Summary: My brothers and my sister there should come a time in your lives when our integrity matters. Being that we are now the children of the Most High God, we should act like it.
WHEN INTEGRITY MATTERS
My brothers and my sister there should come a time in your lives when our integrity matters. Being that we are now the children of the Most High God, we should act like it. I heard a story this week about a lady that wanted to do a program at a particular church. She had taken it to the previous pastor but he turned it down for what ever reason, and out of anger she left the church. That should have rang a bell about her. After that pastor retired she returned and asked the new pastor about doing this program to fray the cost of rebuilding the church’s sign. So the pastor granted her the permission to do it. But when it was time to turn in the monies from the program which was held on a Saturday evening in the church’s name. She would not, in fact she said that it was hers and she would turn it in when she wanted to. Thus ruining her integrity with the pastor and the official boards.
In the latter part of the fourth chapter of Acts we find the church going through a time of persecution. Peter and John were put in jail for preaching the gospel of Christ. The church as a whole was threaten by the religious leaders in Jerusalem and warned if they were caught teaching or preaching in the name of Jesus, they will be punished. It was a challenging time to be a follower of Jesus. Grant it that the church was still in it’s infancy, but one thing this new movement had was heart. Many of them knew what be a jew was about. They knew the statues and the laws of Israel. And many probably considered the thought if it was right to ignore the Laws given in the temple or to follow Jesus. I tell you it was a challenging time to be a follower of Christ.
But during this time the church band together and because of the merchants and the shop owners were reluctant to do business with them because of the threats against them. The church rallied around itself and started taking care of those followers who were in need. So they voluntarily sold their property and possessions and place the monies at the apostles feet so that the needy could have.
Today’s text puts us in view of a Disciple name Ananias and his wife Sapphire. They to had heard the clarion call of the church. And they to voluntarily sold a possession that was to be laid at the apostle’s feet. But we find Satan filling their hearts to lie to the Holy Spirit as found in verse 3.
So let us look at the integrity of these two workers in the faith and hopefully we can examine our own integrity.
First of all...
1. THEY CHOSE WORLDLY PRAISE OVER THEIR CHRIST LIKE INTEGRITY (V.1, 2)
“But a certain man named Ananas, with Sapphire, his wife, sold a possession, 2. And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy [knowing] of it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”
If we would follow the text just read, you would ask yourself how does the point and the text work together. Being that Ananias and his wife acted like the rest of the followers. They sold their possessions and placed the money at the apostles feet. And if you ask yourself that question and you should’ve you would not have found any reason for this Disciple and his wife to die. But there are under towing circumstances that caused the Holy Spirit to take their lives. It was their motive and their integrity. At the end of chapter four we find the mentioning of Barnabas. Who sold all that he had and placed it at the apostle feet. Now you might ask “so what?” you missed it he sold all that he had and place it at the apostle feet. What was asked of them was to sell their surplus possessions not the primary possessions. But Barnabas sold all voluntarily. And his actions cause his to be looked upon as a hometown hero. His name spread through out the body of Christ and everyone was talking about this noble thing that Barnabas had done.
Ananias too wanted his name to be praised much like Barnabas. That was his motive he wanted personal praise for himself. In that quest he kept back part of the price and placed it at the apostles feet. Now grant it that the possession was their’ and they had the right to keep back some of the proceeds.
2. ANANIAS CHOSE A LIE OVER THE TRUTH (V.3)
“But Peter said, Ananias, why hast Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?”