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Summary: Why do some people think that they can benefit from pretending to be something that they are not? Dishonesty is a serious sin against God. Ananias and Sapphira offered to sell their property and give the proceeds to the church, but they lied about giving

1. Why do some people think that they can benefit from pretending to be something that they are not? Dishonesty is a serious sin against God.

Ananias and Sapphira offered to sell their property and give the proceeds to the church, but they lied about giving all the money to God while keeping some for themselves. This husband and wife pretended to be virtuous but were actually hypocrites.

The Lord wanted to preserve the integrity of the church so he struck both of them dead to signal how important purity of heart means within the church. Everyone should be careful since there is no fooling God. He sees to it that we reap exactly what we sow ö for good or for bad.

Application:Ask the Lord to help you to do every act of service with the motive of pleasing the Lord and not people. Leave the judging to the Lord.

2. The early believers could have become discouraged at the harshness of this judgment, but they quickly became better for it. Let no one grow disillusioned by the chastening of the Lord. Hebrew 12:11 says,

"No chastening seems to be joyful for the moment, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

The Lord’s correction is for our best so that we can share in His holiness.

Application: Ask the Lord to give you the grace to bounce back from any correction, pruning or discipline so that you can bear more fruit. Be honest about your strength and weaknesses.

3. The whole church was filled with fear as a result of this dramatic judgment. The fear of the Lord is a healthy thing. We live in a world today where few seem to fear the Lord. As a result, many people harbor secret sins that are self-destructive. David wrote, "Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want for those who fear him." (Psa 34:9)

When we fear God and keep His commandments, He provides us with whatever we really need ö not always what we want. Many Christians fear people, problems or opposition more than God and live in a continual state of insecurity.

Application: Ask the Lord to teach you how to gain a healthy fear of the Lord that will help conform your desires to His good pleasure.

4. Judgment begins with the church to set example for everyone. Ananias and Sapphira may have reasoned that their piety and charity would outweigh their deception, but they were mistaken. Do not fall into the pattern of pride, lust, or self-deception thinking that your good qualities will counterbalance the bad.

Avoid the painful consequences of God’s judgment by developing the mind of Christ in all areas of your relationships, personal life and work. Peter wrote,

"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel?" (I Pet. 4:17)

The Lord uses judgment to send a sharp warning to everyone of their need to repent and fully follow Christ in all manner of life.

Application: Ask the Lord to help you to learn from correction.

5. Do not allow your desire to impress others override your obedience to the Lord. We live in a world that is very interested in presenting the right image.

Application: Be who the Lord called you to be, nor more or no less. Ask the Lord to help you avoid being a fake or a phony.

6. All human beings will fail us at one time or another only Jesus never fails. Trust the Lord to help you to remember, "Jesus did not trust Himself to anyone because He knew what was in man." (John 2:24) Trust the Lord to help you overcome human disappointments.

7. Dishonesty has a way of ruining our credibility. The Lord brought such severe judgment because He did not want the early Christian church to spoil its reputation for the billions that would learn about Christ through its witness.

Application: Not only are people counting on us for what we say, but also for what we do. Ask the Lord to help you practice fidelity at all times.

8. We need to be honest and consistent in all aspects of our speech, conduct, love, faith and lifestyle. Many people are honest in 90% of their dealings, but that is not enough for God.

Concluding application: Ask the Lord to help you to remember Godâs goal, "Love from a pure heart and a good conscience a sincere faith." (I Tim. 1:5) Ask the Lord to help you learn how to be accountable to someone who can help you grow in your fear of the Lord. Be committed to truth no matter how much it hurts because the results of deception are much more costly.

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