Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum


Acts 5:1-9
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? (Acts 5:4)
Death of Ananias and Sapphira compels us to face the fact that we are accountable for our deeds and not for what our names imply. The name Ananias means—the Lord is gracious, and Sapphira means beautiful. But both were judged by God according to their actions and intentions. Their donation which was garnered from the property sale, seemingly an expression of faith, unity and fellowship, had a significant difference from what Barnabas had done. Ananias kept a part of the proceeds. But was that the cause of death or something else?

In verse 4, Peter argues that the property belonged to Ananias before the sale, and once it was sold, the proceeds were still at his disposal. This means that Ananias could have done with the proceeds just as he wished. Therefore, he was not condemned for withholding a part of the proceeds, but was condemned for lying about it. Last part of verse 4 makes it clear by stating "You have not lied to men but to God." So, why did Ananias and Sapphira lie? It was because their hearts lusted after glory and self-exaltation.

They wanted the glory of giving; they wanted the believers to be impressed that they would give all of the proceeds from the property sale. They also wanted the glory of the people. As Richard Weaver, an American scholar said "nothing good can come, if the will is wrong," Ananias and Sapphira had an ulterior motive of self-exaltation in their generosity. We must understand that sin blinds us to the true nature of the offense that our sin is against God, and we lose the spiritual insight Jesus explained in Luke 9: 25 that "what good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet loses his soul."
1. God punishes what we might call trivial offenses: Here, Ananias and Sapphira were not heathens; murderers; adulterers; drunkards; or even thieves who stole from others, but they only kept some of their own wealth and lied about it.
2. God must always be glorified: A greater principle is being taught that God alone must be glorified always.
3. Obedience with ulterior motive is disobedience: Jesus said, "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 6:1). In our pursuit of holiness and godliness, let us always remember that we are accountable for integrity and obedience, which are far more delightful to God than our sacrifices.

Therefore, love God supremely and others sacrificially.

Blessed heavenly father; author and perfecter of our faith, help us live with integrity and walk in truthfulness. Help up to offer all glory and honor unto you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen
The test of a man's true character is what he does when no one's watching.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church