Focal Passages: Acts 4:32-35; 5:1-6; 6:1-7
The biblical picture of the church as the body of Christ seems like a foreign concept to many Christians. Unfortunately, this model has been replaced often with secular substitutes, such as the country club, bank, family chapel or civic organization.
These models subtly replace Christ’s design for His church as one body with Him as the Head and many members working together for the common good (1 Corinthians 12).
While the biblical model clarifies the damage done to the whole body when the members don’t cooperate, secular substitutes allow and even encourage an “every man for himself” mentality that contradicts God’s intended focus on the needs of others (Philippians 2:3-4) and the ultimate goal – His glory.
Acts 5 begins with a strong “but” to contrast the sin of Ananias and Sapphira with the selfless giving demonstrated by the early church.
They played along with the structure of the church, but lacked its heart. Instead of transparently giving as they felt led by the Holy Spirit, they lied to God and His people and robbed Him of part of what they said they had given.
Their exceptionally bad choice showed that people who are not walking with God will not bring unity and health to the local church.
Sadly, Ananias and Sapphira chose their glory over God’s, and made history as two of the clearest examples of God’s ultimate discipline.
By the grace of God the church has been blessed with many exemplary members.
In Acts 6 the church chose a group of spiritually mature and wise men to make sure food was being distributed to the Greek speaking Jewish widows.
This “growing pain” had become a source of division in the body of Christ and required men who could be released to lead in practical areas while the apostles focused on the ministry of the Word and prayer.
May God give us the wisdom to develop indispensible servant leaders who show us that much can be accomplished for God when it matters little if people get any earthly credit for their service.