Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament account of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ—the church of Jesus the Christ and Temple of the Holy Spirit—as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twenty-three through thirty-seven of the fourth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the beloved physician Luke shifting gears from what took place in the opening verses of this chapter to now revealing the response of the apostle. If you begin reading with and from the first and opening verse of this chapter you will find that everything that takes place in the opening verses was in direct response to what had happened in the previous chapter. As you move back into the previous chapter of the book of Acts you will find that while the apostles Peter and John were going up to the Temple to pray at the ninth hour they saw and beheld a man sitting at the gate of the Temple who had been lame from birth. In the opening verses of the third chapter you will find this man who sat continually at the gate of the Temple and one who was left outside the house of God that He might ask and beg for alms. I still find it absolutely incredible that not only was this man lame from birth, but Luke writes that this man was brought by others unto the gate of the Temple where he would sit day in and day out begging for bread and asking for alms. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this particular reality, for to do so would be to miss one of the greatest tragedies that faces many of our churches in this generation. I read the words which are found in the third chapter of the book of Acts and I can’t help but come face to face with the tremendous reality that this man was brought unto the house of God, yet He was never brought into the house. There is absolutely no indication from the words which are written and recorded within the third chapter of the book of Acts that this man was ever brought behind the gate of the Temple. There is absolutely no indication that this man was brought beyond the gate of the Temple. There seems to be every indication that this man was always brought as far as the Temple gate and was left outside the courts of the Temple where he would be forced to beg for alms, and perhaps even bread. It is quite astonishing to think about and consider the fact that this man would be so close to the courts of the Temple, and would be so close to the altar, and yet he would be so far. What’s more is that this man would be sitting at the gate day after day and would be passed by hundreds if not thousands of men and women as they journeyed and traveled unto the Temple in order that they might appear before the Lord their God with their offerings, their tithes, their gifts, and even their prayer and worship. I wonder how many worshippers passed by this man each and every day and paid him absolutely no mind and no attention, but rather continued walking straight up into the courts of the house of the Lord where they worshipped before the living God.
When we come to the third chapter of this New Testament book of Acts we find that although this man sat daily at the gate of the Temple begging for alms and was undoubtedly ignored by others, the apostle Peter fastened his eyes directly upon this man. I still find this absolutely remarkable, for it reveals the reality that the apostle Peter was unwilling to overlook and ignore this man. There is every indication that the apostle Peter was unwilling to pretend that this man didn’t exist, and despite the fact that he was going up to the Temple to pray with the apostle John, he was able to be led by the Spirit concerning and regarding this man. The apostle Peter fastened his eyes steadfastly upon this man thus not only giving him a face, but also giving him attention he perhaps never received. What’s more; is the apostle Peter began speaking to this man and simply asked him to look at and look upon him. What so inspired and amazed me about these words is that by looking intently at this man he gave this man a face, but by actually speaking to the man he gave this man a voice. Oh how long had this man sat by the gate and never had a voice, nor even a name and presence because he was often overlooked and ignored by those who would pass by him on a daily basis. Oh I can’t help but wonder if there were even Levites and priests who walked and passed by this man on a daily basis and completely ignored and pretended that he didn’t exist. I wonder how many priests and Levites walked by this man and perhaps even passed by on the other side of the gate much like the priest and Levite did in the parable Jesus told concerning the Good Samaritan. Is it possible that the apostle Peter, as well as the apostle John witnessed others pass this man by completely and utterly ignored him and remembered what had happened during the days Jesus the Christ walked among them? Is it possible that they remembered the man who was born blind who was undoubtedly positioned outside the Temple—perhaps one a similar place as this man who was lame from birth? Is it possible that the apostle Peter remembered and recalled the parable which Jesus spoke concerning the Good Samaritan and saw and beheld as levites and priests passed by this man completely unwilling to pay him any attention and any mind? I can’t help but wonder if the apostles Peter and John watched and beheld countless others walk right past this man and pretended as though he did not exist. As they were approaching and as they drew near to the house of the Lord did they see this man sitting at the gate of the house and watched as men and women went up into the courts of the Temple with their offerings, tithes and offerings, and walked right by this man without paying him any attention or mind? There is not a doubt in my mind that when the apostles Peter and John saw and beheld this man they witnessed a man who was undoubtedly overlooked and passed by by those who would go up unto the house of the Lord to worship and pray before and unto the living God. Oh we dare not and cannot miss and lose sight of this incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss and lose sight of the tremendous significance of what took place on this particular day when a man who was lame from birth was not only given a name, but was also given a voice by the apostle Peter and John.
As you come to the third chapter of the book of Acts you will find the apostles Peter and John not only giving need a name, but also giving need a voice. What’s more, is that you will find that these two apostles of Christ actually gave need them attention it undoubtedly never got before. WHEN NEED GETS A NAME! WHEN NEED GETS A FACE! WHEN NEED GETS ATTENTION! What so amazes me about the words which we find in the third chapter of the New Testament of Acts is that this man who sat daily at the gate of the Temple begging for alms was finally given a face by the apostle Peter, as well as a voice—two realities he had never experienced before. If there is one thing this passage points to and reveals the it’s that this man had spent a considerable amount of time sitting by the gate of the house of the Lord—sitting by the gate of the house of the presence of the Lord—and forced to beg for alms, and perhaps even bread. Day after day this man who was lame from birth was forced to sit outside the Temple—sit outside the place which represented the glory and presence of the living God—and was forced to watch as countless men and women went up into the Temple with their gifts, their tithes and their offerings, and was often overlooked, passed by, and even ignored. Oh, I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like for this man to sit outside the Temple of the Lord at the gate and be passed by by worshippers and those who were going up unto the house of the Lord to worship and appear before the Lord. WHEN WORSHIPPERS OVERLOOK THE NEEDS BEFORE THEM! WHEN PRAY-ERS OVERLOOK THE NEEDS BEFORE THEM! The more I sit here this morning and think about and consider the reality of what actually took place on this particular occasion, the more I can’t help but come face to face with the incredible reality that one of the greatest tragedies facing most Christian circles and churches today is the neglect of worshippers who go up unto the house of the Lord to seek His face and appear before Him. I have to admit that even as I sit here this morning and write these words I myself am and I myself have been guilty of such neglect and such ignorance. Even as I write these words I do not write them from some high and lofty place of perfection, nor even from a place of example as though I have given myself wholeheartedly to the needs of those whom I I have encountered on my way up to the house of the Lord. I myself have been guilty more times than not of neglecting and ignoring needs that have been right before me—not only as I have gone up to the house of the Lord, but also as I have entered into the city of Boston on a daily basis to devote time to the reading and studying of the word of God. I myself who have grown up in the church, who has grown up in a pastor’s home, who has graduated from Bible college, who has been on two missions trips, have found myself so incredibly guilty of neglect and ignorance of the needs which are before and around me on a daily and continual basis.
Before I get into that which we find in the fourth chapter of the book of Acts I find it necessary and imperative to call your attention to the account which Jesus spoke concerning the parable of the Good Samaritan, for it is in this particular parable where Jesus answers one very important question—a question which men and women have been asking ever since it was asked of Him. If you turn and direct your attention to the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the same physician who wrote the book of Acts you will find the parable of the Good Samaritan, and how this parable was given in response to one who sought to justify himself in the presence of Jesus the Christ. In order to fully and completely understand the purpose, design and intent of this parable it’s necessary to first understand the context surrounding the parable which was a lawyer who stood up that he might tempt Jesus by asking what he ought to do to inherit eternal life. In response to this particular man’s question Jesus responded with a question of His own—“What is written in the law? How readest thou?” Upon hearing the question which was asked and spoken by Jesus the Christ this lawyer declared unto Jesus that what was written and the law was to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. When Jesus heard the response of this lawyer He emphatically declared unto him that he had answered rightly, and that what he had just spoken unto him ought to be done within his own life. It would be as this man went about loving the Lord his God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his strength and with all his mind, and went about loving his neighbor as himself that he would live. What we find next, however, is this lawyer not receiving the words which Jesus spoke, but seeking to justify himself based on that which Jesus had spoken unto him. This lawyer was unwilling to accept the words which Jesus had spoken unto him—words which would have brought him eternal life and would have allowed him to live—and sought to justify himself by asking who his neighbor was. It was in response to his question concerning who his neighbor was that Jesus would proceed to put forth the parable of the Good Samaritan. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand about this parable it’s that its sole purpose and its sole intention was to reveal and demonstrate unto this man who was his neighbor. What’s more, is that this particular parable wasn’t intended to show and demonstrate unto this man who would be a neighbor unto him, but rather placed the responsibility solely and squarely upon his shoulders as he was forced to confront whether or not he was a neighbor to those before and around him. As we read the words which are written and recorded within this passage it is absolutely critical and necessary to think about and consider the fact that the whole purpose of this parable was to contrast that one who was a neighbor to one in need, and those who deliberately and intentionally chose to abstain from being a neighbor to that same one who was in need. With that in mind please consider the words which are written and recorded within this passage beginning with the thirtieth verse of the tenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke:
“And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, think East thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:30-37).
I am convinced that this particular parable is absolutely critical and necessary for our understanding of that which we find in the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts, for what we find within this particular chapter is one who was not only lame from birth, but also one who was daily placed at the gate of the Temple where he would ask for alms and beg of those who would go up into the house to worship the Lord. As I read the parable which Jesus spoke concerning the Good Samaritan I can’t help but wonder if the Levite and the priest—both of which who passed by this man who fell among thieves, was stripped of his raiment, and was wounded left half dead—were on their way to the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem in order that they might fulfill their duties and responsibilities before the altar of the Lord. Is it possible that both the priest and Levite were unwilling to deviate from their course because they felt within their hearts and minds that their duty and responsibility in the house of the Lord was of more importance than the need which was right before them? Of course we know that these words were merely a parable which Jesus spoke unto this lawyer in order that He might demonstrate and reveal unto him the reality of being a neighbor, however, when you consider this parable in light of what we find and read in the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts—a book that was written by the same author who penned this very gospel—you can’t help but think about it in context and get the strong sense that it is highly possible that the priest and the Levite might very well have been traveling on the road and on the way to Jerusalem from Jericho in order that they might come and appear before God and fulfill their duties and responsibilities. Perhaps like Zecharias at the opening of the book it was their lot and their course to minister before the Lord in His holy Temple, and completely and totally aware of this reality, both chose to completely ignore and overlook this man who was in need. Oh, I fully realize that this was indeed and was a parable, but I would love to know the end result and outcome of this parable if it occurred in real life, and whether or not this man who fell among thieves recovered. What’s more, is that is it possible that this man who fell among thieves encountered the one who had showed him kindness and compassion along the way, loaded him on his own beast, transported him to an inn, bandaged his wounds, poured oil and wine in the wounds, and proceeded to take care of him. What would that reunion have been like as this man who fell among thieves encountered the one who chose to deviate from his course in order that he might bestow kindness and compassion concerning him? Of course we know that this was merely a parable and that it was meant to demonstrate a heavenly reality and principle using earthly realities, however, I firmly believe that what we find in the third chapter of the book of Acts is a powerful demonstration of this reality as the apostles Peter and John chose to be a neighbor unto this man who was not only lame from birth, but also who was forced to sit at the gate of the Temple asking for alms and begging for bread.
What we find in the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts is the apostles Peter and John giving a name and a voice to this man who was otherwise overlooked, neglected and ignored. What’s more, is that not only did they give this man who was lame from birth a name and a voice, but they also gave him something more than silver and gold which is what he was used to asking and begging for. Undoubtedly this man was used to sitting at the gate of the Temple asking and begging for silver and gold, and yet that which the apostles Peter and John offered him was something far greater than anything earthly wealth and material possessions could provide. The apostle Peter emphatically declared unto this man that he did not have silver and gold, but such as he did have he freely offered unto him. The apostle Peter would then speak unto this man and command him in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to rise from his place, to get up and to walk. The apostle Peter would then help this man by taking him by the right hand, and lifting him up, and upon doing so his ankles and feet immediately received strength, and he leaped up, stood in their presence, and walked with them into the Temple of the Lord. Pause and consider the tremendous and incredible reality that this man who spent a considerable amount of time sitting outside the gate of the Temple unable to ever enter in because he was physically unable to do was now able to not only walk into the Temple with two apostles of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, but also leapt and praised God with all his might and strength. All this was made possible simply because the apostle Peter together with John was unable to allow this man to remain outside the Temple of the living God asking for alms and begging for bread. Because the apostle Peter fastened his eyes upon this man, because he acknowledged this man and gave him a voice, and because he offered him healing in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, this man was immediately healed and was able to not only walk into the Temple, but was also able to leap and praise God at the same time. Oh how absolutely wonderful and powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about and consider it, for it has the ability to dramatically challenge us right where we are and how we view and interact the needs which appear before us as we journey up to the house of the Lord, and even as we journey unto the various places life and our responsibilities take us. The apostle Peter and John walked right up into the Temple with this man who had been lame from birth, and were unwilling to allow this man to remain outside the Temple of the Lord any longer. What a truly wonderful and remarkable reality and truth this is when you take the time to think about and consider it, for when need was given a name and a voice, and when need was met with compassion and healing, the Temple of the living God found another worshipper appearing before the living God walking, leaping and praising the living God.
If you continue reading within the book of Acts, however, you will find that while many in the Temple saw this man walking and praising God, and knew that it was the same man which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple, they were willed with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. What we must realize and recognize, however, is that not all stood in wonder and amazement at what had happened within the life of this man who was lame from birth, for when you come to the fourth chapter you will find the priests, the captain of the Temple, and the Sadducees coming upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. What’s more, is that not only were they grieved at the teaching and preaching of the apostles in the name of Jesus Christ, but they also laid hands on them, and put them in the hold unto the next day. When the next day came, their rulers, and elders, and scribes, and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest were gathered together at Jerusalem. After setting the apostles before them in their midst, they asked them point blank by what power, and by what name they preached and taught, and even healed this man who was lame from birth. Peter being filled with the Holy Ghost declared unto them that if they be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he was made whole, it needed to be known unto them all, and to all the people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom they crucified, whom God raised from the dead that this man stood before them whole. What I so love about the words which the apostle Peter spoke is not only were they words which were spoken under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but when those who listened to and heard the words which the apostle spoke, they observed the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, and they marveled. What’s more, is that the beloved physician Luke goes on to write and record how they took knowledge that they had been with Jesus, and beholding the man who was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that not only did those whom these two apostles appeared before observe their boldness, but they also took notice that they had been with Jesus, as well as saw the man who was healed standing with them. BEHOLDING BOLDNESS! BEHOLDING PRESENCE! BEHOLDING HEALING! BEHOLD, HEALING! BEHOLD, PRESENCE! BEHOLD, BOLDNESS! How absolutely remarkable and wonderful it is to think about and consider that when the apostles Peter and John stood before the entire religious system and rulers of that generation those who sought to examine and try them were confronted with their boldness, with the fact that they had been with Jesus, and the healing of the man who stood before them with the two apostles.
Upon continuing to read the words which are found in the fourth chapter you will find that after commanding the apostles Peter and John, as well as the man who stood healed with them to go out of the council, they conferred and consulted one with another, they asked what they should do unto these men, for indeed a notable miracle was performed and done by them and was manifest unto all them that dwell in Jerusalem. What’s more, is that Luke goes on to write and record how they could not deny the miracle which had taken place in their midst, and since they could not deny the miracle which was done in their midst, they decided that they would threaten them in order that the miracle which was performed would not spread any further among the people in Jerusalem, as well as the gospel which they taught and preached would not spread as well. Luke goes on to write and record how when they had called them back in to the council they straitly commanded and charged them that they no longer teach and preach in the name of Jesus the Christ, thus attempting to silence the gospel of Jesus the Christ. What we must realize, however, is that when Peter and John heard their threatening, and when these two apostles of Christ came face to face with the words which were presented unto them, they responded with the following words: “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearten unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard.” It is actually quite astonishing and remarkable that not only did the apostle Peter once more bring it back to Jesus the Christ and how He was crucified and raised from death to life on the third day, but both he and John also declared and proclaimed unto those who sought to threaten them that they could not help but speak those things which they saw and heard. This particular reality of those things which they both saw and heard was not only manifested in the opening chapter of the first epistle which was written by the apostle John in the New Testament, but it was also mentioned by the apostle Peter in the first chapter of the second epistle which he wrote in the New Testament. It’s worth noting that when those in the council heard the words which these two apostles of Christ had spoken they further threatened them, and let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people, for all men glorified God for that which was done. The beloved physician Luke would go on to write that the man who was lame from birth which was healed in the name of Jesus the Christ was above forty years old, thus enhancing and increasing the weight and magnitude of the miracle. Oh how absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider the wonderful and awesome reality that despite their being threatened by the Sanhedrin and religious community and council in Jerusalem, these two apostles of Christ emphatically declared unto them that it was unto them to judge whether or not it was right for them to obey them or to obey God. As if this weren’t enough, they also emphatically declared unto them they would and could not help but preach and speak of those things which they have both seen and heard.
It is at this time when we come to the twenty-third verse of this fourth chapter and come to something that is actually quite astonishing and remarkable, for what we find in the final verses of the fourth chapter are absolutely remarkable and astounding. If you begin reading with and from the twenty-third verse of the fourth chapter you will find that after the apostles Peter and John—perhaps even with this man who was lame from birth who had been healed in the name of Jesus—were let go, they went unto their own company, and reported unto them all that the chief priests and elders had staid unto them. What we also find within this passage is that when the company of believers, and when the fellowship of disciples and Christians heard the report which the apostles Peter and John brought to them, they immediately lifted up their voice to God with one accord and began praying and calling upon the name of the Lord. Perhaps the very first thing I find so incredibly captivating about this is that here we are four chapters later in the New Testament book of Acts and the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ were still with one accord, and were still living, dwelling and abiding in unity. Here we are four chapters into the New Testament book of Acts and we find the early church still continuing steadfastly in unity and community one with another, and still being with one accord. As you will later find and discover in the final verses of this chapter, you will find the beloved physician Luke goes on to write concerning the early church that the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul. It is absolutely wonderful and remarkable to think about and consider the fact that even after the events of the day of Pentecost, even after the healing of the man who was lame from birth, and even after the threatening of the religious community and leaders of Israel, the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ were still of one heart and one soul, and continued in and with one accord. When we come to the twenty-third verse of this fourth chapter we find that when they heard the report which Peter and John had brought unto them, they lifted up their voices unto the living God, and immediately began praying and crying out to Him. What’s more, is that after quoting the words which were written in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms, and after speaking of the violence which was done against Jesus the Christ according to the predeterminate counsel and wisdom of God, they didn’t ask to be spared from suffering, nor did they ask to be spared from persecution. What so amazes and astounds me when reading the words which are found within the prayer of the saints is that they didn’t ask that the opposition cease, nor even that they be saved from persecution, trial, trouble and suffering. Instead what we find is that they asked the living God to behold their threatening and grant unto them that with all boldness they might speak the word of the Lord by stretching forth His hand to heal. Moreover, they would go on to pray and ask the living God that signs and wonders might be done in and by the name of the holy child Jesus the Christ.
Oh that we would read the words which are written within this passage of Scripture and come face to face with the awesome and incredible fact that rather than praying unto the living God and asking Him to spare them from suffering and affliction, they instead asked for boldness to speak the word of the living God, and that the living God would confirm the word they preached with healing, with signs, and with wonders. I can’t help but wonder how many of us would pray and speak unto the living God and ask to be spared and kept from suffering, from trials, from trouble, and from persecution rather than asking for boldness. I can’t help but wonder how many of us would have the courage to instead of asking to be spared from persecution and suffering, we ask for boldness to speak and preach the word of Christ with boldness, and that the power of the living God might be manifested to heal and demonstrate signs and wonders. How absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that despite the threatening which would begin toward and against the apostles of Jesus the Christ, as well as against His saints and followers, they did not ask to be delivered from from such trials, troubles and affliction. What tremendous courage and commitment it takes to instead of asking to be delivered from affliction and trouble we instead ask for boldness to speak the word of Christ with power and authority. Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of the three Hebrews in the land of Babylon—Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael—who were brought before the king after refusing to bow down before the image of gold he had set up in the plain of Dura in the land of Shinar. When standing and appearing before the king—instead of asking the Lord to deliver them from that hour, and to deliver them from the danger, the trouble and suffering they might very well have experienced, they stood there before the king and declared that they would not bow down and worship the image of gold which he had set up in the plain of Dura. What’s more, is that they declared unto the king that regardless of whether or not the Lord delivered them from the fiery furnace or allowed them to die in the midst of it, they would and could not bow down before the image of gold which was set up in the plain of Dura. When I observe the courage and boldness of the apostles Peter and John before the religious community, as well as their boldness in prayer and supplication with the saints, I can’t help but be reminded of the boldness of the three Hebrews in the midst of Babylon who refused to bow down before the image of gold erected by Nebuchadnezzar, and even boldly declared unto the king their intentions not to bow down before such an image. Oh the question I can’t help but ask and wonder is whether or not we in western Christianity and civilization have such boldness in our hearts and our spirits, or whether we are of such a nature that we ask to be spared from trouble, spared from affliction, spared from suffering, and spared from trouble. Are we of such a spirit and nature as the three Hebrews in Babylon who refused to bow down before the image of gold, and as the apostles Peter and John who spoke boldly before the religious community, and even as the early church prayed with boldness and the place where they were praying shook.
As I bring this writing to a close I can’t help but come face to face with how the fourth chapter of the book of Acts draws to a close, for not only do we read that the place where they were praying was shaken where they were assembled, but we also go on to read that they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake the word of God with boldness. What’s more, is that you will go on to read how the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul, and none among them said of their own things that they belonged to them and were their own. You will find in the fourth chapter of the book of Acts that they had all things in common, and that there was none among them that lacked, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things which were sold, and laid them down at the disciples’ feet, and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. How absolutely remarkable it is that here we are four chapters later and the early church was still with one accord, they still had all things in common, and none of them viewed that which they possessed as belonging to themselves. Instead, we find them having all things in common, selling that which they had, bringing the proceeds to the apostles, and distribution was given unto all according as each had need. I have to ask whether or not you read the words which are found in the book of Acts and are challenged—not only as an individual disciple and follower of Jesus the Christ, but even as a church body and corporate community of saints and disciples. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we read the words which are found within this particular book we are confronted with a wonderful and powerful example of what the church should in fact look like, and how the church should move within and upon the face of the earth—namely, with one accord, with all things in common, with one heart, with one soul, and giving themselves to unity and community.