Summary: Biblical community wasn’t always perfect...
The Cost of the Forgery
Our faith journey is a shared journey as well as an individual journey. This fall we have been on a shared journey of experiencing Biblical community – of building relationships where we can live out Jesus’ new command of John 13:34: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Serena Kobialko is joining me this morning to share part of her journey with us, and we are going to talk about that together in a few moments. But just before we do that, I’d like you to turn to Acts 5:1-11, and we will read that together. In our journey of discovering Biblical community, we have been studying the early church community. And up until now, it has looked – well, perfect! Almost too good to be true. Read Acts 5:1-11.
The Heart of the Issue:
This is an unpleasant story, but it tells us a lot about God’s view of sin. I believe it happens here, at the very early stage of the life of the church, to remind us all of the holiness of God. That even though forgiveness in Christ is abundant and free, God is still a holy God who requires holiness of us, His children. He does not take sin lightly.
As I looked at this passage from the standpoint of Biblical community, I realized that Ananias and Sapphira have a very common problem – they want to look better than they really are. Here are two people, who do a generous thing in selling some property, but then try to manipulate the circumstances so that they create an appearance of being “super spiritual”. They wanted everyone to look at them and think, “Wow! What great Christians – they are really generous!!” They put on a mask and pretended to be something that they were not.
A Common Problem:
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I’m certain each of us could point to times when we’ve faked it too. When we’ve come to church beat up and angry and broken, and then pasted on a smile and pretended we had it all together. Maybe even lied when someone asked, “how are you?” I know I can think of times when I’ve done that; I’m sure you can also.
I understand completely why we do this – we are ashamed. We are afraid of being judged. We are afraid of appearing weak. We are absolutely certain that if other people knew what we were really like, they would hate us. They would turn away with disgust.
Now listen to this: every single one of those things: shame, judgement, fear of showing weakness, hatred – every one of those is of the devil. Every one of those is a tool of his to keep us from experiencing the kind of love Jesus talked about in John 13.
Serena and I were laughing on Friday – she said, “sure, you’re going to say all that and then say, ‘And here is Serena, a perfect example of this…’” No… that is not true at all. But as Serena shared her experience with me, this does directly relate to ONE of the big things God taught her. So Serena, tell us about where you went and what you did.