06 - THE LYING CHURCH

 

In this week’s study of the Book of Acts, we have arrived at the Lying Church present in Acts 4:32-5:16.  In this section, it shows how the early church continued to grow and how no one was in need because people were actually selling land and homes and giving it away to those who had need.

Pretty incredible stuff!  We think it is awesome when people give 10% to meet a need, and these people were actually selling stuff if the need was too great.

Then, they walked in.

Ananias and Sapphira were a part of the church.  They were watching all the hype happening with the people.  The church was celebrating individuals for their acts of holiness, and they decided to try to cash in on the excitement.

Bad, bad idea.

They did sell a piece of land.  They did give some of the money to the church, but they lied about how much it was so that they could: 1) benefit themselves, and 2) receive praise from man.  The Holy Spirit alerted Peter of their deception, and he calls them out individually and each of them dies in the midst of the church body.

I’m sure Peter had everyone’s attention then!  Can you imagine this scene at your church house if this happened on a Sunday morning?!

Here’s what we can take away:

  •  As a church grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the standard high.  When you can get lost in a crowd, morality can be hit or miss.  While the width of the church was growing, it wasn’t growing in depth consistently.  Part of the reason for God’s drastic action was to remind this growing crowd that God takes sin seriously.
  • When sin is confronted publicly, everyone evaluates privately.  This account serves as an example of the New Testament’s policy on sin.  What is done in the dark should be exposed in the light.  When everyone saw how Peter confronted sin publicly and how God handled it, everyone did some serious evaluation.  Everyone did some serious self-reflection to make sure sin wasn’t in their own lives.  Our concept of being secretive concerning sins is not exactly biblical.  Jesus told us to find a brother in sin and then 1) take it to him in private, 2) bring someone else along, and 3) if they don’t listen, bring it before the church (Matthew 18).  This public example causes everyone to reflect and make sure they are living holy lives.
  • God is not mocked: whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.  This truth from Galatians 6 is a reminder: our sin will find us out.  God will expose us in time.  It is better for us to repent before he disciplines us for it.

Check yourself.  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if there is anything sinful in your life that needs to be addressed.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.