The Community of the Holy Spirit

Posted by admin on 2 July 2017 in Acts |

Acts 4:32 – 37

Acts 5:1 – 11

I. The believers shared their possessions (Acts 4:32 – 37)

See Acts 4:32.

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.

God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there was no needy person among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need (Acts 4:33b, Acts 4:34 - 35).

 

Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet (Acts 4:36, 37).

II. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1 – 11)

Bearing the part I in mind, let us take a close look at Acts 5:1 – 11.

A man named Ananias together with his wife Sapphira also sold a piece of property (Acts 5:1).

With his wife’s full knowledge, he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet (Acts 5:2).

They died by God’s judgement as shown in Acts 5:5. Before we continue to study on this topic, let us learn what Jesus taught in Luke 13:4.

Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.’

And Jesus taught a parable to show that sure judgement was simply delayed to give an opportunity for repentance in Luke 13:6 – 8.
The instance written Acts 5:1 – 11 also gives a warning that leads them to repent.

Let us read what Peter said to Ananias in Acts 5:3, 4.

Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.’

Also let us read what Peter said to Sapphira in Acts 5:9.

Peter said to her, ‘How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.’

Brief summary:

  1. Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3)

The devil is a liar. See John 8:44b.

for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

So, Peter told Ananias, “Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit” in Acts 5:3.

[1] One must remember that the community was “of one heart and mind” (Acts 4:32). This spiritual unity lay behind their not claiming their possessions as their own, their sharing everything they had. They were the community of the Holy Spirit, and in this community they placed all their trust, found their identity and their security. But this was not so with Ananias. His heart was divided. He had one foot in the community and the other still groping for a toehold on the worldly security of earthly possessions. To lie with regard to the sharing was to belie the unity of the community, to belie the Spirit that undergirded that unity. That is why Peter accused Ananias of lying to the Spirit. The Greek expression is even stronger than that—he “belied,” he “falsified” the Spirit.89 His action was in effect a denial, a falsification of the Spirit’s presence in the community. All this had happened because he had allowed the archenemy of the Spirit, Satan, to enter his heart. Satan “filled” Ananias’s heart just as he had Judas’s (cf. Luke 22:3). Like Judas, Ananias was motived by money (cf. Luke 22:5). But in filling the heart of one of its members, Satan had now entered for the first time into the young Christian community as well. [1]

  1. They conspired and tested the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:9)

Let’s look at ‘test’.

When the devil tempted Jesus to throw Himself down from temple top (to experience God’s protection), Jesus answered him

“Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Matthew 4:7).

If you expect God may do as you expect, you are testing God. In the gathering of the believers, they may not be or do as you expect. If there is any disappointment by you, the real problem may be in you testing God.

Sapphira expected God might neglect the lie but He didn’t.

Finally, let us read and meditate Galatians 6:7 – 10.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

[Reference]

[1] Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 157). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

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