32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
5 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Verses 32-35 tells us that the way of life for true believers is believing in the one true God; loving each other; helping each other; sharing everything we have with each other, so that no one is lacking in anything; so that we are more able, that we can all be blessed and thus to give a good testimony of Jesus Christ. Through loving our God with all our heart, soul and strength, and loving each other as ourselves—this is better than any sacrifice or other rituals. This is the most beautiful blessing we can receive.
Verses 36-51 tells us of two kinds of people:
- Barnabas: Honestly and willingly sold his fields and gave all his silver and everything he owned to God, and God blessed him with treasures from heaven, “Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, and a great many people were added to the Lord.” (Acts 11:24). The Holy Spirit says: “Assign me Barnabas and Saul to go and do the work I have called them to do”. During the time when the disciples were too afraid to meet with Saul, Barnabas took Saul and led him to the other disciples. Paul openly shared about his encounter with God on the road, how God spoke to him, and how he went on to boldly proclaim the gospel in Damascus. Later Barnabas sought Saul out again in Tarsus, and when he found him took him to Antioch. Together they spent a year teaching and developing church fellowship, bringing the gospel to many. It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians”.
- Ananias and Sapphira: They also sold their land, however not in an honest way or as a willing offering to God. They lied in front of God and others, not telling the truth. God is righteous and holy, God cannot be mocked, cannot be despised, nor does God deal with their guilt lightly. Ananias and Sapphira were killed not because they did not give up all their silver, but because they lied to men, lied to God, and had let their hearts be filled with Satan, who caused their hearts to do evil deeds and lie to the Holy Spirit.
submitted by Li Qiang
PRAYING IN FAITH
Ask God to guide you, so that you can let your heart be willing, and sincerely give everything to God, to fear God and acknowledge His righteousness, so you can serve Him well.
For your five
Ask God to help you speak the truth like Barnabas, boldly and with dedication, to love God with all our mind and to love your five (and our neighbours) as ourselves.
For our church
Pray that God will lead our church, so that we can wholeheartedly love each other and help each other. Pray to have courage and grace to give the testimony of Jesus.