Text: Acts 4:32-35

Sunday April 7, 2024 -Easter 2

Trinity Lutheran Church – Creston/Mount Ayr.


       Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!


       Our text for this Second Sunday of Easter is our First lesson from Acts 4 that was just proclaimed.


Let Us Pray:  Dearest Jesus, send your Holy Spirit to remind us Easter makes a difference in how we lives our lives not just for our own interest but valuing the difference Easter makes for us, we share what he Lord provides so that others may know the difference Easter makes in their lives as well.  Amen.


Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:


Easter Sunday may be over for this year, but Easter is definitely not. Our church year gives us six more Sundays of the Easter season. But even that is not enough; every Sunday is a “little” Easter. Christians worship on Sundays because Jesus arose from the dead on the first day of the week.


So Easter still matters in the church calendar, but what difference does it make in our lives?


 Easter Sunday can certainly create an emotional high—great music, powerful preaching, packed churches. Wow! We can all get excited about that, but how about this Sunday? Or the next? Pretty soon we’re back to the same old, same old.


So what difference does Easter make—for you? Our text shows us how indeed…


Easter Makes a Difference
in the Lives of Those Who Believe It.


Our text for today shows what a difference it made in the lives of the first Christians. And what a difference! People sold all their property and gave it to the apostles for relief of the needy. That’s hard to believe, isn’t it?


“What’s mine is mine” is much more common and natural and believable. If you have need, maybe I’ll do something about it. I hope that I will, but it’s not a sure thing. After all, I have needs too—bills to pay, things to buy, retirement to save for—lots of stuff. You can’t expect me to take care of you. In this world, you’re on your own. Maybe the government will help, but don’t expect me to bail you out.


That kind of thinking is easy for us to understand. We do it all the time, and not only us. So does everybody else. It’s not even anything new. The ancients used to argue about whether the sun traveled around the earth or the earth around the sun, but both were wrong.


Not only the earth and the sun, but the entire universe goes around me. I am the center of it all. My hopes, my desires, my fears, my thinking all center on me—not you, not even God, just me. We call that sin.


Satan’s first temptation to Eve was to replace God with herself. “You will be like God” (Gen 3:5), the devil told her.


It wasn’t true, but ever since, the devil has been repeating this lie, and human beings have been falling for it. They define their own values, make their own rules, and do what pleases themselves, including with their possessions.


They—or better, we—make gods out of ourselves and so out of our possessions too. I earned it, I bought it, and I’m going to do what I want to with it. It’s mine.


But that, too, is a lie. What we have in this life depends entirely on the goodness and gifts of God—our talents, our opportunities, our successes—all result from what God has done for us.


Moreover, what Paul said to Timothy is still true: “We brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out” (1 Tim 6:7).


Of course, Eve soon discovered that Satan’s temptation was a dead end—literally—and so do we, every one of us. We think that we are in charge, until we’re not, but then it’s too late: The wages of sin is death! It all ends in the grave—until it doesn’t!


For Jesus Christ is alive, risen from the dead. So while the wages of sin may be death, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23). That is the difference that Easter makes!


Our Lord’s resurrection overcame the penalty for sin, death, because his crucifixion overcame sin itself. He took the sin of all upon himself—starting with Eve, then Adam, and then every last one of their descendants, including those yet to come, including you and me.


But now Jesus is alive—just ask no-longer-doubting Thomas. Our God and our Lord is alive! Sin has been paid for; death has been overcome.


Everything is different now. Because of Easter, we know that what Jesus told us about God is true. He is our loving Father. When we were “dead in the trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1), he took the initiative to redeem us. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32).


Our heavenly Father takes his perfect, tender loving care of us, he provides for us, and at the end of this life, he welcomes us into the next, the paradise about which Jesus spoke to that penitent thief on the cross. The devil may still be lurking, and, for sure, sin rears its ugly head. But neither devil nor sin can take away what we have in Christ: a God who loves us.


That’s why those first Christians could respond as they did to the needs of others. Christ had freed them from the sin of self-interest. God had filled their hearts with his love; and that love overflowed to others, and “there was not a needy person among them” (v 34).


Immediately following today’s text, Luke introduces Barnabas as an example of someone whom the Easter proclamation changed forever. He not only sold his property for the relief of the needy (Acts 4:36–37), but he also became one of the great missionaries of the apostolic church.


He took great risks for the sake of the Gospel. After Paul’s conversion, Barnabas befriended him when others were afraid. Upon hearing that the Gospel was reaping fruit in Antioch, the Jerusalem church sent Barnabas to continue the work there, and Barnabas recruited Paul.


When the Spirit indicated that Paul’s missionary journeys were to begin, he called Barnabas to the work as well. Barnabas then shared in all the challenges and trials of that first journey, including persecution in Antioch of Pisidia and Iconium.


Along with Paul, he was mistaken for a god in Lystra, where once again they were persecuted. Nevertheless, they revisited those places in order to strengthen the faithful and appoint elders in the churches.


After returning to Antioch, Barnabas along with Paul defended the Gentile mission against Judaizers. Although Barnabas and Paul finally separated, the former continued the mission by going to Cyprus.


Church tradition tells us that Barnabas died a martyr’s death. Easter certainly made a difference to him.


Of course, we live in different times. Here perhaps physical needs are not so pressing. But in addition to the basics, people still have needs: respect, companionship, purpose, security. How good are we at supplying things like these to others in our community?


Since God takes care of us, we can take care of others, giving not only our money but also our time, energy, talents, and—more fundamentally—our love to one another in response to whatever challenges life brings.


Perhaps this sounds like a sermon for “Stewardship Sunday” instead of for Easter, but these first Christians have given us an example that we cannot ignore—not now, not ever.


Easter means something. It changes lives. It changed their lives. Easter makes a difference in the lives of those who believe. So what about you? Amen.




Now may the peace of God in Christ Jesus guard and keep is in the one true faith until life everlasting…Amen.