MONDAY, OCTOBER 2
SCRIPTURE: Acts 5
Jesus said that the He would build His church. The church is His and His alone. Not only did He build it but He also paid a great price for it. Ephesians 5:25 says that Jesus loved the church and gave up His life for her.
It then should not come as a surprise that Satan would be totally opposed to the church and would do everything within his power to destroy the church. What better time to do that then when the church was in its infancy.
Satan ain’t no fool. Obviously he knew if he were going to stop the church, he would have to have several angles of attack. We see some of that in this chapter. Satan actually used people within the church to try to bring distraction and disunity. And Satan used people outside of the church to try to accomplish the same thing.
As the chapter opens we meet Ananias and Sapphira. They decided to sell a piece of property but only to bring a part of the selling price to the apostles and the church. There was no rule in the church that they had to sell property although several people obviously did that. But no one was forced to do that.
Similarly, there was no rule that if you sold a piece of property that you had to bring the total selling price to the apostles and the church. Ananias and Sapphira were well within their rights when they held back part of the selling price. Where they messed up is they lied about it. They wanted everyone to believe they brought all the money to the church. God never takes well to hypocrisy. And His response to this situation was quick and decisive. Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead.
As you might imagine that caused great fear among those in the church as well as those outside the church. (See verse 11). But the church continued to grow at an incredible, miraculous rate. People were being healed. People were being saved. And the name of Jesus was continuing to be proclaimed.
The Jewish religious leaders couldn’t stand that. So they had the apostles arrested and thrown into prison. God led a jail break and the apostles went right back to the Temple complex and preached Jesus. The religious leaders brought the apostles back to the council. In verse 28, they told the men to quit preaching in the name of Jesus. I love the apostle’s response. In verse 30, they were preaching Jesus to the religious leaders.
The religious leaders decided the best solution to this was to kill the apostles. But a Jewish Pharisee named Gamaliel convinced them not to do that. So the religious leaders had the apostles beaten and told them again to quit speaking in the name of Jesus.
The chapter ends with a most powerful statement. Those apostles just kept on preaching Jesus. They preached in the Temple (a very public place) and from house to house (a much more private place). They just kept on preaching Jesus.
I have to tell you that as I came to that last sentence in this chapter, I smiled. It is an incredible thing to think about people who willingly put their lives on the line so that others might hear about Jesus. May we be so bold in our proclamation of His great name.