Most sermons on Pentecost focus on the signs and wonders performed by the apostles. Or they emphasize the 3,000 who were saved in one day, or the cloven tongues and fire appearing. But we don't hear about one event that became the greatest wonder of all—and sent multitudes back to their nations with a vivid, unmistakable impression of who Jesus is.
You've heard of signs and wonders. I want to tell you about this story's "wonder signs." Overnight, “For Sale” signs appeared in front of homes throughout Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Scripture says, "All that believed were together, and had all things in common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. . . . 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 unto every man according as he had need" (Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35).
Can you imagine the scene in Jerusalem? Multitudes of houses, lots and farmland were suddenly being sold off. Household goods were being sold as well: furniture, clothes, crafts, pots and pans, works of art. On the streets, in the marketplaces, at every city gate, hundreds of signs must have read, "Goods for Sale." It had to be the biggest garage sale in Jerusalem's history.
There is no evidence in Scripture that the homes being sold were the owners' primary dwelling places. And there is no mention of communal living. If that had happened, it would have placed an unbearable burden on the Church. God's Word clearly commanded them to provide for their families and children. These believers couldn't have fulfilled those commands if they didn't have their own homes. Besides, we read that they went to each other's homes in fellowship, "breaking bread from house to house" (2:46). Clearly, these people still owned their homes.
No, the possessions they sold were things they had over and above their needs, things not essential to their survival. In some cases, these probably had put a stranglehold on their owners' hearts. So the goods were sold, turned into cash, and donated to support the church's widows, fatherless and homeless. Here was the witness of Pentecost. The world saw those empowered believers loving one another, selling their goods, giving to the needy. And that's exactly what the Holy Spirit wanted from them. He desired a living testimony to the world of God's love. They were proclaiming Christ's gospel by their actions.