Sharing Among Believers
Text: Acts 4:32-5:11
I. Life among the early believers
A. The early Christians were so united that they did not consider ownership. They willingly shared all that they had.
B. The apostles continued to witness to the resurrection, proving their words with the power given to them.
C. God blessed them all
1. No believer was needy because the wealthy land-owners sold property and gave the money to the church to be distributed as a person had need.
2. An example was Joseph, who was nicknamed “son of encouragement” or Barnabas.
3. Of course, praise would go out to those who made such generous gifts at such sacrifice to their own wealth.
II. Ananias and Sapphira
A. A man and his wife decided to sell some of their property. We suppose they desired the praise of their brethren, but they were unwilling to give all the money.
B. Instead they kept a portion for themselves, but told the apostles that the money they gave was the full sale price.
C. What they didn’t realize is that God knew what they had done and the Holy Spirit, speaking through Peter scolded them for their lies.
1. Ananias was the one who brought the money.
2. Peter pointed out that while the property was in their possession, they could have done whatever they wanted with it. No one forced them to sell the property.
3. Even after its sale, they could have done whatever they wanted with the money. No one forced them to give it to the church.
4. The problem was not the amount they gave, but the lie that the amount was the entire sale price.
5. As Peter pointed out, they were not lying to their fellow brethren, but to God.
D. At this point Ananias died.
1. The members of the church, who witnessed this was struck with fear.
2. Some young men came and took Ananias’ body for burial.
E. Three hours later, Sapphira came in, no knowing what had happened to her husband.
1. Peter asked if the land they sold was sold for the amount given to the church.
2. She agreed, showing to all that she was apart of her husband’s plot.
3. Peter asked why she thought to test God in this manner. He told her that the men who had left to bury her husband were about to return and that they would bury her body as well.
4. They buried her besides her husband.
F. Obviously, the news of this event filled the followers with great fear.
1. The teachings were not mere words.
2. God expected his followers to live the life of godliness.
3. It is one thing to talk about not lying. It is another to find that God would back the apostles words in this fashion.