Bible Pathway – November 10

Read Acts 4

Highlights:

Peter and John imprisoned; death of Ananias and Sapphira; Stephen’s arrest, message, and stoning.

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common (Acts 4:32).

One of the remarkable characteristics of this first church of Jerusalem was the spirit of oneness that manifested itself in the people’s willingness to give up material possessions. Wealthy believers sold their lands or houses and brought the money to be used for the Lord’s ministry and for those who did not have enough for their family needs. The program of sharing wealth in the early church was purely a voluntary one. What if the wealth of the church were mobilized in today’s society just as in the New Testament? Few would be hungry or could say they had not heard the Gospel or they did not have the basic needs of life. True godly love will meet needs. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing (1 Cor. 13:3).

A certain man in the church decided to sell some property and give to the poorAnanias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possesion, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet (Acts 5:1-2). As long as the land belonged to Ananias, he could do with it as he chose; and even after he had sold it, the money was his to do with as he pleased. All the selling of property and giving of money was voluntary.

It appears that Ananias had a desire to imitate Barnabas, the man of Cyprus who, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet (4:37).

Ananias’ sin was not in keeping part of the money, but in pretending to have “one heart” in surrendering all his possessions. Ananias anticipated praise and recognition to which he was not entitled. Satan had filled his heart with a desire to gain a reputation as a generous and self-sacrificing giver while keeping part of the money for his own use. We should never seek praise for our gifts to the Kingdom of God. Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven (Matt. 6:1).

In every community, there are people like Ananias and Sapphira who outwardly uphold the Christian faith, but their inward desire is to put self first. But the Holy Spirit knows the difference.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over . . . For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38).

Thought for Today:

God knows us as who we really are  not as what we want others to think we are.

Cross References:

For Acts 4:11: See Ps. 118:22Acts 4:25-26: See Ps. 2:1-2.

Word Studies:

5:2 being privy to it, knowing of it, she helped plan the deception; 6:11 suborned, influenced to do wrong, bribed.

Prayer Suggestion: Pray that God will teach you His ways and transform your life by His Word (Is. 2:3).

Memory Verse for the Week: Titus 3:3

Family Talk Night Light for Couples

Duration: 365 days

A PITCHER’S DREAM

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25

In 1985, Tim Burke achieved a lifelong dream—in fact, almost every boy’s dream—when he signed to pitch for the Montreal Expos. He quickly proved his worth by setting a record for the most relief appearances by a rookie. In the years that followed, Tim and his wife, Christine, adopted four children born with serious illnesses or defects. Neither Tim nor Christine was prepared for the tremendous demands such a family would bring. And with a grueling schedule, Tim was seldom around to help.

In 1993, only three months after signing a new, $600,000 contract, Tim decided to retire. When asked about his amazing decision, he said, “Baseball is going to do just fine without me. But I’m the only father my children have.”

You might ask yourselves as a couple, “Does our current lifestyle, and our dreams and goals, fit with God’s desire that we have a generous spirit?” Tim Burke’s generous spirit caused him to give up his career dream, as well as the wealth it brought. Yet in the end, his act will be worth the sacrifice—his marriage and the well‐being of four lives God placed in his care will reap eternal dividends. That’s God’s idea of a brilliant career move!

JUST BETWEEN US…

  • Have you ever had to give up any of your dreams for someone?
  • How do you feel now about those old dreams?
  • What new dreams do you have for yourself and for us as a couple?
  • How can we help each other achieve them?

Dear Lord, we surrender together whatever selfish dreams or ambitions are keep- ing us from the larger life You have in mind for us. Show us Your better idea. We want to do Your will with joy and expectation, because we trust You. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.