Intro: The hearts of many people were purified as they accepted the gospel message while Ananias and Sappphira illustrate those who use the Christian religion for pretense.
God used great signs and wonders when He established Israel as His people when He brought them from Egypt to Palestine. God used great signs and wonders when He established the church, the body of Christ. The times of the early church were the formative years when people were watching to see if God was really authorizing their message and their existence. These early times of the church are still the focus of all who examine Christianity.
Judgment was often swift in coming to the Israelites who witness the
wondrous demonstrations of Godís power among them as when the earth opened up and swallowed Korahís following and 14000 others who paid for their sin with their lives. These horrible judgments were sign posts in Israelís history as a reminder to never take God too lightly.
A New heart
God works on the Heart
1. God, who knows the heart, ... purified their hearts by faith.
Itís the work of Godís spirit
Itís the first work of conversion
God works from the inside out
... I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
B. "Believers of one heart" v.
Soul mates. KJV "one soul"
Find common ground in Christ
Motivated to Share with the poor
Not everything but "from time to time"
Evidence of God at Work
Recognized that everything would soon be gone anyhow.
The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
1 Peter 4:7
Peter wrote 60+ AD. Jerusalem and Israel destroyed in 70 AD
Barnabas, "Son of Prophecy"
Joseph called Barnabas
Often translated "encourager"
Name actually means "son of prophecy"
Interpreted as consolation or exhortation
IE, one able to bring encouragement through speaking the word.
A Platform for Pretense?
Like a symbol of the future
Not withholding, but deceiving
Great concern to "look good"
"Kept back" fr. Gk. "clandestinely" "embezzle".
Deceit and deception would become the great enemy in the church..
Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth
... Acts 20:30-31
... follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
1 Tim. 4:1
Names bit Deceptive
Ananais fr. Hebrew "Jehovah has favored"
Sapphira fr. Hebrew that means "sapphire", a precious gem.
Why such severe and swift punishment?
Later deceivers seem to go untouched.
Foreshadows a Day of Judgment
God has appointed a day
For he has set a day when he will judge the world ... Acts 17:31
... that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.
"a day" Ė not an eternity.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!
... to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
2 Peter 2:9
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,....