The Barnabas and Ananias and Sapphira Story
I have been avoiding even thinking about preaching this story. My thought is that this sermon is about “hypocrisy” and that the Lord will judge the hypocrite. Oh, great sounds like a joyful uplifting message, but as I read over it I do not think it is about that. I think the core of the story is about how wonderful it is to live in the kingdom of God. The story is utopian.
My dad has a saying, “In the church there is to be no broken fenses.” What this means is that the love in the church and the level of relationships means that if there is a problem (like Grandma Jones has a broken fence) everyone knows and goes over and fixes it for her. Isn’t that the church.
This weekend I made some pastoral visits. The woman said, “Oh, you don’t have to” I said I know but I really like doing this. Fixing someone’s fence is a lot more enjoyable than watching extreme makeover home addition, which is what I would have been doing.
So when God shows up the church becomes heaven on earth a place where people are really good people.
Do you really want to live in a better place? What would heaven on earth be?
Caring and Sharing: The story begins with telling about how righteous and compassion the church was. The church was “a city in which righteousness dwells”. There was no poverty!! There was no one who had need and get this the rich people shared and cared for the poorer people. Imagine. John Lennon was wrong religion was not the problem; religion is the solution to all man’s problems.
Except this one little problem!! Heaven has no tolerance for liars. The intolerance is not enforced by men. Ananias was not looking at ex-communication from the church. No, he was looking at death by lightening bolt.
So heaven is perfect and it is because the people in it are cleansed by the heartfelt faith in Jesus.
Do you want to live in the first century church? brad