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Acts Devotionals

A Holy, Committed, Truthful Church

Ought a spouse to assist his or her spouse when there is a conspiring to do sin? Perhaps the same question could be asked of supporting a friend or an employer to do that which is illegal. Although not quite what our text is about to say, I had a lady who confided in me in many counseling sessions about her husband and his wrong doings within the family, especially towards her. Eventually the husband turned on me in the same way the wife had described was happening to her and when he confront me, the wife supported him saying … “I must support him. He is my husband.” That was fine, but it certainly did not gel with what she had been saying over the months of counseling. Ought one so support a husband, wife, parent, employer if they want us to sin? Consider the dead Ananias’ collusion with his wife Sapphira:

Ac 5:2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Ac 5:8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

She, in full knowledge of what her husband was doing, supported him in his sin. Let’s return to our reading:

Ac 5:7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

1) God has His way of balancing the books. It is almost like questioning the defense’s witnesses without them knowing what the accused person has already testified to. Three hours after her husband’s death because of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Sapphira arrives where the apostles and other believers were. She has no knowledge of her husband’s death.

Peter asks her a simple question … “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” This is clever … he pushes her into an unsuspecting corner! He asks if the amount he was given by Ananias was the exact amount received for the property.

She responds … “Yes, that is the price.” Until this moment she has the opportunity of coming clean. Her husband was not there. She could have told the truth … but then, she was not a woman of truth and repeated in different words what she and Ananias agreed to say.

God’s wisdom is far superior to the schemes of man … and He used Peter who was filled with the Holy Spirit to examine her as he did her husband. She failed the test! God has His way of balancing the books to arrive at the truth.

Deceit, scheming, lies and cover ups are nothing new. It started in Genesis 3 with the devil seducing the woman by his lies and deceit followed by schemes and cover ups by Adam. In talking about those in Jewish religious leadership, Jesus said:

Jn 8:44 “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

There is deep warning in Proverbs:

Pr 19:9 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will perish.

We saw this with Ananias … and Sapphira will soon follow! We have been saying that God wants a holy Church. He is serious. He means business because His Church reflects His image and character to the world.

2) Sapphira’s support of her husband was conspiracy.

Ac 5:9 Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord?”

The word “agree” comes from the Greek word meaning to “sound together” and was primarily used of musical instruments. They play the same notes … “B”, “D” … etc. This husband and wife played the exact same tune. Their story matched because they conspired that it play out this way. Sadly for them, they both “tested” or “blasphemed the Holy Spirit, who is the “Spirit of Truth”. Jesus calls Him this three times in John’s Gospel. Look at chapters 14:16 and 15:26 along with the following:

Jn 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

Note that … the Spirit of Truth guides one into all truth. This is why I say this couple were not believers. That is why they could conspire to test the Spirit with the most severe results. Remember, their death was not just physical. It was eternal! Friend, make certain you are genuinely saved for this is the only antidote to prevent such a serious sin which carries eternal consequences. Now, her judgment was as swift and final as her husband’s:

Ac 5:9 “Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

We need to understand that relationships, love and marriage, however important and requiring real commitment, cannot overrule God and the truth He requires from us as His people. This is why it is important for Christians getting married, to marry real Christians.

3) Once again we note that fear came upon the “whole Church” as well as all who heard about these two deaths.

Ac 5:11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

Before moving away from this passage, let’s remember that God wants …

(a) A Holy Church. Sin in its multitude of forms may not be within the Church. As we remember that Christians are to be God’s holy people, so the Church, being made up of real Christians, must reflect holiness as a Body of believers. The world is watching … and we may not give them the joy of displaying better morals that Biblical morality!

(b) A Committed Church. By committed I mean committed to the Word of God. The Word must shape our beliefs and behavior which in turn will shape our ministry and involvement producing a fully functional, God glorifying, spiritual body.

(c) A Truthful Church. Holiness and commitment will produce Truth! As He who calls is Truth, we need to reflect His Truth in us to the world out there. This will attract them to our Savior and Master.

Father, as Your people, help us to be holy in practice, belief and service to our King Jesus. Amen.

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