Downtown Cornerstone Media
Dec 6

Grace, Generosity and Fear

, Acts, Media, Sermons | by Pastor Adam Sinnett


Audio | Acts 4:32-5:11


In Acts 4:32-5:11 we see that God’s great grace leads us to great generosity and great fear. When the undeserved goodness of God moves in our direction in Christ, we are left changed. What is blocking the flow of God’s grace in your life?


We are spending the better part of a year walking through the book of Acts, verse-by-verse, learning what Christianity is and what it should look like. This is incredibly relevant for us as a newly forming Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, Gospel-centered church. One of the major themes of Acts is that when the good news of Jesus Christ (i.e. the Gospel) touches down in your life, you are made a new person (i.e. new forgiveness, new adoption, new Spirit, new redemption, etc.) and part of a new people (i.e. the church). This new family of forgiven rebels, in Christ, has always lived in a visibly different manner than the rest of the world in how they love, serve, care, invest, provide for, and speak truth to one another.

The result of this type of living, whether in large or small measure, is the creation of a radically different counter culture. Often, it was this counter cultural living that intrigued and confused the watching world. This is one of the reasons why whenever the gospel was preached, people responded. Why? Because the gospel was backed up by their lives. Today, in Acts 4:32-5:11, we have an example of this. Specifically, we’ll see that when the great grace of God touches down in your life it will result in great generosity and great fear.

What made these Christians so different? We get a hint in 4:33 “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus…” This is another way of saying they were proclaiming the Gospel, the good news that by faith in Jesus our sins are graciously forgiven and we are made right with God. The grace of God in Christ, results in a grace-filled people. The text tells us that “great grace was upon them all.” Every other religion will tell you to do better, be moral, apply greater self-effort. Christianity alone is a religion of radical, unreasonable grace and generosity.

First, God’s great grace always results in great generosity.

When the great grace of God touches down on the human heart it is moved to great generosity. If we claim to follow Christ, yet our lives are not characterized by this great generosity it is either because we don’t fully understand this grace (e.g. young Christians) or it is not present in our lives. The great grace of God changes how we view money and, in turn, what we do with it.

#1 Grace changes how you view money. (vs32)

Unless you understand great grace of God offered in the gospel of Jesus you will think of your money as your own. You’ll say things like “I worked hard for it…don’t have enough of it…and I deserve more of it…” But, if you’re a Christian you will inevitably view money differently. You’ll think “It’s not my money…it’s all God’s money…it’s for Him”. If you’re a Christian, you and have had a genuine experience of God’s grace you will want to help those in need in some way. Why? Because you know you’re spiritually bankrupt outside of Christ, yet God helped you.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Mt 6:19-21

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 2Cor 8:9

“to preach the…unsearchable riches of Christ” Eph 3:8

“the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.” Rom 10:12

“as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing yet possessing everything” 2Cor6:10

“do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience” Rom 2:4

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” Rom 11:33

What is going here? All this means that you can have a lot of money, yet have nothing. It’s all going to burn up in the end. But, if you have Jesus you have everything. Jesus is your real treasure. When you start to grasp that, nothing will own you but God himself. Sure, you’ll have stuff (cars, house, job). There is nothing wrong with that. But, you will know that it is God’s, not yours. None of that is of ultimate value to you, because He is of ultimate value. You are His and He is yours, in Christ. That’s the ultimate prosperity gospel.

#2 Grace changes what you do with money.

As the great grace of God changes how we view money, what we do with it changes as well. Specifically, the great grace of God will move you to:

Practice Intentionality. “There was not a needy person among them…” 4:32

Trust your leaders. “laid it at the apostles feet and it was distributed…” 4:35

Don’t give to a church w/ no external financial controls (ex. accountant, lawyer, oversight board, audits, etc.)

Don’t give to a church where there isn’t a separation of the pastors from the money.

Don’t give to a church where the pastors know what people give.

Don’t give to a church where the leaders aren’t modeling healthy, sacrificial giving. This is the only exception to the above.

Don’t give to a church that isn’t giving to church planting, mission, needs of community, etc.

Test God.

“Put me to the test…if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need…” Mal 3:10

“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2Cor 9:6-8

“Are you saying God will give money back, like some sort of pyramid scheme?” No, but maybe. The principle here is simple. If we are faithful with little, God will entrust us with more. But, we can’t determine what that “more” will look like. It may not be in ways you expect, like increased joy, deeper peace, increased health and strength. God is not limited! Amidst this, we learn that he loves cheerful givers. In the end God is not lacking anything. He doesn’t need your stuff. Giving is ultimately about what He wants you to do in you as you give to Him and others. Don’t miss this! Has God’s great grace moved you to generosity? Great grace always results in great generosity.

Second, God’s great grace leads to great fear.

Even amidst this great grace, we see the Enemy at work. Last week (Acts 4:1-22) we saw the first external opposition to the church through the Jewish council. Here, we see the first internal opposition to God’s work among God’s people. Satan uses the same tactics today. This is important for us to see as a newly forming church, as we are susceptible to the same threats. He works by getting a couple, Ananias and Sapphira, in the church to not trust God, not trust the leadership and take advantage of God’s grace. They act deceptively and selfishly. This kind of attitude is a cancer in the church and threatens to undermine all that God has done in forming a people of “one heart and soul” (4:32). This highlights the fact that there has never been a perfect church, including the early church. Let’s make four observations:

First, their sin was not holding back part of the money (“did it not remain your own…at your disposal?” vs4) or even lying to men (“You have not lied to men but to God” vs4), but lying to God. It is important to know that is how God sees it. When you hold back, you’re not lying to DCC or Pastor Adam, but to God.

Second, they saw Christianity as an empty religious ritual, to be manipulated. They tried to manipulate God and others by lying, thinking “God won’t do anything about it.” They saw it all as a game, as though they are at the center of the universe. But, God is not a game. He is not to be tipped. He is not to be simply “fit into your schedule”. He doesn’t wink at sin. Sin is not a trifle to Him. He hates sinful, proud hearts that are bent in on themselves. If you reject him, he will ultimately reject you.

Third, we learn here that God is jealous for the good of his people. This should be of incredibly encouragement. For those that love the Jesus and His people, know this: God is more concerned than you are. He will take care of it.

Fourth, great grace results in great fear. Since he has given you everything, he can ask anything. You owe him everything.


We must have hearts that are harder than iron if we dare not moved by the reading of this narrative. In those days the believers gave abundantly of what was their own; we in our day are content not just jealously to retain what we possess, but callously to rob others…They sold their own possessions in those days; in our day it is the lust to purchase that reigns supreme. At the time love made each man’s own possessions common property for those in need; in our day such is the inhumanity of many, that they begrudge to the poor a common dwelling upon earth, the common use of water, air and sky. – John Calvin

We either chose to live in the presence of the God who made the world, and who longs passionately for it to be set right, or we lapse back into some variety or other of easy-going paganism, even if it has a Christian veneer to it. Holiness, in other words, is not an optional extra. How God chooses to make that point is in the last analysis up to him, since he is the only one who knows the human heart. NT Wright, Acts for Everyone, 80