Highlights In Today's Reading:
Faithfulness in persecution (4:1-12). Disciples warned not to preach (4:13-18). How to combat threats (4:19-20,23-31; 5:29-32). Death by lying to Holy Spirit (5:1-11). Results of prayer, and . . . the ministry of the Word (6:4). A deacon full of faith and the Holy Spirit (6:1-6).
The church of Jerusalem expressed the spirit of love by the generous giving of their material resources. The multitude . . . that believed were of one heart. . . . Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them . . . and distribution was made . . . according as he (any) had need. . . . Barnabas . . . a Levite . . . Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the Apostles' feet (4:32,34-37). Devotion to the Lord, and a love for each other, permeated this congregation. Believers voluntarily sold their possessions and brought the money to be used for the ministry of the Lord. Barnabas' sacrifice undoubtedly greatly encouraged the congregation.
Then a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the Apostles' feet (5:1-2) while implying they were giving everything just as Barnabas had done.
This "generous" gift resulted in the death of Ananias and Sapphira. We need to consider why these two were judged so severely by God. The "possession" was theirs to dispose of as they chose, and all giving was voluntary (5:4).
The Holy Spirit led Peter to ask Ananias: Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost (Spirit), and to keep back part of the price? (5:3). This question reveals that truthfulness is vital to our relationship with the Lord. Peter revealed that their hypocrisy went far beyond lying to others: Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God (5:4). It is of utmost importance that we consider our motives, both in giving and in worship.
All who refuse to give the tithe to further reach a lost world with the Good News should realize that God has said: Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me (Mal. 3:9).
But the good news is that we can all be a Barnabas and prove Me . . . I will . . . pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. . . . And all nations (your mission field) shall call you blessed. . . . Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it (Mal. 3:10,12,16).
Thought for Today:
Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble (Ps. 41:1).
5:2 being privy to it =b> knowing of it, she helped plan the deception; 6:11 suborned =b> influenced to do wrong, bribed.
For Acts 4:11: See Ps. 118:22. Acts 4:25-26: See Ps. 2:1-2.
Pray for International Broadcasts in memory of Henry Rogers • Staff: Rita Guerra • Government Officials: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (GA) and Rep. Silvestre Reyes (TX) • Country: Laos (5 million) in Southeast Asia • Major languages: Lao and French • Great suppression of all Christian activities • 58% Buddhist; 33% belief in spirits and ancestor worship; 2% Christian; 1% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Recognize the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness and praise Him (Ps. 100:4-5).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 16:25