Menu Keys

On-Going Mini-Series

Bible Studies

Codes & Descriptions

Class Codes
[a] = summary lessons
[b] = exegetical analysis
[c] = topical doctrinal studies
What is a Mini-Series?
A Mini-Series is a small subset of lessons from a major series which covers a particular subject or book. The class numbers will be in reference to the major series rather than the mini-series.

Scripture References

Scripture references on this site can be viewed by hovering your mouse cursor over the reference to see a pop-up window with the verse displayed. If you wish to use a different version of the Bible, you can make that selection below.

 

Bible Options

 

If you have Logos Bible Study Software installed, you can check Libronix to bring the scripture reference up in Logos.

Acts 4:32 by Robert Dean
As we continue in our study of Acts, the Biblical concept of labor, property, and value are in focus. With the many issues regarding these concepts in the forefront of today's headlines, it is important that we are certain we have the ability to use proper discernment - to think in a Biblical way. However, this can be very difficult when we live in a society with so many Romans 1:19 people.

In this lesson, we take a close look at the current events of the continued attack on the nation of Israel by the world. We learn the significance of Israel being the apple of God's eye. And we begin a review of the framework of society - the Divine Institutions created by God.
Series:Acts (2010)
Duration:59 mins 33 secs

Divine Institutions and Economics. Acts 4:32

 

One of the responsibilities of a pastor is not only to teach the word but ultimately if we believe Romans 12:2 we have to learn how to think biblically. We have to learn what the Word says; we have to learn from both the explicit teaching of the Word and also from the patterns and examples that are given in Scripture. We have to learn to think as God has revealed that we should think in His Word and not just on the basis of our own background, own experiences and prejudices. We have to let the Word of God completely reshape our values, our priorities in terms of what we do. That means we have to learn to think and to exercise discernment. That is probably one of the most difficult aspects of the Christian life. 

 

A lot of people want to hear from the Bible what confirms and validates their prejudices. They don't want to hear the arguments that are set forth in the Word for taking certain positions, especially in relation to controversial topics and issues that take place within history. And yet, if you don't talk about those things a pastor really hasn't done the job he maybe should be doing as a pastor.

Zechariah 2:8 NASB "For thus says the LORD of hosts, 'After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.'" The idiom "the apple of His eye" refers to the pupil, one of the most sensitive parts of the eye, an area that demands protection. So the imagery here is of Israel as something that is prized by God but is in a vulnerable position that must be protected by God. That promised was stated at the time of the Jewish return to the land from their captivity in Babylon. Many believe it also has a prophetic significance in that it focuses forward on the future restoration of Israel. All that is based on the promise of Genesis 12:3, the covenant with Abraham. These promises are true. The Jewish people, whether they are in a state of obedience to God or disobedience to God, are still God's chosen people. There is a unique role for the Jewish people in God's plan. Promises that God made to Abraham are not forgotten even though it may seem that God has put them on the shelf for a time.

One of the great applications from looking at how God has dealt with Israel over time is that no matter how chaotic things became, no matter how horrible things became in their lives, no matter how defeated circumstances seemed to indicate that they were, God never went back on His promise. This is the context for Jeremiah's famous statement in Lamentations 3:21-23 as he is surveying the ruins of Jerusalem and the destruction of the southern kingdom after the Babylonian assault, and everything looks like the end of the Jewish people and the end of the promise of God: "This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. {They} are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." God is always faithful to His promises. And He is always faithful to us in those promises. Even when it looks the darkest, when we are going through the most difficult times, God never goes back on His promises; He is always going to be present there and will fulfill His promises. The same thing is true for Israel.

If we believe that God is the God of history and we believe that God is a faithful God who is true to His promises and true to His covenant with Israel, then we believe that Israel today is important and that we as believers should be the most supportive of the Jewish people and of the state of Israel, and understanding what is going on in the world.

_________________

A biblical view of economics is based on reality—reality as God defined it. That doesn't mean that we are not going to find economists out there who are conservative and in whose views of economics money doesn't fit a biblical pattern. It does because they are realists, not because they are biblical. But as Christians we want to start with what the Bible says, and then build our view of economics and money from the Bible because we want to be as closely aligned in our thinking to the way God actually created things, which means we want to be aligned to reality. We don't want to be living in a fantasy so we have to come to understand these things. As we have seen, the Bible isn't an economic textbook but it gives us a framework for understanding and evaluating everything, including economics.

The foundation is understanding the divine institutions. The first three all occur before the fall—individual responsibility, marriage, family. Each of these are established and instituted by God before there is any sin. That tells us something. First of all we have to recognize that the reason we have these things instituted has nothing to do with sin, controlling sin, or dealing withy the consequences of sin. The reason they are instituted is to promote productivity among the human race and to enhance the life of human beings as opposed to restraining evil. The next two come in after the fall—government and nations—and their primary purpose is to restrain human evil. But the first three are to promote productivity and happiness in the human race. Individual responsibility takes place when God created Adam, placed him in the garden, and gave him everything he needed for food, but there was a test. That test was a test of obedience and that he was not to eat of one tree, the tree of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. But when Adam was placed in the garden he had responsibilities. There was labor but there was no toil. There is an important distinction there.

They had responsibility and there was work to be done and this is indicated by several passages. Genesis 1:26-28 NASB "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'"

So God places Adam over all of the resources on the earth, and this idea of ruling isn't the idea of being a tyrannical abuser over the planet. There is no sin or evil at this point. Man is given the responsibility to rule, which means to govern, to administer and to manage, all of the resources that God has put on the planet. It is man's job, then, to investigate the creation, to learn the properties of all of the resources that God has given them and how to properly and responsibly use them so that he can rule over the planet. He is not put there to exploit and to destroy the resources that God put there. And initially, because there is no sin, man is given all of the herbs of the filed to eat, and all of the animals are omnivorous, not carnivorous. There is no death, and so there is the perfect environment. Man was to fill the earth and to subdue the earth. None of this was done within a context of evil or self-centeredness, because it perfect environment.

Genesis 2:15 NASB "Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it." That was part of his responsibility. He was to labor as a steward, an administrator under God, over creation. But it is not toilsome. After the fall, after sin when God addresses the man and He says: "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life." So before the fall there was non-sweaty, non-toilsome labor. It is not laborious, but there was responsibility to produce from the land; there was production involved. We see that the very idea of labor, being a craftsman, a worker, an artist, and creating things is part of what it means to be in the image of God.

There are a number of different aspects to the first divine institution that need to be brought out. First there is the idea of volition. Man has an option. He can choose to obey God or choose to disobey God. Second is the idea of accountability: he is accountable to an authority over him for what he does with the resources given him. And third, he is involved in responsible labor—serving God in terms of administering the planet under the authority of God.

Economics is the study of value, and that value is going to be impacted by the amount of labor that goes into producing things, so we see that from the very beginning there is value placed by God upon human labor and work. And this begins to lay a foundation for us in understanding one of the core elements of economics.