Day 5 in Acts
In chapter 5 we see the infamous story of Ananias and Sapphira. The point of their tragedy was not how much they chose to give, but the condition of their hearts. They lied to God. In our discussion this morning, at our breakfast Bible Study, the question was asked, “Do people still try to lie to God?” The answer: “of course they do.” If we “go to church”, worship, confess, cry, etc, and go out and live a life that is contrary to the command to be holy (all the time), are we being honest? What is our relationship with God/Christ? Another point in this scripture is Sapphira’s role. This is one of the many places that shows us we are responsible for our own actions. Our husbands are to be Godly men, and as their wives, we are to encourage them to lead. However, we should never allow him to lead us in a direction away from God. We should love God enough, and love our husband enough, to point this out, to refuse to follow a path away from God. We should respectfully let him know, we should pray with him, and get into God’s Word with him. In the end, each of us will be held accountable for our own behavior and our own choices. I pray that our hearts will be in communion with God, will be filled with the Truth. I pray that our men will be Godly leaders in their homes, that our church leaders will stay to a path of righteousness and truth, and that we can be bold enough to do what is right, when faced with temptation to do what is not right or holy, from those we love.
In verses 14-16, we see the faith of these new believers. They believed that even Peter’s shadow might heal them. Was Peter’s shadow what healed them? No, it was their faith. A very dear pastor friend once said, “We no longer see these great miracles, because we no longer expect these miracles.” We proclaim to know God is in the miracle business, but we don’t KNOW it enough to expect it. We put limits on God because we have not grown the faith God has given to a point of expectation. I pray that we may have a faith comparable to the early church, expecting great miracles, healings, and conversions.
Verses 17-20 tell about the arrests of the Apostles. They were thrown in jail and an angel of the Lord opened their cell doors and commanded them to “Go, stand in the temple courts,” “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” This shows me that even in adversity, God will have His way and His plan will be achieved. These apostles were scolded for not obeying the high priest. I love their bold answer, “We must obey God rather than men!” I pray that we can have the wisdom to see when God opens the doors of our “prison” and sets us free to proclaim His Message. I pray we can have such a boldness against adversity to continue the proclamation.
Isn’t it amazing that in the midst of confusion, there will be a voice of reason? Gamaliel, is that voice (and for some reason, in my head, his voice kinda sounds like Andy Griffith) “Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” Could this be why so many ministers are leaving their posts? Did they go into ministry for the purpose of human origin? On the other hand, do you know pastors and ministers who have fought against oppression and worldy views for their entire lives and are still just as “sold out” to God’s purpose as they were 50 years ago? I pray that we will be unstoppable, because we are upholding God’s ministry and not our own, that when we face an adversary, they can see they are fighting against God!
It wasn’t over for the apostles at this point. They were not put to death, but they were flogged and released. How did the apostles handle this? Were they angry? Did they fight against the ones flogging them? Did they curse them? No, they went away rejoicing because they had been worthy enough to suffer for the Name of Jesus! WOW!! I pray we can rejoice in our afflictions, our persecution, our floggings, when we are facing difficulties all for the sake of Christ!