Tag: Acts 5-7
Scripture reading for November 6th: Acts 5-7
Lying is a sin and one God’s ten commandments. (Exodus 20:16) God hates a lying tongue! (Proverbs 6:17-19) Lying breaks relationships, marriages, homes, and even churches! A lying tongue hates the one it hurts! (Proverbs 26:28) A false witness will not go unpunished and he who pours out lies will perish! (Proverbs 19:9) The devil is a liar and can speak only one language: “LIE!” (John 8:44)
The Book of Acts records the history of the early church from just before the day of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to the imprisonment of the Apostle Paul in Rome. Very early in the history of the new church, Luke writes to tell us the story of a couple who told a lie that cost them very dearly. This is the story of Ananias and Sapphira found in Acts 5:1-16.
The lie that this couple told was a lie of omission. They sold some of their property and made an offering to the Apostles for the use of the church. The price of the property was more than what they gave, but they told the Apostles that they gave all the money to the Lord when they had kept some back for themselves. Now it wasn’t wrong not to give it all. It was only wrong to lie about what they had given. Scripture doesn’t say why they did this. Whatever the reason, we only have the startling results!
“Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men, but to God.”” “When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what happened.” (Acts 5:3-5)
This should make each one of us think and evaluate our own hearts and giving. We need mercy more than ever! This is a New Testament story to warn God’s people that dealing with God is serious business! Amazingly, the church grew and many souls were added after this judgment! The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of Truth!
Scripture reading for November 8th: Acts 5-7
Stephen was a young deacon in the early church. He was a man full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom and was chosen to help serve the Grecian widows who were being neglected in the daily food distribution and to insure no partiality. (Acts 6:1-5) His work was to take a load off of the Apostles so that they could give attention to prayer and ministry of the Word. The Apostles prayed over Stephen and the others, laying hands on them to consecrate them for their task. What a wonderful blessing it must have been to be so close to those who walked with Jesus and to be called to serve! In fact, we are all told that setting our heart on being a deacon or overseer is to desire a noble task! (1st Timothy 3:1)
Acts records that Stephen did many signs and wonders among the people. (Acts 6:8-14) This brought opposition from the Jews and they brought false charges against Stephen. They had him arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious council. False witnesses accused Stephen of speaking against the Temple and the law of God. As Stephen faced these religious rulers, it is recorded that “his face was like the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:15)
Stephen preached to them in the power of the Holy Spirit, recounting the history of God’s people from Abraham to Jesus Christ. He showed them how God’s people had rejected God’s leader, Moses, and broken His laws. He then spoke plainly to them about their complicity in crucifying Jesus. “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was their ever a prophet your father’s did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered Him–“ (Acts 7:51-52)
“When they heard this they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”” At this, they stoned Stephen to death as he prayed for their pardon to the One standing to receive him! It’s a noble task to be a deacon!