Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mar 21: Acts 5

Today's reading in our daily plan is Acts 5. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • This chapter starts out with a couple dropping dead because they lied. This seems overly harsh for God to act this way, so let's take a closer look:
  • Ananias and Sapphira wanted to give money to the believers, just like Joseph from the last chapter.
  • They also wanted to keep some of it. This was fine with Peter, who said, “wasn’t the money at your disposal?"
  • And an unwillingness to let others know that they were keeping some of the money caused them to lie about the sale price on the property. The couple agreed to lie so that they could keep some of the money from their sale and still look as generous as the other believers. God did not tolerate these imposters and removed them from his people. He could’ve had them kicked out, but God chose to take their lives. 
  • The chapter ends with Peter and John’s second jailing and “interview” with the Sanhedrin. This time a wise man named Gamaliel speaks up with the truth. He says that if this movement is a human's idea it will fade like any other. But if this is of God, it will be unstoppable. So Peter and John are released -- but not before being whipped. This punishment prompts them to praise God for considering them worthy to suffer for Jesus.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • It is important to note that while in the United States people have a right to life, in relation to God people have the gift of life. Our lives belong to God and he has the right to take it from us. Whether he takes our life after we lie or at the end of a long life when we’re on our death beds, God still takes what belongs to him. And death is exactly what we deserve. Every day we spend alive is a gift from God.
  • Does this change your view of God? In Luke’s account of Jesus’ life, God is portrayed as a loving father waiting for his runaway son to return. But here we see that God is also intolerant of sin. God’s choice in any matter is final. And God chose to have his son take our place on the cross so that we can be forgiven of the sin that angers him. God, who hates sin, makes it possible for sinners to know him and become his children.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Alright, gut check time: God will accomplish his purpose whether we get involved, abstain, or fight against him. But do you really want to fight against what God is doing? Or act like you’re involved but really stay selfish like Ananias and Sapphira? Or do you want to be all in for Jesus, like Peter and John who praised God that they were considered worthy to suffer for him? Our choices can have a great impact for the Kingdom of God, or for something… less. The choice is yours.