In the beginning of this passage, we see the genuine concern that all the believers in the early church had for one another. Today, it appears that many people in our society could care less about the person next door to them let alone down the street or in the community at large. The early church is the model in which we derive our church from today, but it appears in some cases that we forgot the lessons that are founders based everything they did on, that is caring for the physical as well as the spiritual well-being of all the members of the early church. When a church truly cares about the spiritual and personal well-being of those within its sphere of influence it will grow, become fruitful and multiply.
By the same token when there are discord and unevenly yoked persons within the church, the church begins to break down. These are the times you begin to see the cliques and divisions within the church. When this happens there is a negative ripple that goes thru the body of Christ. Stopping that ripple is paramount to the health and continued growth of the body of Christ. The example of Ananias and Sapphira would have poisoned the early church. Therefore they were struck down before their example could spread like a virus thru the church. The believers heeded the message when they heard of the incident of Ananias and Sapphira, realizing that they might be able to lie and deceive man but they could not deceive God and the Holy Spirit.
In today’s church, there are plenty of Barnabas’. There are quite a few Ananias and Sapphira’ as well. It is every pastor’s duty to do all that he can do to keep the flock equally yoked and focused on responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, aiding and serving our neighbors in love, and not holding back in our gifts to God. In this story the gift was financial. The gift can be financial, talents, time or whatever God leads you to give. God must come first to the Christian and not one’s self, personal lusts, and greed. When a Christian makes that confession of faith and asks Christ to lead his life, the Christian must then listen for the leadings of Christ thru the Spirit and be fully responsive to his calling. We are called out to continue to aid the poor, seek the lost, and build up the body of Christ for the glory of God. There are cases where our excess may be needed by God for his work when God calls on us for his portion we can not keep what is rightfully Gods’.
This is relevant to mission minded Churches like the Salvation Army and the Church of the Nazarene in a few different ways. The first way is the God-ordained mission of both these churches within the greater body of Christ is absolutely dependent on their entire congregations being in agreement and of one mind. When the congregations are of one mind, that which seems nearly impossible, with the Lord’s blessing can be achieved. The mission of the early church, as well as the mission of The Salvation Army and the Church of the Nazarene, is clearly laid out. No one is forced to participate, but if they do there is a certain amount of expectancy the members will do their part when they are called on. These churches truly are “a volunteer army” there is a choice. Ananias and Sapphira had a choice and they choose to do things their way, doing things their way, like many of their predecessors, cost them their physical lives. Today not listening to God’s call may not cost you your physical life, but there is a high probability that is can cost you eternally if amends’ are not made.
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Click on any link below to read the other parts of this blog entry:
The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 1
The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 2
The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 3
The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 4
The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 5
The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 6