Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ananias and Sapphira: Discipline Part I

Ananias and Sapphira:  Discipline         Part I

Hebrews 12:4-11 (Amplified Bible)
4You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood.
    5And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him;
    6For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes.
    7You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline?
    8Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God's children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all].
    9Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live?
    10For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.
    11For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness--in conformity to God's will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].

The sad story of Ananias and Sapphira is not some obscure story from the OT where a violation of the Mosaic Law occurred.   This happened in the NT church to professing believers in Jesus Christ.   They sat under powerful preaching and teaching by those who had been with Jesus for three years and who were filled with the Holy Spirit.
But they proved to be tares among the wheat and their story is a reminder to us today that God looks at our hearts not our outward professions, that He hates sin and will punish it, and that He is concerned for the purity of His Church.
1 Samuel 16:7 tells us, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  
The Lord demands a total change of our mind, will and emotions. He will not accept a mere form of godliness, nor will he accept mere weeping and wailing.   Some people can easily cry; it is simply the way they are made, but mere crying is not repentance.
Peter did not call down judgment from God, he merely exposed Ananias and Sapphira’s hypocrisy by the insight God gave him.
It was the disciplinary hand of God that struck Ananias and Sapphira.
God does not accept a little external, superficial repentance.  He demands a heartfelt repentance.  One that is sincere and will render a true change in our heart, mind, will and emotions.

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