Acts 5:1-11 Hurdles in the Progress of a Church
The episode of the death and burial of Ananias and Sapphira in the first church of the New Testament is heartbreaking, and a costly spiritual lesson the Church has learned. Hypocrisy, covetousness, and lie were dealt with heavily; with capital punishment. It has been awarded to such people by their pricking conscience. The confrontation of an Apostle made them hug the death at an instant. The Church has seen the first recorded deaths of a family.
There was a joy, fellowship, and sacrifice in the previous chapter. No one was forced to do anything for anyone. Everyone was so excited and lived a holy and acceptable life. There was tremendous growth in membership. Believers had grown in characters worthy of praise. But, the above incident had brought a halt to the growth of the Church. The church has to deal with this parasite without compromise to see the progress.
The progress of a church may have hurdles and hindrances from the supposed prominent believers in the church. Hypocrisy, covetousness, and lies are the three marks of spiritual destruction. These masks need to be removed from the spiritual world. The Church has struggled enough with such people. Generations after generations have witnessed these kinds of believers. The family jointly practiced hypocrisy, lived with covetousness, and spoke lies. Satan took a stronghold of them and had his abode on their hearts and minds. They had jointly planned, executed, and received the punishment.
Jesus spoke on the subject of Hypocrisy and its power to ruin the spiritual realm. Apostle Paul and James, Jude all had touched these areas in their epistles. Prophets had alarmed Israel to be more careful about these issues. Truth exalts the nation. But the Hypocrisy, covetousness, and lies are a disgrace to the people and leaders.
Ananias and Sapphira had every right to hold their possession, offer the sale as they could wish no one will force them to bring everything to the feet of Apostles. It was a voluntary act. But the fear of the future, doubt in the providence of God, the desire for popularity and name they chose wrong ways and methods to deceive the Church leaders and the head of the Church. Holy Spirit was leading the Church. He could not bear such hypocrite acts of the couple. They had planned to hide something, they had discussed what they have to speak to the Apostles and to the congregation, and they had premeditated to come to Church one by one to get the attention of the believers and the Apostles. They probably expected an honored position among the believers. Alas, ended up in a disgraceful death. They could have been an example of sacrifice for many to follow but due to their non-repented hearts, they had become a sacrilege.
1. The attitude of believers in giving to the Church and the Missions.
2. How to deal with people with hypocrisy, and covetousness.
3. What are the modern lies found in the churches and organizations for fundraising?
(Please refer other sermons for the series of Study on Acts of the Apostles)