All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.
For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.
But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!”
As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?”
“Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.”
And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.”
Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.
The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers were meeting regularly at the Temple in the area known as Solomon’s Colonnade. But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them. Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women. As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.
So yeah, there’s been a lot going on in the world lately…do you really need examples? There’s enough “bad news” out there clouding up our newspapers, televisions and our social media feeds…you certainly don’t need to be reminded of that here.
Reading the passage from Acts above is awe-inspiring. The early church was beautiful and had the whole, “be the church” thing down.
They lived in this world, but they certainly were not of this world. Material possessions were of no value to them other than allowing them the ability to sell it all to help those in need. They knew this was not their home and that they were made for something more. The early church understood their purpose on this planet was to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through their love for ALL people and their actions toward them.
The examples made of Ananias and Sapphira is not put in there to scare or guilt us into sacrificing in the name of Jesus. It’s there to remind us to keep our hearts pure and honest. They could’ve been truthful about keeping some of the profits they made from selling their land, however they lied instead—possibly to receive the glory and honor that didn’t belong to them. Their motives were jacked up.
We live in a world full of people seeking glory. Everyone wants to leave a legacy and to be remembered when they are gone, but the problem is most have it twisted as Ananias and Sapphira did.They wanted to be seen for their donations and gifts to those in need…for their contribution and sacrifice. Their hearts were in the wrong place. In fact, Peter asks Ananias in Acts chapter 5 verse 3, “Why have you let Satan fill your heart?” It’s very clear that these two were frauds seeking to receive the glory that wasn’t meant for them.
There’s no shortage of ways to help in our world today, so where’s your heart?
Why were these early Christians so willing to sacrifice it all with eager and genuine hearts? Acts 4:32 answers that question, “All the believers were UNITED in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had,” and they were doing it all “in the name of Jesus” (Acts 3). They got it. They got that it was not about them, but about “the author of life,” and the beautiful story of His sacrificial love for us…The Gospel Message, filled with hope and life.
Y’all, this is what it’s all about. In the coming days we are going to have plenty of opportunities to truly be the church…to physically give our time, our energy and even our resources to help those in need. Do it for His glory, friends. Give it all in the name of Jesus with the message of love, of hope and of life included.
Acts 5:12-15 describes the results of the apostle’s work there in the early church in Jerusalem…“people were healed,” not only physically, but most importantly spiritually. What could be the results in our communities, our nation and in this world if we too became the church God has been calling us to be since it began?
“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Romans 12:4-5
Exhale all of the temporary anxieties this world brings… Inhale the mighty power of our Lord who holds it all in HIS hands and “set your mind on things above, not things on this Earth.” (Colossians 3:2)
Lord, we are easily distracted from our true purpose on this planet. I pray that we, as your people, would come together, “united in heart and mind.” It’s all about you and bringing your message to this world. I pray our lives and actions would reflect our love for you and our love for ALL people. I pray that we would use every opportunity to be the church this world today needs in your name, for your glory! Amen.
Today’s post was written by Amanda Sanders.
Amanda has been married to her high school sweet heart Matt for 11 years. Together they have three kids ages 9, 7 and 4. In this season of life, Amanda spends most of her time drinking coffee, teaching children, doing laundry and repeating herself. Occasionally, she has some time for working out, reading for leisure and writing. You can find her on Sunday mornings worshiping at our Real Life UCF campus.
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