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Bobby Stafford Two Examples Of Sharing
Acts 4:32 - 5:11 (Lesson 16)

The Book of Acts

Two Examples of Sharing

Text:  Acts 4:32 – Acts 5:11


I.  Gave As Anyone Had Need (Acts 4:32-37)

Verse 32  Acts 4:32 “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.”  NKJV  Jesus had prayed that His followers would be united.  (John 17:20-21) “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” NKJV  That prayer is answered in the early days of the church as seen here.  The Christians had unity of heart and mind – a unity that came from deep within.  They recognized that all their possessions were ultimately God’s.  (Psalm 24:1) “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.”  NKJV  They exhibited a spirit of selflessness.

Verse 33  Acts 4:33 “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  And great grace was upon them all.”  NKJV  The apostles kept doing what was illegal, preaching the gospel!  Non-believers found this message favorable because they saw the love and concern shown among the believers.  Gospel preaching is greatly helped by Christian living.  (I Peter 2:12) “having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” NKJV  There was an outpouring of grace upon them.

Verse 34  Acts 4:34 “Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold.”  NKJV  “Not a needy person” – Note:  Deuteronomy 15:4-5. “except when there may be no poor among you; for the Lord will greatly bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance – Only if you carefully obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe with care all these commandments which I command you today.”  NKJV  Whenever a need arose, some of the Christians would sell possessions to meet that need.  This was totally voluntary and was sparked by their love and concern for each other.  In the near future, the Jerusalem church would suffer hardship and be dependent upon the generosity of believers from other areas.  (Romans 15:25-28) “But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints.  For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.  It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors.  For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.  Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain.”  NKJV

Verse 35  Acts 4:35 “and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”  NKJV  Here is a hint of a common treasury.  (I Corinthians 16:1-2) “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also:  On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.”  NKJV  It was based upon need.  Note:  Deuteronomy 15:4.  [See Acts 4:34] 

Verses 36-37  Acts 4:36-37 “And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”  NKJV  A specific example is given.  Barnabas was of the tribe of Levi from Cyprus.  He and Paul did missionary work there later.  (Acts 13:4) “So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus,:  NKJV  Encouragement gives comfort, exhortation.  Barnabas’ gift of sharing what he had serves as a great example.

II.  Kept Back Some of the Proceeds  (Acts 5:1-11)

Verses 1-2  Acts 5:1-2 “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.  And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”  NKJV  “But” – a sharp contrast is now given.  Ananias – “Jehovah has been gracious”, soon learns about God’s justice.  This is the first recorded sin in the church.  The sin was lying, saying that what they gave was the full price of the land.  Ananias was a hypocrite, pretending to be something he wasn’t.  Jesus had strong remarks for hypocrites.  (Matthew 23:25-28) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. . .  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you are like whitewashed tombs  which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness..  Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”  NKJV  Why did they do this?  It was possible they wanted the praise of men without having to sacrifice.  So they had to lie about the purchase price.

Verses 3-4  Acts 5:3-4 “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?  While it remained, was it not your own?  And after it was sold, was it not in your own control?  Why have you conceived this thing in your heart?  You have not lied to men but to God.’ ” NKJV  While he was expecting praise, he received a huge shock.  His sin was exposed!  God knows the hearts of men.  (Acts 1:24) “And they prayed and said, ‘You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen’ ” NKJV  Ananias had allowed Satan to control his thoughts.  (James 4:7) “Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” NKJV  He had lied to the Holy Spirit, who is God.  (II Corinthians 13:14) “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  Amen.” NKJV  When one lies to the church, the temple of God, he lies to God.  Ananias did not have to sell the land and if he did, he did not have to give all the money to the apostles.  It was under his control.  But he “kept back” part of the money and pretended that he had given it all.  This is similar to the sin of Achan in Joshua 7.

Verses 5-6  Acts 5:5-6 “Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last.  So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.  And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.” NKJV  Ananias died as a result of his sin, death by divine judgment.  (I Corinthians 10:6-11)  God has not changed.  He still hates sin as much as He ever did.  We must take sin seriously.  Note:  Acts 12:23 which refers to Herod.  “Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God.  And he was eaten by worms and died.”  NKJV

Verses 7-8  Acts 5:7-8 “Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  And Peter answered her, ‘Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?’  She said, ‘Yes, for so much.’ ” NKJV 

More tragedy was to come.  Apparently Peter had commanded those present not to tell anyone about Ananias’ death.  Sapphira told the same lie.  She revealed her hard heart.  (Ephesians 4:25) “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.” NKJV

Verses 9-10  Acts 5:9-10 “Then Peter said to her, ‘How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord?  Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.’  Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last.  And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.” NKJV  Do not be accused of putting God to the test, to see how far you can go, to see if God will really do what He said He would do.  (Numbers 14:20-23) “22 because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.”  NKJV  (Psalm 95:7-11) “9 When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work.” NKJV  We see in this act that God looks at motives.  Why we do something is as important as what we do.  (I Samuel 16:7) “Also Shimei said thus when he cursed:  ‘Come out!  Come out!  You bloodthirsty man, you rogue!” NKJV

Verse 11  Acts 5:11 “So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.”  NKJV  Great fear – mega fear  People were terrified.  We see the importance of church discipline.  It is to help keep the church pure.  God tells the church it is not an option.  (Matthew 18:15-17) “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he hears you, you have gained your brother.  But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church.  But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”  NKJV  (I Corinthian 5:1-13) “11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person.  12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside?  Do you not judge those who are inside?  13 But those who are outside God judges.  Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person.”  NKJV  It lets the world know where we stand.

Conclusion:  The unity of God’s people is a wonderful thing.  But when sin threatens that unity, it must be dealt with.  God hates and judges sin. 

(Hebrews 10:30-31) “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.  And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  NKJV


Bobby Stafford 
July 12, 2015 [Evening] 
Acts:  Lesson 16  Acts 4:32-5:11

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