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17 September 2023

For week following 09.17.23
Unity In Meeting Needs!      
Kyle Childress
Acts 4:32-5:16      

SCRIPTURAL APPLICATION:  Read Acts 4:31 - 5:16 // Watch 09.17.2023 sermon

The Great Unifier – vs. 31-32
The Holy Spirit
One Heart
One Soul
Common Purpose

The Great Result – vs.33

The Great Gifts – vs. 34-37
Lands, Houses, Funds

The Great Deception – vs. 5:1-11
Initiated by Satan
Motivated by Pride.

The Great Fear – vs. 11

The Great Reaction – vs. 12-16
Signs, wonders, gathering.
People being saved!
People being healed!

1.What did the message teach me about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit?
2.What did the message teach me about the human condition?
3.Is there anything I need to confess, repent, or be grateful for, because of this passage?
4.How do I need help in believing and applying this scripture to my life?
5.How can I encourage others with this passage?

A.Christian Sinning (vv. 1–2)
Were Ananias and Sapphira really believers? Scholars answer in at least two ways: 1) they were members of the church (so-called nominal Christians) who never entered in faith into a personal saving relationship with Jesus; 2) they were Christians whose sin (possibly the sin unto death of 1 John 5:16–17; cf. 1 Cor. 11:27–30) God punished as an example to the church but who gained eternal salvation. The entire narrative seems to indicate that these people were born-again Christians and very much a part of the Jerusalem congregation. It is not unusual in the Scripture to find death coming to believers at the hand of God. Admittedly these are difficult verses, and it is not in our best interest to take on additional explanations beyond Acts. It seems the best approach to the passage is to consider that Ananias and Sapphira had committed a sin that leads to death and God proceeded with the ultimate punishment.
B.Divine Punishment (vv. 5, 10)
We are stunned in this passage by the suddenness of God’s judgment and the seeming lack of pity or remorse on the part of Peter and the others. Furthermore, there seems to be no opportunity for repentance apart from Peter’s question to Sapphira in verse 8. Stories like this were quite common in the Old Testament, such as Nadab and Abihu consumed by the illegitimate fire they used (Lev. 10). Repeatedly in Deuteronomy, God told his people to root out evil from among them (Deut. 13:5; 17:7, 12; 19:19). Let’s not confuse lying to the Holy Spirit with blaspheming the Spirit (Mark 3:29). There seems to be no parallel here between death as physical punishment and what has often been called the unpardonable sin. Nowhere in Luke’s record does he condemn Ananias and Sapphira to eternal punishment. Most scholars take the opinion that these believers retained their salvation and will experience eternal life. Surely, we must learn here the necessity for purity and unity in the body of Christ.
C.Church (v. 11)
The New Testament Greek word for church (ekklesia) is used commonly in Acts (7:38; 8:1; 9:31; 11:22; 13:1; 14:23; 15:22, 41; 16:5; 19:32, 41; 20:28). Throughout this book and elsewhere in the New Testament the term can refer to the universal church (all believers of all times and places) or a local congregation such as here in Jerusalem. We do not find, however, the common and popular uses of today such as reference to a building or a denomination appearing anywhere in the New Testament text. That does not mean such usages are wrong, simply that they reflect popular conversation and not theological truth. The word comes from two Greek words meaning “called” and “out.” Literally, the church of Jesus Christ is called out from among unbelievers to be the family of God, the body of Christ, and his eternal bride.

Witness in New Guinea
Born at Ardrishaig, Scotland, James Chalmers heard God’s call at the age of fifteen and committed his life to take the gospel to cannibals. Actually, he didn’t come to Christ until three years later in 1859. Eight years later in 1877, he sailed for the Cook Islands of Polynesia to join a pioneer work in New Guinea where he served for twenty-four years.
At the end of twenty-one years of missionary service, Chalmers reportedly prayed, “Recall the twenty-one years. Give me back all its experiences. Give me its shipwrecks, its standing in the face of death, surrounded by savages with spears and clubs … give it back and I will still be your missionary.” He continued to press on with the gospel, and his success is attributed by reliable sources to the fact that he never doubted he had a gospel for the people of New Guinea. In 1901 he was murdered by cannibals at the age of sixty.
The story doesn’t end there. During World War II, some American fighter pilots shot down over New Guinea were led to Christ by former cannibals impacted by the witness of James Chalmers, pioneer missionary.
The apostles and early Christians in our chapter can be called pioneer missionaries. They pressed the gospel in places where it was not wanted. Though they did not have to learn new languages or enter new cultures, they suffered and, as we shall see in the case of Stephen, died for their faith. Yet the effect of their witness spread to us today; and we, as someone has said, go forward on the backs on those who have gone before.
Chalmers, Peter, John, the other apostles, and all the early believers have shown us how to be faithful Christians with honor. Since God usually does not discipline today with the severity he used on Ananias and Sapphira, we have deceit and hypocrisy in the church. How desperately that needs to be offset by new generations of people (like Barnabas and Chalmers) whose witness may not be in New Guinea or even on the temple colonnade, but across the back fence or during the morning commute. May others say of us and of our congregations, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

1.Why would anyone lie to God? Could anything make you lie to God?
2.How can you worship a God who would cause people to die?
3.What situations can you see rising in our culture where you would have to obey God rather than government?