Hey everybody! Right now when I say everybody I am saying "Hey" to myself as I am the only person in the world that knows I have a blog...that will change, though it will not change just by itself, but by me telling others "Hey I have a blog, you should read it!" Circumstances won't change by hoping for change....circumstances change by actively doing something about them. But that's for another day...
What I would like to muse (muse - to be absorbed in thought...and also a great band) about today is inspired by Jason Fitch's sermon from yesterday (9/28/09) on the fear of the Lord. His preaching was based around Acts 5:1-11 - the story of Ananias and Sapphira. The gist of Jason's sermon was this: don't trifle with God. To trifle means to treat someone or something with little respect. Ananias and Sapphira trifled with God by lying, saying that all the money they were giving to God was all they had received from selling a piece of land. But really, they were only giving a portion of the money. The wrong done here is not that Ananias and Sapphira did not give all the money...the wrong is that they lied about the amount they were giving. If they would have told Peter that they were only giving a portion, there would have been no harm done. There were other points that Jason made which were excellent, but the moral of the story is to not try and lie to the One who knows all things.
So why am I blogging about this? Well, while Jason was preaching I asked myself a question; a question I always ask when I read this story: why was this happily married couple struck down dead back then for lying to God and yet when people lie to God now (we all do) they live to see another day? Let me make a note by saying that if I were a betting man I would bet God has struck someone else dead in their tracks over the last 2000 years. But why this exclusive event?
While I asked myself this question yesterday I believe the Holy Spirit answered me with this, "The answer to your question is the same answer to the question 'why don't we see miracle healings today?'...it's a lack of faith and spiritual maturity in the church "*
That really made me start to think. You may be asking, "So if I had enough faith I could choose to strike down dead whoever I wanted to?" That's not the point I'm trying to make, though that would be pretty sweet... :) Look at the first church in the Book of Acts. It is the model for how church should be. We haven't improved church by adding Powerpoint presentations or videos...the last time I checked we haven't seen thousands come to Christ in a matter of days. Without a doubt the people of the first were a faith-filled people. Through the Holy Spirit, the Apostles knew who they were. Without arrogance they new they were bad dudes. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is in Acts 4:19-20 when Peter and John are before the Sadducees who are telling Peter and John to stop preaching about Jesus. Peter's response in verses 19-20: "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen or heard. "
Only a person that has faith in God knowing that He has their back says something like that. Who else besides me thinks they might melt under the same circumstances? Definitely not the apostles and I believe that this great faith wore off onto the members of the first church as well.
So how does that happily married couple that was struck down dead come into play? Here's how: The church in Acts had something special going on...they were a unified body. Acts 2:42 "And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need." The church was operating as a unified body. From what we read everybody got along and the Spirit was able to move freely because of this unity. Never since has the Holy Spirit moved in a body of believers as it did here. Three chapters later come Ananias and Sapphira who lie to God. BAM! They're dead. Why? Because that lifestyle of lying could have crippled this great, unified body. I believe that Ananias and Sapphira served as an example to the people and that for the greater good of the church it was better that the couple be removed from existence than potential fission...makes sense to me.
Now look at our church today. Where are the miracles? Where are the great workings in the church? Before those questions we must answer these: Where is the faith? Where is the body? The church standard of today is set a lot lower than in Acts. I believe that in Acts with the great power and unity that was in the church came an even greater responsibility to maintain purity and righteousness; hence the death of the happily married couple.
What if we truly desired to go from faith to faith and chose to become more like the church in Acts? I think we would see a great increase in signs and wonders, but I also think there would be a smaller room for error within the church.
So yeah, that's what's going through my head and it may have sounded better there than typing it out, but there it is. Please don't see this as me being dogmatic, it was just a new revelation to me.
Until next time...
*Miracle healings are taking place today, but too often they are not found in the modern luke-warm church...they are found where people are desperate for God and relied on Him for all their needs, just like the people in the Book of Acts were.