JERUSALEM: WE HAVE A PROBLEM
THREE HOURS LATER
TWO FUNERALS IN ONE SERVICE
February 13, 2005
INTRODUCTION: This is one of the stories which demonstrate the almost stubborn honesty of the Bible. It might well have been left out because it shows that even in the early church there were very imperfect Christians; but the Bible refuses to present an idealistic picture of anything. Once an artist painted a portrait of Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell was disfigured by warts upon his face. The artist, thinking to please the great man, omitted the disfiguring warts. When Cromwell saw the picture he said, "Take it away, and paint me, warts and all." It is one of the great virtues of the Bible that it shows us its heroes, warts and all! The good, the bad, and the ugly!
There is a certain encouragement in this story for it shows us that even in its greatest days, the church was a mixture of good and bad.
In Acts 4, we rejoiced in the graces and favor of the Almighty upon His people, even though they were persecuted and put in prison. But in Chapter 5, we are in another world. The chapter begins with the word, "But." W.A. Criswell called it "a black 'B' in my Bible." In the 5th chapter, there is death in the church.
In Chapter 5 we miss the contrast that the Holy Spirit is making because of the super-imposed chapter division. Actually, the story of Chapter 4, beginning at .v32, belongs to Chapter 5.
Describing the generosity of the church, Luke writes, "neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common."
Wherever one finds great generosity in a church, look at what follows.
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."
The church has experienced great favor, great power, and now great fear. The story of Ananias and Sapphira is a story that shows great contrast betwee ...
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