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Bible Pathways - November 10, 2005

November 10

Read Acts 4

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 ought (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 unto 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 that the Lord required anyone to sell his property or to share his wealth.

A man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira also sold a piece of property; yet, they hypocritically gave only a part of the proceeds to the church but gave the impression that 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" offered by Ananias and Sapphira was a lie to the Holy Spirit (5:3-5; 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 instructs us to willingly return to Him one-tenth of what He has entrusted to us, thereby acknowledging that we are loyal 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) unto the LORD (Leviticus 27:30).

The Holy Spirit also directed Luke to write that you can't outgive God, who has declared: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete (measure) withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38).

Word Studies:

5:2 being privy to it = knowing of it, she helped plan the deception; 6:11 suborned = influenced to do wrong, bribed.

Cross References:

For Acts 4:11: See Psalm 118:22. Acts 4:25-26: See Psalm 2:1-2.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Mr. Charles Serball · Staff: Benjamin Wallace · Government Officials: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (GA) and Rep. Silvestre Reyes (TX) · Country: Turkmenistan (4 million) southwestern central Asia · Major languages: Turkmen and Russian · Religious freedom: 76% Muslim; 6% Russian/Armenian Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Call upon the Lord in time of trouble, for He promises to hear us (Psalm 18:6).

Memory Verse for the Week: James 1:22

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