Lying to God
32 Now the group of those who believed were one heart and soul, and no one said anything of what belonged to him was his own, but all things were theirs in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all. 34 For there was not even anyone needy among them, because all those who were owners of plots of land or houses were selling them and bringing the proceeds of the things that were sold 35 and placing them at the feet of the apostles. And it was being distributed to each as anyone had need.
This passage goes back to one of the themes found in 2:42-47. They had all things in common and this is one of the reasons that they were growing. So now here in chapter 4 we see Luke look further into this idea. Telling us that none among them had need. Those with took care of those without even to the point of selling what they owned, So that others could have.
What a testimony is that! To say we take care of our own. Sounds like a good reason to get in. This isn’t a call for socialism. When it says they took care of each other’s needs it was like special needs. They all still had to earn to keep it. A true member of the group wouldn’t try to take advantage of the situation.
4 “There will be no poor among you, however, because the Lord is certain to bless you in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance—
Was surely on their mind. With this Jewish Mindset it was a matter of integrity that they provide for those. The Communities Honor was at stake.
Exhibit A Exhibit B
Exhibit A Exhibit B
36 So Joseph, who was called Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated “son of encouragement”), a Levite of Cyprus by nationality, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and placed it at the feet of the apostles.
To emphasize this idea he draws attention to Barnabas. Who sold a field and brought the money and lay it at the apostles’ feet so that needs of other could be met. This was view exhibit A
1 Now a certain man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and he kept back for himself some of the proceeds, and his wife was aware of it. And he brought a certain part and placed it at the feet of the apostles. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, for what reason has Satan filled your heart, that you lied to the Holy Spirit and kept back for yourself some of the proceeds of the piece of land? 4 When it remained to you, did it not remain yours? And when it was sold, was it at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to people, but to God!” 5 And when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear came on all those who heard about it. 6 So the young men stood up, wrapped him up, and carried him out and buried him. 7 And it happened that there was an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you both were paid this much for the piece of land.” And she said, “Yes, this much.” 9 So Peter said to her, “How is it that it was agreed by you two to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out!” 10 And immediately she fell down at his feet and died. So when the young men came in, they found her dead, and carried her out and buried her with her husband. 11 And great fear came on the whole church and on all who heard about these things.
Exhibit B on the other hand is Ananias and Sapphira.
These two plan to sell a piece of property and only give part of the proceeds, which there is nothing wrong with that, But the problem comes in that they try look good before the eyes of man. Look at Barnabas well look at us as well. They say they gave it all. Lying to God’s men and lying to God Himself. And they died for it. Struck dead on the spot
This account in Acts has provoked more criticism than any other passage in the book. Both put to death with no chance for repentance. Peter didn’t tell Sapphira about her husband’s death. Peter seems to be without compassion as where Jesus always seemed to have compassion. And you may be one of these people who say that’s a bit harsh. And may as many critics do question if the story is real.
But look at the language of Peter. He speaks as if Satan has inspired them both to Lie to The Holy Spirit. They lied and that severs relationships. Trust is violated even with the suspicion of misrepresentation. And before a Just and righteous God. We should not say that’s not a Godly story. We should be thankful that it doesn’t happen more often. We are never promised the opportunity to repent of our actions.
It is more than just they lied and there for should be struck down by lightning as we joke about so often. It’s that they lied to God to look good before man and this could be devastating for the new Jewish branch. This could introduce the way Satan could inter into and destroy the group.
When thinking about this kind of Lying to God and pretend piousness, one cannot help but think of Judas of Iscariot. The disciple of Jesus who betrayed him. He was with Jesus for years and even held position of treasure. He was sent out by Jesus two by two and
12 And they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they were expelling many demons and anointing many sick people with olive oil and healing them.
So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them. (Mark 6:12-13)
He was good at pretending. And lied to Jesus, God, The Disciples and probably himself at times. Telling himself that he was a true believer, But in the end he betrayed God and ended up hanging himself
As we look at this we have to ask the question am I lying to God. Is there an area of my life, my finances, my time.
That I have told God, myself, and/or others that I have given all to God and I am just pretending.
Can be a scary place for us to be. Giving it all up and being all in. Like writing a blank check and trusting that it all works out. It is not easy And it’s not a once and done thing It’s an everyday kind of thing.
Active choice to follow Jesus and be All in
Exhibit A or B
Exhibit A or B
Are you like Barnabas - All in
Or are you like Ananias and Sapphira - Pretending
Thankfully God doesn’t struck us all like them. But treats us like Judas with a chance to repent. Though not promised tomorrow
Evaluate yourself make sure you are all in
Hate for any of you to be left out
Pretending to be a Christian
Need to join the church become a member instead of just playing church