The Book of Acts Chapter 5 Part 1
Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for Jesus everywhere they go. Today, we hope to discuss purging and persecution.
(Click here for pdf version)
Read Acts 5:1-11
E. Purging and Persecution (5:1-42). 1. Purging From Within (5:1-11). Ananias and Saphira, husband and wife, were in agreement to present a portion of the proceeds from the sale of a parcel of land, as if it were the entire amount received.
We see in this section of the book of Acts as a result of this lie or misrepresentation, Ananias died and was buried. Three hours later, his wife came to the Apostles and supported the lie.
She died and was buried also. Great fear was experienced in that area, when people heard what happened.
- Wanting unearned recognition. Notice in vss. 1-2 of this section of the book of Acts that it seems that Ananias and Saphira wanted to be recognized at a level that they had not achieved.
They wanted to be recognized as those who gave all of the money from a sell, when in reality they only gave some of the money from a sell.
It is similar to a person standing with the tithers, when in reality they are only giving 5% or 7% of their income. It is like a person wanting to be recognized as a great asset in the church, when in reality their seniority and advance years is more impressive than any service they have rendered.
Let's make sure that we don’t yield to this type of temptation. We should do our best to please the Lord. If we are recognized for what we do, that is great.
If we are not recognized then it is good that we were doing it for the Lord and not for the recognition of people. Don't let the devil have you acting like something that you know you are not.
- Lying to the Lord. Notice in vss. 3-4 that when Ananias and Saphira lied to the Apostles and church, they were actually lying to God. There are too many who are too unconcerned about the monthly lies told, as they read the Church Covenant.
There are too many who are too unconcerned about the lie told in their marriage vows about being faithful. There are too many who are too unconcerned about their reputation for being unreliable. Let's work on being people of our word.
When we lie to the people of God, specifically the person whom God is using as the leader, we are at risk of angering God to the point of His punishing us. It would be better to promise low and perform high than to promise high and perform low.
For some, they need to simply step back from making a commitment, until they are really ready to perform it.
- Messing with God's money. Notice in vss. 5-6 of this section of the book of Acts that God is serious about His money and lying. Both Ananias and Saphira were killed because of their lying about God's money.
Achan (see Joshua 7:16-26) was severely punished because of his messing with God's money. Malachi 3:8-10 talks about the danger of messing with God's money. And yet most of those who come to church rob God of His tithes and offerings on a regular basis and then lie in songs like "I Surrender All."
Let's work on avoiding the sins of messing with God's money and lying. What God has done to others, He can do to us. Be a part of that group who learns from the mistakes of others.
Don't be like those who have to be punished by God, in order to believe that God still punishes sin.
- Guilty by association. Notice in vs. 7-11 of this section of the book of Acts that even though Saphira was not the initiator of the lie, she was killed as well. She was a supporting of the wickedness.
There are too many who don't come up with the wicked plans, but they support them. And too many of us are guilty of supporting wrong, not by our verbal support but by our inactivity. We support whoever is in political office, when we don't vote.
We support violence and crime in our communities, when we don't cooperate with authorities to get rid of it. Let's not be a part of anyone's wrong doing.
- Constructive fear. Notice in vs. 11 of this section of the book of Acts that there was great fear or reverence when the people heard about what happened with Ananias and Saphira.
On one hand, it seems that the fear of God is decreasing by the day. Too many people do too many terrible things in and out of the church, with no apparent fear, reverence, or regard for God.
On the other hand, God doesn't want us to simply be afraid. He wants us to be afraid enough to obey His will. Think about how some of our parents did not simply want us to fear the negative consequences of acting out in school.
They want us to fear them enough to behave ourselves. Let's work on fearing God enough to obey His will. At the core of God's will is for us to make sure we are saved and focused on loving Him, ourselves, and others.
Read Acts 5:12-21
2. Purging From Without (5:12-42). The Apostles did many miracles among the people in this section of the book of Acts. Even though there was a fear about getting close to them, people would bring the sick to be healed. And they were healed.
The Chief Priest and his associates were so jealous of what was going on that they arrested the Apostles. However, the angle of the Lord released them to keep on sharing God's word. The Apostles were obedient to the angle.
- Many good works. Notice in vss. 12-16 of this section of the book of Acts that there was so much good work going on.
Even though the Apostles were known for performing miracles, which many of us don't have the ability to perform, we can all do some good works. The church and every Christian should be busy doing some good works.
Not only should we be focused on evangelism, but we should be responsive to other needs as well. There are so many young people who need positive adult influence. There are so many men and women who need positive peer influence.
There are so many communities who need advocates and help with their issues. Let's work on being busy with good works. The church's bulletin and bulletin boards should be filled with evidence that good works are a priority.
- Healthy respect. Notice in vs. 13 of this section of the book of Acts that there was a healthy amount of fear of the one whom God is using. There seems to be two extremes, in this regard.
On one side, some fear the Pastor and others whom God is using, as if they are little gods themselves. This is or is very close to the sin of idolatry.
On the other hand, there are those who treat the Pastor and those whom God uses, as if no special respect is merited.
It is interesting to see how people stand for the judge, as he/she comes into the court. People stand and applaud the President's entering the congressional chambers for the State of the Union.
People even stand for the singing of the national anthem for the country of their fore parents enslavement, but yet find it so difficult to give honor to those whom God is using.
Let learn to demonstrate a healthy amount of fear and respect for your Pastor and those whom God is using. God will bless you for blessing them and punish you for causing them grief.
Conclusion: Let's work on being witnesses for the Lord, wherever we go. God has much for those who obey His will.
Please click here to let us know, if this has been quality and helpful information for you (i.e., make sure you let us know the name of the article). Feel free to share your questions and comments about the article as well.
From the Book of Acts 5-1 to Bible Study
From the Book of Acts 5-1 to Home Page