excited about the early church and the growth and the people that are being saved and all the miracles that the apostles are doing. They're just going out and selling houses and lands and just bing the money and just laying it at the apostles feet. People are really amazed by that and really impressed by that. This guy, Ananias, he wants to get some of that glory. He goes out and he sells a piece of land and he lies and he brings it and says that it's the whole part of the land, but really it's only a part of the price. He keeps some of the money, but he lays it down as if it's the whole price of the land because he wants to be seen of men. He wants to get that glory of giving. When in reality, he's only giving part of it.
Peter, obviously God has revealed this to him because Peter is a prophet and he has this supernaturally revealed to him, he calls him on the carpet and says, "Why has Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost and to keep back part of the price of the land?" Look at verse 4. Here's the key, "While there remained, was it not thine own? After it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." What's he saying? "It's your money. It's your stuff. It's your land. You didn't have to bring it and give it, but why are you lying about it? You're lying, not only to man, but you're lying to the Holy Ghost. You're bringing this down here as if it's the whole part of the price, when really it's not."
His wife continues in the lie, if you keep reading it says, "Ananias," verse 5, "Hearing these words, fell down and gave up the ghost and great fear came on all them that heard these things. The young men arose, wound him up and carried him out and buried him. It was about the space of 3 hours after when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in." You say, "Why did his wife come 3 hours later?" It took her that long to get ready, you know? It takes women longer to get ready for church than it does men. Anyway, it says in verse 8, "Peter answered unto her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" She said, "Yay. For so much." Then Peter said unto her, "How is it that you've agreed together to tempt the spirit of the Lord? Behold the feet of them which have buried thine husband, are at the door and shall carry thee out." Then fell, she down straight way at his feet and yielded up the ghost and the young men came in and found her dead and carrying her forth buried her, by her husband. A great fear came upon all the church and upon as many as heard these things."
We see here that the sin here was lying. It wasn't that, "You were not giving enough money. You need to be giving more money. You need to give all your money." No. The sin was that they lied about it. They're bringing it and saying, "Yes. We did sell the land for x amount." Really, they're just doing it for the glory. This made God so angry, that he actually killed them both. That someone would want to just get the glory of saying, "Look at me. I'm giving all this money." Just lie about it. That's why these people were killed. Let's keep reading. I know this is a lot of reading, but we need to get the background of the story, so we can understand what the Bible is teaching here.
It says, in verse 12, " By the hands of the apostles, were many signs and wonders wrought among the people and they were all with one accord on Solomon's porch and of the rest [dirst 00:08:49] man ..." [dirst 00:08:50] means dared. They did not dare. Says, "Of the rest [dirst 00:08:53] no man, join himself to them, but the people magnified them. Believers were the more added [inaudible 00:08:59]. Multitudes. Both of men and women. In so much, that they brought forth the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and couches that at the least, the shadow of Peter passing by, might overshadow some of them. There came, also, a multitude out of the cities round a bout, unto Jerusalem bringing sick folks and them which were vexed with unclean spirits and they were healed, every one. Then the high priest rose up and all that were with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees, and were filled with indignation and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison."
First of all, we said number 1, that this common-ism or having all things common, was voluntary. It was not forced. It was not something that was mandatory, where the church was demanding, "Hey. You bring everything you own. You give up all your private property. You empty your bank account and you bring it down to the church." It wasn't a mandatory, forced thing. He's saying, "Look, the money was in your own power. Do what you want with it, but don't come down here and lie about it," and he falls over dead. Okay. Number 1. It was voluntary, not forced. They did it gladly. They did it joyfully. Number 2. It was temporary, not permanent. This period, in the history of the early church, was a special time period. This is not just how it was for years and years and decades and decades. You see, you have to put yourself in the position of these people. Jesus Christ has just been crucified. He was buried. He rose again from the dead and now they're preaching the Gospel and they're getting a whole bunch of people saved. Thousands of people saved.
The Bible's real clear, day in and day out, these people are out preaching the Gospel. I mean, the Bible is saying, "Daily in the temple and in every house. They cease not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." They're breaking bread from house to house, daily. They're assembling, daily. Okay, people are being thrown into prison. People are being persecuted. I mean, Jesus was just killed and they're followers of Jesus, the man who was just executed for what he believed. Of course, he rose again from the dead, but the Jews didn't believe that. They lied and said that his disciples stole him away by night while the Roman guards slept. Basically they're in a period of just intense growth. Intense soul winning. Of just miracles being preformed by the apostles. I mean, just the shadow of Peter is falling on people and they're being healed. People are being thrown in prison. People are being saved. It's exciting. A lot of people are just throwing everything that they have, into this thing. They're not working their secular job. I mean they're just soul winning. They're just spreading the Gospel. It's brand new. Okay?
When you look at the statement, "Hey. They had all things common. They sold their possessions and parted of their goods as every man had need." We have to understand that, that has to be put in the context of this story and of this situation. Not just taken as a principle for all situations. Just, "Hey. We should always have all things common. We should always get rid of private property. We should always give everything away." For example, in Proverbs 1 the Bible warns us about people who say, "Cast in thy all among us, let us all have one purse." There's a negative mention of that. What I'm saying is, this has to be interpreted in the context of this particular story and what was going on at that time. The reason that I say that is because, if we study other parts of the new testament, you're going to find a different teaching of how we should be handling this, when it comes to people's needs.
Remember, the Bible says in Acts chapter 1, "At this time, there was an upper room where abode both Peter, James and John and Andrew. Phillip and Thomas. Matthew and Bartholomew. James, the son of [Altheus 00:12:55] and Simon [Zelodes 00:12:56] and Judas, the brother of James." They're all living together in an upper room. You think they lived that way their whole life? Peter was married and had children. In fact, all of the apostles, the Bible tells us later, were married and had children. They weren't all just living in that upper room for the rest of their lives with all their families. No. This is a temporary thing where they're establishing the early church. All those men that are the disciples, they're all joined together. They're all living there. They're not working their jobs. They're basically just getting the thing off the ground and they had needs, financially, in order to do that in that early church and so people are selling their stuff and basically making sure that everybody gets taken care of, which leads me to my third point.
Number 1. I said this common-ism versus communism, it was voluntary, not forced. Number 2. It was temporary, not permanent. This isn't just a teaching of the Bible that says, "Hey, always live this way. Always live communally. Always have all things common. Always have no private property." Number 3. It was for workers, not derelics. It was for workers, not lazy, deadbeat derelics. These people that are being cared for, in the early church, these men who were having goods parted unto them, as they had need, were men who were working for the Lord. They were out soul winning. Didn't it say that they were all filled with the Holy Ghost? They're all out preaching the Gospel. They're all out breaking bread from house to house and teaching the Gospel and preaching. They're doing work. Basically all these workers, in the early church, 120 early church workers that are all gathered together and they're just doing a ton of preaching. A ton of soul winning. A ton of works for God. People are selling lands and properties, so that their needs can be met because they're working hard for the kingdom of God. Not because they're just sitting around saying, "I'm lazy. I have needs. Meet my needs."
Is that what you see in this story? In Acts chapter 2 and Acts chapter 4 and Acts chapter 5? Do you see a bunch of deadbeat derelicts sitting around saying, "Hey, pay my bills. Provide my needs. It's not fair that he has more money than me. It's not fair that he has nicer things than me. I want to be paid and I want to be taken care of so that I can be lazy." Look, that's what communism is. The last words of the communist manifesto, are workers of the world unite. You know what it ought to be? Derelicts of the world unite. Lazy people of the world unite. Communism is a lazy man's philosophy. I was telling you on Wednesday, I was reading that biography of [Mal Seton 00:15:43]. He was a lazy little punk his whole childhood. His dad, at age 14 was yelling at him and cursing at him for being so lazy and not wanting to work. Here he grows up to be this wonderful mass murderer of communism of the 20th century.
Just look at a list of all the communist countries. All the counties that have espoused this doctrine of communism, this philosophy of communism. China, Soviet Union, Vietnam, Cuba, they always involved just mass murder. They always involved anti christian government policies. Let me tell you something. People today, that like the sound of communism and they like the communist manifesto and they like this socialist type of utopia, it's because they don't want to work hard. They want a free ride and that's where this doctrine comes from. We see in the Bible that this having all things common, was for workers, not derelicts. I don't see a single derelict in Acts chapter 2 or Acts chapter 4 or Acts chapter 5. Now go to Acts chapter 6. I don't see a single deadbeat in any of these passages. I don't see a single lazy man that's being paid to do nothing. I don't see anybody sitting on their back side, in Acts 2, Acts 4, or Acts 5 saying, "My name's Jimmy. I'll take all you gimmy."
You know what I see? A bunch of people that are working hard, preaching the Gospel everyday. Knocking doors everyday. They're just miracles and just everything is happening at an accelerated rate because they're getting it off the ground of the early church. That's what we see in this story. Lets not misconstrue this, folks, into some kind of a socialistic utopia. It's just not there. There's a big difference between the Bible's common-ism and communism. It was voluntary. They did it gladly. They did it joyfully. They said, "Man, we'd love to bring our goods and lay them at the apostles feet." Why? Because they believed in where that money was going. They knew that if they brought that money and they brought those goods, they said, "Hey. This is going to go toward people getting saved. This is going to go toward the church thriving and growing and prospering. Hey, this is going to go to support the families of these apostles that are getting thrown in prison all the time. We can take care of people that have needs because they're being persecuted." That's part of why they had need, because they were being persecuted.
Part of the reason they had need was because they're just soul winning all day, everyday. I mean, they're just going nuts with it. That's where it was going to. Not derelicts. Look who else the money was going to. Says in Acts 6 verse 1, "In those days when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there rose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the 12 called the multitude of the disciples unto them and said, "It is not reason that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Wherefore brethren, look you out among you, 7 men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business, but we will give ourselves continuously to prayer and to the ministry of the word."" Another group that collection was being made for, and that monies were being distributed unto, were widows, right? Widows, okay? Now you say, "Well what does that mean?" If you would, go to 1 Timothy chapter 5. 1 Timothy chapter 5 goes into a really long section describing the teaching on widows.
Again, we need to make sure that we base what we believe on the statement, not the story. A lot of false doctrine comes from going with the story and ignoring the statement. For example, you go with a story about a guy that has more than one wife, Jacob. "See, polygamy is fine." You're going against the statement that says, "They too, shall be one flesh." You go with the story of Jesus turning the water into wine against the statement that says, "Look not upon the wine, when it is red." You have to use the statement to interpret the story. If we use the statement, we will say, "Hey, Jesus was not creating an alcoholic beverage. He was creating a fruit juice beverage, but it was not an alcoholic beverage." We can use the statement always to interpret the story. When we interpret the story about Jacob, we see that he was in sin by having multiply wives. The Bible teaches that we should have one wife.
We always go with the statement and let it interpret the story. Don't take the story and just run with the story. That's where a lot of false doctrine comes from. Everything we believe, should be based on a clear statement. Here is a clear statement in the Bible. In 1 Timothy 5. It says, in verse 3, "Honor widows, that are widows indeed." Now when the Bible uses the word, honor, it's not just talking about respect. Often it is talking about financially. The word, honor, has that connotation to it. Just like when it talks about taking care of your parents in old age, it says that that's encompassed under the commandment, "Honor thy father and mother."
It says here, "Honor widows that are widows indeed, but if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first, to show piety at home and to requite their parents, for that is good and acceptable before God. Now she that is a widow indeed and desolate, trusteth in God and continueth in supplications and prayers, night and day. She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. These things given charge, that they may be blameless, but if any provide, not for his own and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." This goes on. We're only just getting into the beginning of the teaching on widows, but what we see here, right away is that this widow is not a derelict or a deadbeat, is she? No. The Bible says that this widow is one who continues in supplications and prayers, night and day. This is a Godly woman, who is a widow indeed. What is a widow indeed? The Bible explains it.
Look at verse 9. "Let not a widow be taken into the number under 3 score years old, having been the wife of one man." What is a woman indeed, according to scripture? It is one who is above 60 years old. Is the Bible just saying, "Let the church give money unto all widows? In fact, let the church give money to everybody. Just give money to everybody." "Part unto all men." That's what Acts 2, 4 and 5 said. Yeah, in the story that you misunderstood. In the statement here, he's saying "No. You don't give money unto the widows unless they are above 60 years old." You say, "Well what's going on with 60 years old?" Let's keep reading it. Verse 10. It also says, "Having been the wife of one man." This isn't one that was married to one and then divorced and married to another. No. One that was married to one man.
It says, in verse 10, "Well reported of, for good works." Is this a derelict? Is this a deadbeat woman? No. This is one that was a woman who was reported of for good works. If she had brought up children. If she had lodged strangers. If she had washed the saints feet. If she had relieved the afflicted. If she had diligently followed every good work. 2 times in this scripture the word work is used, in verse 10. Do you see that at the beginning and the end of verse 10? Why? Because the Bible does not teach that people should just be given money because they're not working. People who aren't working, just give them money. That's not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that people should be given money, only if they work for it. That's why we see, in Acts chapter 2, 4 and 5, people are working hard, serving God. They're needs are being met. Widows here, who have done good works for God, when they're over 60 years old, their needs are met.
It says in verse 11, "The younger widows refuse, for when they have begun to wax, wanted against Christ, they will marry. Having damnation because they have cast off their first faith and with all they learned to be idle. Wondering about, from house to house and not only idle, but tattlers and busy bodies, speaking things which they ought not." I've already preached on those verses, many times. Verse 14, "I will therefore that the younger women ..." Younger than what? Younger than 60. "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give on occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully, for some are already turned aside, after Satan. If any many or woman that believeth have widows, let them relive them and let not the church be charged, that it may relieve them that are widows indeed. Let the elders that rule well, be counted worthy of double honor. Especially they who ..." What? "Labor in the word and doctrine. For the scriptures sayeth, though shalt not muzzle the ox that try to [thout 00:24:30] the corn and the laborer is worthy of his reward."
When you read this passage, there is no mention of just free money going. Just "Free money for everybody. Just free money. Free money. Give out money." No. It's for people who are Godly workers. Always. Whether it's Acts 2, Acts 4, Acts 5, Acts 6, 1 Timothy 5, and when we look at this passage, God's plan to care for the younger widows, meaning under 60 years old, is that they marry a man to support them. Say, "Oh well you can't tell them what to do." That's fine, but the church isn't going to support them. The Bible says, "If a woman under 60 years old, if her husband dies, she needs to get remarried. That's her meal ticket. That's where she's going to be provided for." Also, God's plan for widows to be provided for is that their children and nephews take care of them. What the Bible is saying is that some widows do not have children or nephews to take care of them. Also, they might be over 60 years old at that point, God's not expecting them to get remarried. He says, at that point the church can sustain them and provide for them and take care of them.
I've heard people say this, I've heard people say, "Well you know, single mothers are the new widow." I've hear this. they say, "Back then they had a problem with widows, but we've got to bring the scripture up to date. To today, in 2014. Today it's single mothers. Single mothers are the new widows and the church needs to be helping single mothers. The church needs to provide for single mothers and take care of them and what are you doing to provide for these single mothers and help these single mothers?" You know what these single mothers need to do? Quit being a whore. Okay? Quit being a whore. You know what? That's what the Bible says. Take it up with God if you don't like it. If you're going to open your feet to everyone that passes by, as it says in Ezekiel, chapter 16. If you're going to play the whore on the highways and hedges and you're going to go out and have sex outside of marriage, then you know what? You might find yourself in a bad situation, financially and that is not something that the church is intended to step in and fix for you. Not Biblical.
Go to 2 Thessalonians chapter 3. 2 Thessalonians chapter 3. You say, "Well you're being unkind." You know what? I get people calling our church constantly asking for money. Almost on a daily basis. Someone calls our church and asks for money and, "I'm a single mom. I'm a single mom. I'm a single mom." Why are you a single mom? Are you a widow? "No." You're a single mom because you went out and played the harlot, as the Bible says. You went out and played the whore. You say, "I didn't get paid." The Bible says, "If you go out and sleep around without getting paid ..." He said, "You're worse than a whore because at least a whore gets paid." That's what it says in Ezekiel 16. He says, "You're giving them money. They're not paying you, you're paying them. That's how bad you are." People are just "Whoa." They're blown away by this kind of preaching. You know what? This is what our society used to believe in, when we were Christian. When the Bible was our authority.
It didn't used to be just considered normal for girls to go around dressed like [hoochy 00:27:50] mamas and hookers and whores and to around in short shorts and short skirts and flaunt their bodies and be with one guy, after another, after another, after another and that's just junior high. That's just high school. Then they get into college and they sleep with this guy and they sleep with this guy and then they sleep with this guy and then they sleep with this guy. Then they have all these kids, from all these different men and it's like, "Why won't you support me, I need help. Pay for me." No. You say, "Well we need that safety net." Oh okay. Have you ever noticed that people do things that are more dangerous when they have a safety net there? There are a lot of things that I would try with a safety net, that I wouldn't try without a safety net.
If you were to put a cable between this building and the next building and say, "Hey, let's walk across this cable. Let's walk across this tight rope." I'd do it with a safety net. I wouldn't do it without a safety net. You know what the safety net does? It just emboldens people to live a wicket life and to just take their chances and just live however. See, without that safety net you know what you'd say? "Man I better be careful not to get pregnant because I'm going to have no options at that point." Not just, "Oh well if I get pregnant there's all these government programs and churches and everybody's going to help me." No. It used to be, you go out and get pregnant, you're shunned. You're basically rejected of people because you've done something that's wicked. Okay. Today there's this safety net and everything is just okay and "Hey let's just forgive." Hey, I'm all for forgiving, but you know what? I'm not going to pull out my money and pay for somebody to be a whore.
Who here works hard for your money? You want to just pull out your money and just give it to derelicts, drug addicts, whores, just "Here you go. Just go ahead and live a wicked life and I'll pay for it." The Bible doesn't teach that anywhere, my friend. Look what the Bible says in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3 verse 6. It says, "Now we command you brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walk disorderly and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us. For we behave not ourselves disorderly among you. Neither did we eat any man's bread for not, but wrought with labor and travel night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you. Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an example unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."
You've got to let that sink in. "If anyone will not work, neither should he eat." If there's a person who isn't willing to go to work and pay their bills, that person should not ... God is literally saying, "Let that man die of starvation." Is that not what he's saying? "Let him die." Listen, if you don't eat, you die. He says, "If anyone will not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all but are busy bodies. Now them that are such, we command and exhort, by our Lord Jesus Christ that with quietness they work and eat their own bread."
Let me explain something to you. There is no man. There is no man in the United States of America, in 2014, that isn't able bodied man that can say, "Hey I need to be subsidized by the church or by the government." We live in the land of opportunity. There are jobs out there. You can go be a day laborer. You can get a job. You can work. There are places where you can go to make the money that you need to feed yourself. If you're an able bodied man. The only people that would need help from the church, would basically be people that are handicapped. Right? If they had a physical disability, if somebody's blind or deaf or maimed, they might not be able to go out and work, can they? If they're like that. Let's say someone who's very elderly. Might not be able to go out and work, right? A widow woman that's above 60 years old, is not expected to go out and work, if that's her situation. She should be cared for by the church.
For an able bodied man to sit there and say, "Hey, the church should be giving me money. The church should be subsidizing me because other people in the church have money and I don't and I need to be provided for and taken care of." That is not what the Bible teaches. Let me tell you something. Men today, who are not able to pay for their bills and pay for themselves, it's because they're lazy. I don't despise the poor, my friend. You know what? There's a difference between being poor and being lazy. There are a lot of people who are lazy. Let me just define laziness for you. You say, "I'm willing to go to work 20 hours a week." No. You go to work ... Most people in America work 40 hours a week, right? Let me tell you something. Don't tell me that you're doing everything that you can and that you're working hard and you're not getting ahead and you're doing everything you can, until you're working 72 hours a week.
You say, "Where did you arrive at that number?" That is a Biblical number. We look at the Bible, we see that it says, "6 days shalt thou labor" and it does talk about people working 12 hour days. I'm not saying that everybody has to go out and work 72 hours a week. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that it will not hurt you or kill you to go out and work 72 hours a week. If you go out and work 72 hours a week, you'll be able to provide your needs. You know what we see is 2 problems. We see number 1, people who want to go out and work less than that. They want to just work a minimum of hours and then also we see people who don't want to work jobs that are hard. They only want to work easy jobs. Here's the thing about some easy jobs, they don't pay much. Then here's the thing about hard jobs, often they pay a lot.
There are some hard jobs that pay little, I get that, but you know what? A lot of times, to make more money, you've got to work harder. You've got to really apply yourself to that job and really do a ... Take it seriously and so forth. A lot of people don't want to do that. They're making less money. Another thing is that a lot of people, they're going out and working and they're making the right amount of money, but then they're wasting it on drugs. They're wasting it on alcohol. They're wasting it on cigarettes. They're wasting it upon just entertainment and video games and just whatever. Fooling around with their money. Look, you can't sit there and say, "Well I have a need. I have need. I'm struggling. I don't have any money. I don't have any food. I need help from the church." When you've been going out drinking, smoking, doing drugs, playing video games and spending money on stuff like that."
You're being a derelicts. You're being a deadbeat. Okay? You shouldn't sit there and just demand and expect and feel that you're entitled to money from people who do work hard and sacrifice. There are people in this church who work really hard. There are people in this church who go nights without sleeping because they work all night, sometimes. Like Paul said, "Laboring night and day." Many of us have been there. Many times we've done hard physical labor. Many times we've worked by the sweat of our brow and we've shed our blood even, of just working our fingers to the bone and just struggling and striving. Also, not just hard physical work but just stressful work. Just work that involved responsibility and mental work and mental strain. Just hard working people that worked hard to provide their own needs.
Then you've got another guy who wants to go work his part time job or go work his easy low paying job and wants to just sit around watching TV, playing video games and then spend money on drugs, alcohol, and fun. Because he blew his money on riotous living and sin, he doesn't have enough money to provide for himself, that's not our problem as a church. To sit there and say and to sit there and quote Acts chapter 2 and Acts chapter 4, when you're living that lifestyle and then you're going to pull out Acts 2 and 4 and say, "Hey, you need to distribute to the saints. Hey that money that comes in the offering plate needs to be distributed unto all men so that no one has need." No that is not what the money in the offering plate goes to.
First of all, as I preached this morning, I just want to barely tie in with what I was saying this morning, I don't want to re preach the sermon, but that's illegal. It is illegal for us to take the church's money and to just give it to able bodied, hard working man and just, "Here you go. Here's church money." It has to be charitable. You know what the law of the United States of America is, when it comes to charitable giving? Here's what they say to churches. "If you give somebody money, here's how you know." This is what the IRS will tell. "Here's how you know whether that was really charitable or not. If you have to ask, "Is this charitable?" It's not." That is their standard. They say it has to be clearly charity. Meaning, you don't have to ask.
It has to be somebody's in the hospital. Somebody's starving. Somebody's just in a situation where they're just down and out or they're destitute or so forth. It can't just be like, "Yeah, you know we're just eating rice and beans instead of steak." "Yeah, you know. By the time I bought all my cigarettes and alcohol, I can't pay my cell phone bill anymore." "Oh okay. We've got an extra $3,000 in the bank account at church. Let's just distribute that unto you to meet your need. Lets pay that cell phone bill." That's illegal. That would even be a crime, to do that.
There are all kinds of people, it seems like, that think that our church is just like this cash cow that they ... It's like they just want to come and just attach to the teat of our church and just nurse off of it or something. Just think that like, "This is for me. I deserve this. I'm part of this church, too. Pay for me." No. That is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible talks about people being paid to work. The Bible talks about the pastor getting paid, to work. The Bible talks about the deacons getting, for working. The Bible talks about widows being paid, because they spent their life working. He said, "They were well reported of, for good works." They spent their life raising children. They spend their life washing the saints feet and relieving the afflicted and serving God. It's time for us to take care of them now, in their old age. When their husband has passed away and they're a widow. Let's care for them. Let's care for those that are disabled or need help.
Okay, but to sit there and say, that we're supposed to just sit there and just take church money and just give it away to people because, "I need help with my car payment. I need help with my ..." You've got to get on your bike at that point. It might even add some years to your life, getting the exercise and not being so sedentary. Again, I'm not trying to be harsh in the sermon tonight, but I'm just trying to be real with you. People just have a weird attitude toward what the church is supposed to be for and who the church is supposed to ... It's funny. People want the church to help them that have never even come to our church. Don't even come here. I always just say to those people, "What church do you go to?" When they ask for money. "Where'd you go to church last Sunday?" You're out partying on Sunday. You're out at the lake on Sunday. You're on your rear end on Sunday. You're watching TV on Sunday. You're playing video games on Sunday and then you're, "Oh I need help. I need help." No. Get your butt down here and do some work and be apart of our church.
Listen to me, people who are in this church who serve God, who are actually workers in our church, I would help them, financially, any time. Any time. If they were in a legitimate bind and not just, "Hey, I don't want to work. I'm going to just sit around and want you to subsidize me." Do you think people do, legitimately, sometimes get in a bind where they need help financially? Of course. I don't want you to misinterpret the sermon into saying, "If you ever need to borrow money, you're a bad person." I don't believe that. Sometimes people do get in a bind where they're like, "Hey I just need to borrow some money. Get me out of a bind." No big deal. I understand. There was even a man of the prophets in what? 2 Kings chapter 4, I think. This many of the prophets were ... He was in debt and everything. It happens to people.
The story about the oil that was multiplied and everything like that. I'm not saying you're a bad person if you get in a bind. Sometimes unexpected bills come. Sometimes injuries happen. Hospital visits happen and you can get in a bind and need help and need to borrow money. I'm not saying you're a bad person. You know what? When you just again and again and again and again and again, just need money. Need money. Need money. Need money. There's something that needs to be addressed about your lifestyle. Whether it's on the earning side or the spending side. People do get in a bind. People do get in a jam. People do need to borrow money. I'm not down on you. Here's the thing, people constantly say, "I want to borrow money from the church." Look, the church cannot loan you money. The church is not a bank. The church is not a lending institution.
Again, it's like people just think ... I don't know if people just think we just take the offering and we just shove it all in a big box somewhere or something and just like, "Here, let me just reach into the box and here, borrow some money. Pay it back." We actually run this church legally. Can you believe that? We actually count the offering when it comes in. We actually deposit it all into a bank account and we actually use it all for legitimate church needs and church uses. We don't just do it all in just wads of cash being stuffed in pockets and handed to people. We don't just loan. When has the church ever been supposed to be a lending institution? Here's the thing, many people have come to me and said, "Hey can the church loan me money?" I'll often say this to them, "The church cannot loan you money, but I will loan you money, personally. If you need to borrow some money, I will loan you some money." Listen to me, it is a sin to ever charge anyone interest for borrowing money. That is usury.
If you do, listen to me now. If you ever loan money to someone in the church, do not charge them interest. Do not charge them usury because that is a sin. Don't you dare become a usurer unto them. Here's the thing, people have come to me personally and borrowed money from me and I was glad to loan them the money. I loaned them the money and they said, "Hey I'll pay you back." They paid me back, great. Sometimes I even forget that they even owed me money. People will come back and say, "Hey." They'll put money in my hand and I'm like, "What are you doing?" "You loaned me this." "Oh really? Oh okay. Whatever." I'm not sitting there like, "Oh yeah, they borrowed money." Who cares. It's not a big deal. Somebody needs to borrow some money, not a big deal.
Listen to me though. There are people who could abuse this. The Bible says, "The wicked borroweth and payeth not again." What we need to understand is that, if you're ever on hard times and need to borrow money from someone, whether it be your parents, you might borrow money from your parents, you might borrow money from a brother or a sister. Physically your brother and sister. Relatives. You may borrow money from me, your pastor or you may borrow money from a fellow church member. You better pay it back. If you say, "I'm going to pay it back on X," the date, and something happens and you can't pay it back on that date, you know what you should do? On that date, you go to that person and you say, "I was supposed to pay you back today and here is why I'm not able to and I'm sorry and I'm going to make a new arrangement with you, to pay you back.
You know what's wrong? When you make that person come looking for you. Is everybody listening? This is just basic character. If you borrow money from somebody ... If I say, "Hey I'm going to borrow money from you. I'm going to pay you back on July 20th." July 20th rolls around and he never hears from me and he has to come to me on the 25th and say, "What's going on, Pastor Anderson? You borrowed this money. You said you were going to pay me on the 20th." "Oh yeah. Here's what happened." No, no, no. I'm supposed to go to him and tell him that. You see what I'm saying? I need to pay back what I owe. When I said I'm going to do it or if it's just an open ended, "Pay me back when you can." Okay. Then pay me back when you can, but if it's like, "Hey I'm paying you back on x, the date." Then it needs to happen by that date or there needs to be some communication.
Listen to me, I've had a lot of people come to me and ask me and say, "Hey. So and so wants to borrow money from me, should I loan it to them?" I've had a lot of people ask me that, as pastor. It's usually people who I've already loaned money to. It's like they're just going around, I guess to a lot of people, they're going around to everybody because they have a pattern of needing to borrow money. People have often said to me, "Hey pastor Anderson. Should I loan money to so and so?" Here's what I always tell people. This is a Biblical teaching. I always tell people, "If someone comes to you and wants to borrow money form you, you should only loan them that money if you're willing to kiss it goodbye." The Bible says, "You should lend unto people, expecting to receive nothing again." That's why sometimes I forget that people owe me money and when they come back it's that.
Here's the thing, if people borrow money from me, and they don't pay it on the date that they said they were going to pay it and they don't communicate with me, I do go and rebuke that person. The Bible says, "If your brother sins against you, to rebuke him." It says it in Leviticus. It says it in the Gospel of Luke. It says it in Matthew. If somebody comes to me and borrows money and doesn't pay me back, I go to them and say, "You know what? You've done wrong. You borrowed money from me and said you were going to pay back on this date." That's if I remember. I say, "You didn't pay me back. You have sinned against me. Make it right." Why do I do that? Just because it's for their sake. They need to learn some character and I'm just trying to help them learn. That's all it is. It's not because I'm just going to start breaking fingers or something, if I don't get my money back. It's just about teaching people character.
I'm a pastor. I'm a teacher. That's my job, is to try to instill character in people and try to teach them what the Bible says. I always tell people, "If somebody comes to you to borrow money, you should only loan it to that person if you can loan them the money, have them not pay you back and you will still love that person and can smile at them and shake their hand at church." If you can still smile and shake their hand at church and love them, after they didn't pay you back, then loan them the money." Again, if somebody doesn't pay me back, I have rebuked that person, but I would never take legal action against that person. Are you listening? I would never have that person disciplined from the church or try to have them thrown out of the church or anything. I would never do anything like that, but I'm telling you, I will verbally rebuke that person. Just for their own character. Just to help them understand that they've made a mistake. That's all. Not because I don't love them. Just because they need to learn. That's all.
You know, you're not doing people favors all the time when you just molly coddle them and just handle them with kid gloves all the time. Some people need a little tough love and just need to be shown, "Hey, get your act together." It's not going to hurt them to hear that. Okay? That's the standard right there. If you're willing to part with the money. Here's the thing. The amount that you're willing to part with, might be different for different people. I mean, there are some people in the church who, if they asked me to borrow money, I would be willing to loan them very little. You know what I mean? Other people who I have great respect for, they've done a lot of work for the church or they've really done ... I'd be willing to loan them a lot and willing to kiss it goodbye and not have any kind of bitterness in my heart about it. It varies from person to person.
You know what? Don't you dare just loan people money because they're from church and just, "Well of course they're going to pay me back." Then get all mad when they don't and then freak out. You'd be better off to just not loan them the money. One guy that called me. He said, "Hey, should I loan money to somebody?" I said to him, "Can you do without that money?" He was like, "Well no. Actually this is money that I need to pay x, but he said he's going to pay me back before that." No. Bad. Bad idea. What's going to happen is, he's not going to pay you back on time, then you're going to miss your engagement. You know? You're not going to be able to pay your bill and then it's like this domino effect of just nightmares. By the way, the best way to get someone to hate you, is to loan them money. It's sad. Just doing nice things for people. Then they turn around and hate you. Why? Because it's just the sinful nature of man.
Does that mean we shouldn't do nice things for people? No, because we should do it unto the Lord. Do it as unto Christ, you know? If we loan money, if we give money, if we help people, it's unto Christ. Look, I've given money to people, given food to people, given loans to people and then had those same people turn around and just attach me, hate me and harm me. Here's the thing. I always just say, you know what? I did it unto the Lord. I didn't do it for them. I did it for the Lord. I lended unto the Lord. I gave unto the lord. That's how you have to look at it and then you won't be bitter about it and angry about it. I don't regret any money I've ever given to anybody because you know, it was all unto the Lord. As much as I've done it unto one of the least of the brethren, I've done it unto the Lord, the Bible says. Okay.
Again, I'm not saying that anybody who borrows money is bad. I'm not saying anybody who's down on their luck and needs food or needs help or needs money is bad, but if you're an able bodied man in 2014 America and just continually need to be subsidized, it's because you are either lazy or you are a glutton with your spending and you need to fix one of those 2 things. It's that simple, if there's a pattern with it. You know what's funny? Is that people come to me to borrow money, when I have 8 kids. I'm supporting 10 people on 1 income. I would like to see a lot o you support 10 people on 1 income. Okay, you know what I mean? Then other people in our church that have 5 kids, that people will go to that person and are constantly trying to get money from that person. It's like, "Wait a minute. He's supporting 7 people and you're going to go to him." It just doesn't make any sense. People just literally think that I am just made of money or something.
Again, I don't mind helping people and sometimes I do have extra money and I'm able to help people out and loan people money. I don't mind. I don't want you to feel like you can't ask, because you can. Everybody's going to come up to me after the service and be like, "I need a loan." Maybe he's going to forget about it. You know what though? Honestly, I don't mind. I love you. I want to help you. Honestly, you know what though? Everybody in the church that has money worked for it. There are people in the world that have a lot of money that they didn't work for it, but everybody in our church, that no one here is an extortioner. No one here is a fractional reserve lender. Everybody in our church actually works for their money and the people who have more money, a lot of them, it's because they worked harder. A lot of people who have less money, it's because they are not working hard. They don't like hard work or they're just blowing money on dumb things.
I'm not against you spending money on having fun, but you need to first provide for your own basic needs and take care of yourself. Look, there could come a time, God forbid, there could come a time when I'm down on my luck and I needed money or I need to borrow money. You know what? God forbid, but that time could come. You know? I'm not condemning anyone here. Thankfully, God has blessed me and I've been able to provide for myself, but I don't live high on the hog. Some people live higher on the hog than others and I'm not really even against that. You know what? We need to understand, that in the Bible, the teaching is that everybody works and pays their own way. That's what the Bible's general teaching, from Genesis to Revelation. Even in the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, the Bible says, people will own their own houses and sit down under their own vine and their own fig tree. It's not going to be a communist utopia, in the millennial reign of Christ. People will own property.
Now, does the Bible tell us that if we sell what we have and give it to the poor we'll have treasure in heaven? Absolutely. That's what Jesus said, right? Sell what you have. Give to the poor. You'll have treasure in heaven, but hold on a second. Is the Bible telling us, you must get rid of all your private property so that it can be just distributed unto all the church members so that everybody's needs are met? No. What it really is saying is, men need to go to work or they should starve. We should be paying for widows not whores and whore mongers, but actual real life widows that are married and having children and that we should use the money to pay for people that are workers, working for the church. Whether it be a church employee or sometimes the church will hire someone to do a computer related task or someone will hire the church to paint the mural. Whatever that person is hired to do, but they're working for it. Not just this free money fund for everybody to just dip their hands into. It's just not Biblical, okay?
I hope this sermon helped you to understand the difference between common-ism and communism. I know they're pronounced very similar. One of them is not a real word, but having all things common in Acts 2, I hope you get a better picture of what was going on. It was a lot of just full-time work for the Lord. It was just a really intense time of serving God for the early church and they had a lot of immediate needs because of persecution and because of just getting started and getting off the ground, that that's what they did at that time. When we look at the new testament teachings for the church going forward, in 1 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 1 Corinthians and else where, it's a situation where men need to go and work and provide for their families. It says, "Let not the church be charged for what you could be paid for yourself."
All right. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father we thank you so much for your word, Lord. We thank you for this great story in the book of Acts. What an exciting time. It would have been cool to have been there in that exciting time with the apostles preforming miracles and just the early church getting started. Lord, help us to follow your word in the day that we live, 2014 America, Lord. Help us to go out a men and work hard and provide for our families. If that means working 72 hours, 6 12 hours days, so be it Lord. Help us to work hard, pay our bills, pay for our families, Lord. God I pray that every person here who does have money, would be generous with it and would help people out that need help. When people do have legitimate needs and crisis come up in their lives, Lord, I pray that the church could be a place where people could be helped and blessed, Lord. I pray that we would never be a place where every loser, deadbeat, derelict and harlot thinks that they can just come and get a free ride, Lord. That's not what your house is ever meant to be. Please just help us to use wisdom and discretion in that area and in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.