Focal Passage: Acts 4:36-5:11
It was my fifth grade year. I had found out a couple of weeks before report card day that I would be making a “C.” I had been told on the previous report card day that the punishment I had just received would be doubled if I came home with another “C.”
When I received my report card I discovered not one “C,” but two!” Somehow, in the mercy of God, I escaped what was coming.
Although grades are an earthly concern, this story is one example of the kind of standards my parents set for their children. When I fell below my father’s expectations, he said, “You can do better! It would be different if you couldn’t do any better, but you can!” The same is true for the local church.
Ananias and Sapphira pretended to follow the example of Barnabas, and claimed to give the church all the income from a piece of land while they kept a portion of the money for themselves. God enforced this first example of church discipline because they had lied to Him and put Him to the test.
The early Church had enjoyed the favor of the people (2:47) from a distance, but they would not allow lost or spiritually immature people to set the standards for the Body of Christ. Most people who reject the idea of church discipline claim it is “unloving,” and bad for church unity. On the contrary, how can we say we love someone while we let them wallow in ungodly behavior?
How can a church be unified as part of the body runs toward sin while the other part runs from it? Such claims to unity are false.
Most established churches cannot make these changes quickly, because their members have never been taught the biblical and practical dimensions of church discipline. However, pastors must love the Lord, His Word and His Body enough to lead their congregations in an intentional process of establishing meaningful membership. Remember, God takes the health and holiness of His Church seriously, and so should we.