Read thru New Testament Devotional – June 21, 2017

June 21

 

Acts 5:1-16

Acts 5:1-11-Ananias and Saphira (a couple in the church at Jerusalem) sold a piece of property and donated the money to the apostles.  They made it appear that they had given all the money to the church...but deceptively kept some for themselves.  Peter knew what they had done and questioned Ananias as to why they had lied about it.  He told him that the property and the money he got from its sale were both his.  In lying about it, what mattered was not so much that he lied to men, but that he actually dishonored God by his attempted deception (they were very serious about what it meant to be a follower of Christ).  At the moment that he heard this, Ananias fell to the ground, dead.  Those who saw this happen were struck with fear (they realized all the more the seriousness of their relationship with Christ).  They took his body out and buried it.  About 3 hours later, Saphira arrived, not knowing what had happened to Ananias.  Peter questioned her about the amount they had sold the property for and she lied.  Peter asked, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test?" (:9).  He told her that her husband had died because of their attempted deception…and that she was next.  She immediately died.  They buried her beside her husband.  Take careful notice that the actions of Ananias and Saphira against the church were actually actions against God.  Their actions were a lie to the Holy Spirit and an attempt to test God.  To “test” God means to take such an action as to attempt to make Him prove through a response what He has said He will do.  In essence, they are questioning the integrity of God.  While we may not be guilty of the specific sin of lying to God…do we ever bend the rules or push the limits of what God has said thinking that we may get away with it?  Or, even if we don’t get away with it…the consequences are not that bad (they don’t carry me out feet first like this couple)…and I decide that it would be worth it if in the end I get what I want.  How sad, that a follower of Christ would so distort God’s law.  Remember, God’s law is not just some arbitrary decision.  God’s law is a reflection of God’s being, His character.  And that character is woven into the very fabric of His creation.  God’s character is the operating system of creation.  Out of His love and mercy, God has told us how to live in His creation (His law) so that we are in harmony with His character.  When we disobey God’s laws we are not only sinning against Him, but we are doing harm to ourself.  We may not always immediately experience the consequences of our sin…but eventually, inevitably, there will be consequences.

Acts 5:12-16-Signs and wonders were taking place at the hands of the Apostles.  They were in “one accord” (see: 4:24-“one accord”; 2:46; 15:25-“one mind”; 4:32-“one heart and soul”).  While the Apostles were together…out of fear of the religious rulers, the rest of the believers were still staying away.  Multitudes were believing in Jesus.  People would place the sick on cots in the street in hopes that if Peter walked by his shadow would fall on them…and perhaps they would be healed.  People from nearby communities were bringing their sick in hopes of their being healed.

Prayer: Father, please help my heart to be 100% pure, without any falsehood in it.  Don't let me try to deceive anyone, not even myself.  Please help me to give You all of the glory and credit for everything that You do in me and through me.

 

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