Read Acts 4 -- 6
In Today's Reading:
Peter and John imprisoned; believers share their possessions; Ananias and Sapphira; seven helpers chosen; Stephen's arrest
Loyalty to the Lord and love for one another permeated the first Church. The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that any of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. . . . as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made to every man according as he had need (Acts 4:32,34-37). Undoubtedly, this was a great encouragement to the congregation because most Jews who confessed Jesus as the Messiah had probably lost their jobs. There is no mention of anyone being required to sell his property or to share his wealth.
Ananias and his wife Sapphira also sold a piece of property; but, they gave only a part of the proceeds to the Church while implying they were giving everything just as others had done (5:1-2). The property was theirs to dispose of as they chose. All giving was voluntary (5:4). But, the "generous gift" of Ananias and Sapphira was a lie to the Holy Spirit (5:3; Revelation 21:8; Jeremiah 17:9).
The problem today is even more serious, not because Christians keep part of the proceeds of a sale, but because many refuse to give even a tithe (10%) of their income, the minimum that God requires for the ministry of His Word. Tithing is not an option we have; it is a debt we owe. God rightfully owns all that He created, but He only requires us to return to Him one-tenth of what He has entrusted to us, thereby acknowledging that we are only stewards (managers) of His property.
This principle was demonstrated by Abraham over 500 years before the Law was given (Genesis 14:20; Hebrews 7:1-2). Later, the Law stated: All the tithe (tenth portion) of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD's: it is holy (set apart) to the LORD (Leviticus 27:30).
The Holy Spirit also directed Luke to write that you can't outgive God, Who said: Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete withal (measure anything) it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38).
5:2 being privy to it = knowing of, helped plan the deception; 6:11 suborned = influenced to do wrong, bribed.
For Acts 4:11: See Psalm 118:22. Acts 4:25-26: See Psalm 2:1-2.
BP Staff: Clarence Rathbone · Pray for U.S. Center for World Missions and General Director Greg Parsons · Government Officials: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (GA) and Rep. Silvestre Reyes (TX) · Country: Cameroon (15 million) in west-central Africa · Major languages: English and French · Pressure on Christians from authorities and Muslims · 28% Roman Catholic; 23% Muslim; 18% animism, divination, and animal sacrifices; 14% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray, remembering that there is no one like God (II Kings 19:14-15,19).
Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 5:22