July 11, 2021
What’s the big deal?
As we move ahead in our look at the early church in Acts, we see resistance continuing from the Jewish leaders in the 4th chapter of Acts which, of course, we did not read and now we move ahead to the 5th chapter. Had we read the last five verses of Acts 4, we would have seen that there was such a spirit of unity many were selling everything they had and giving everything to the apostles so they could use it as the Holy Spirit led, which leads us to the verses we read today.
There was a husband and wife, Ananias and Sapphira. These two were apparently followers in the early church and wanted to appear to join with everyone else in giving all they had to the apostles. However, that is not quite what they did. We see they sold a piece of property and decided together to give part of the money to the apostles but to keep part for themselves. When they presented the money for the land to the apostles, however, they made it appear that that was all they had gotten for the land. They were “giving it all” to the apostles so they said. Obviously, the Holy Spirit revealed to Peter that was not the truth. Peter confronted Ananias with what happened. Peter pointed out to him the property and its worth are yours for you and your wife to do with as you wish. However, do not try to claim you are giving everything when you are purposely holding back some. Essentially Peter was saying, “If you wanted to keep some back, that is fine, but do not lie to us and to God claiming you are, like everyone else, giving it all to the church.” Once Ananias heard this from Peter, we see what happened. He died right there on the spot. About 3 hours later we see Ananias’ wife returns to the place the apostles are and the first thing Peter asks her is how much did you sell your property for? Peter was giving her a chance to save herself and tell the truth. She also, however, told a lie about what they received for the property. Peter basically also said to Sapphira, “Why are you lying to us and to God?” He then pointed out the ones who just buried her husband and “they are now here for you.” Immediately Sapphira died as well. We see that everyone in the church was in great fear after they heard what had happened to Ananias and Sapphira. What do you think our reaction would be in this church if we knew someone told “a kind of harmless lie” and instantly died? Would we change the way we talk to people and especially the way we do things with God? Is it fair that the Holy Spirit made that lie to the apostles and the church such a life and death deal? Why do you think God did do this with Ananias and Sapphira? I believe it was the most extreme way to get the early church’s attention about being honest with one another and God.
The 2 most important things in any relationship are trust and unity. The early church was beginning to have more and more pressure put on them from all sides. While we know God’s word says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we need to limit those intentional lies, those sins that misrepresent us to one another and the communities we are a part of. In the early church, trust and unity was going to be so important as Satan attacked them from all sides. God knew that, and chose to use Ananias and Saphira as an extreme example to help the church realize how important honesty is among believers. What God is saying to us is to be honest about what you will do and what you will not do. And while it is always best not to promise more than you are able to do, there is a difference between really planning on doing something but having life happen and saying you are going to do something but not ever planning on doing whatever it is.
We are looking at restarting the children’s story time and the Sunday School class. The thing you need to get that started is someone to do the story and lead the lesson. If any one of us is not comfortable doing those things, that is alright. However, if we say we will do either or from time to time both, we need to try our hardest to make sure we do. When we all work together to the best of our abilities and say to God, “Here I am, use me,” that is all God asks. Yes, sometimes things happen that prevent us from doing all the things we say we will do. The example of Ananias and Sapphira is not about that. It is an example of two people intentionally lying, not only to the apostles, but also to God. No one told them they had to give all the money to the apostles just because others had. That does not mean they had to. They simply should have been honest with everyone instead of trying to make it look like, “Hey see what we have done!”
The question for you and me is to answer is the question, “What’s the big deal?” God, to put it simply, wants us to be willing to do the things we say we will do. At the same time, be honest with yourself, God and others by knowing your limits. It is never a bad thing to do more than we say we will do, as long as everyone understands what is going on. You and I must simply, ourselves, know what we are doing and why we are doing the things we do as we seek to serve God to the best of our abilities.
Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday
July 14 Board Meeting: 6:15 Executive Committee; 7:00 Commissions; 7:30 Board
July 17 2:30 CUIC Music and Ice Cream in Born Park
Several musicians are participating.
August 11 Executive Committee
August 14 Oakley Brick Church Pork Chop Supper
If you would like to view Annual Conference worship sessions, go to www.brethren.org/AC2021/ and click on the link. They were all excellent.
Thanks to everyone for your faithful giving!
Donation Box: AC bills
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:
Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.
District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook
Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook
Keep in Your Prayers
Family of Galen Handley; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); David Roe; Tera Runyan; Tim Laird; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Sherry Wright; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 600,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; victims of the volcano in Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Church of the Brethren vision statement:
Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.