Ananias and Sapphira

Preacher:

Main Scripture: Acts 4:32-5:16

Ananias and Sapphira

History shows that when the pressure is from the outside of the church, it has a refining effect. Internal conflict, when dealt with appropriately, brings good to the church, But often, it is not dealt with appropriately and much damage results. This is where church discipline comes in. Church discipline is an act of extending grace to unrepentant members.
This passage can be looked at under three headings:
SPIRITUAL PARADISE
The church was of one heart and mind. The people held their posessions loosely and gave generously. They lived out Mat 10:29-30, When you give up comforts and security for the Lord, you are blessed a 100-fold in the church. When you have to give up family for His sake, you have the family of God caring for you. And those who have possessions must remember that it is not actually ours, and we should be willing to give it up if necessary.
SATANIC PURPOSE
Ananias and Sapphira, who are now famous, but for all the wrong reasons, are set as examples for us.
The backdrop is the ongoing generosity among God's people, who were selling everything they had and giving it to the church. Ananias and Sapphire used that as an opportunity to elevate themselves before the church, conspiring to lie and pretend as if they were giving everything. They lied and tested the Holy Spirit, and God killed them.
This account teaches us what the Church needs to do in cases of conflict and when there is persistent unrepentant sin. It needs to address the sin, for the sake of the sinner and the church itself.
Sin is always more serious than we think it is, and sin in the church is no small matter and must be dealt with properly.
God killed these two sinners before the church as a warning that sin's proper consequence is death. And the people feared God.
Practicing church discipline is an extension of grace because in the first place, God can justifyably kill that unrepentant person. Church discipline is carried out in the hope that the sinner will be restored and to remind people of God's holiness and so to fear Him.
SPIRITUAL PROGRESS
Fearing God is the safest option for the church. When God dealt with Ananias and Sapphira, false converts stayed away, and the church grew exponentially.
Churches that tolerate sin don't grow, although they may attract numbers. And eventually they stop being churches altogether. Christ will come and purge the church of the evil and the false, goats from among the sheep, weeds from among the wheat.
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Jesus came to save sinners. We are all sinners like Ananias and Sapphira. We all come to church at times looking for acclaim or honour or glory. But Christ died even for hypocrites and liars.
Repent of your sins. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ, who died for our sins.