“A Christian believer needs a church, just as a candle needs a candlestick, a tree needs soil, and an electric light bulb needs a socket. Without a candlestick, a candle cannot stand; without soil, a tree cannot grow; without a socket, an electric bulb cannot shine. Neither can you. Without fellowship, a Christian can neither stand, nor grow, nor shine.”
Acts Chapter 5 holds the familiar story of Ananias and Sapphira. The message of this chapter focuses on individuals, their commitment to the Lord, and their fellowship within the church. The thud of Ananias and Sapphira made a huge impact in the city.
“No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people”. Acts 5:13
Can you imagine the challenge of the church as no one else dared join them at that challenging moment? Is our fellowship as the Body of Christ today making that kind of sounding impact? The impact to give all to Him? The heart of this story is not talking about money, it’s talking about holding back on the Lord. It may seem uncomfortable, but the key questions, “Are you willing to give all of yourself?” and, “What are you holding back?”, are before you and awaiting your answer.
In the case of Acts 5, it is not forgettable that the story of Ananias and Sapphira was centered around money. The theme and basic principle were fellowship and impact. The main principle was one hundred percent commitment to Him as Lord, to His word, His way of doing things, and what He had called each individual to do. The seriousness of what Ananias and Sapphira faced was about their fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and their place in the church at that time.
First and foremost, Ananias and Sapphira were required to do what the Lord had told them personally to do. They conspired this up on their own, pledged to do it, and failed to follow through. They clearly didn’t do what the Lord was asking as we see in verse 4,
“Whiles it remained, was it not thine own?And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” Acts 5:4
These questions ask, “Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?” To simply go on to say, “Ananias NO MAN asked you to do this you did it all on your own!”
In Acts 5:9, the Lord took this so seriously that He brought them to account before the entire church fellowship. He didn’t have the apostle ask, ‘Why are you lying to me? Why didn’t you give all your money to us?’ On the contrary, Peter asks Sapphira in verse 9, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord?” And in verse 3, he asks of Ananias, “What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
The Lord takes the church and our fellowship very seriously. He takes what we do in His name seriously. He has a direction for each of us as individuals as to what our part in His church is, especially the local body He has called us to. The responsibility is for you personally to follow the Holy Spirit’s direction and do as He has asked you to do. This defines fellowship with Him as foremost and then with the Body of Christ.
Our fellowship is not only our financial giving, but every area of our gifts. Ananias and Sapphira didn’t fall to death because they didn’t give all their money to the leaders of the church. On the contrary, they were seriously exposed for a double life. The pretense is that they were giving all to God and that they were in support of their church. In all actuality, they were holding back on the Lord and they clearly lied about it. Their commitment came to the Apostles and not by the Apostle’s choosing. It was by Ananias and Sapphira’s choosing. Maybe Ananias and Sapphira were giving for their own glory? Maybe they were giving because they thought it was the popular thing to do? Maybe they were giving to gain respect and honor for themselves?
Here it is made clear that the revealing of financial giving expresses something more important than finances. It is revealing the requirement He places on all of us as individuals to give our full commitment to the Holy Spirit, and our all “to Him”, and to do what He has called us to do. Acts chapter 5 expresses that Ananias and Sapphira made it appear that the Lord wanted them to give something that was fully revealed they were unwilling to give. Fellowship and gathering together as the church is meant to reveal the love of God and our commitments to Him. The lack of this is what caused people to “not dare join them”.
The story does go on to show us something amazing happened when the ‘self-seeking’ attitudes of Ananias and Sapphira disappeared. Acts 5 tells us,
“The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade… NEVERTHELESS, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result….” Acts 5:12,14
When you go on to read verses 15-16, you find amazing results and that amazing signs and wonders took place. These amazing things included Peter’s shadow falling on people touching them as he passed by. This clearly reveals our surrendered lives as we come together and fellowship will bring forth great exploits as Daniel 11:32 says,
“The people who know their God will do great exploits.” Daniel 11:32
Great blessing, great giving, and great harvest, will bring results for amazing signs and wonders impacting the lives of others, ourselves, and our families.
What an amazing testimony of the unity. As we come together in fellowship, giving our all to the Lord, blessing the body with our gifts, signs and wonders will take place, the blessing of the Lord will abound, and many lives will be touched and changed. We are plugged into fellowship and taken out of ourselves to follow Him and participate with His signs and wonders.
This is the church… The Body of Christ…