This week’s passage in the book of Acts is, I must admit, not one I would randomly select to preach on. That’s one of the good things about preaching through entire books of the Bible; the pastor cannot pick and choose the topics and individual texts he wants to preach from. Instead, the Holy Spirit charts our course through God’s word, causing us to receive more of the whole counsel of God. If Luke was making up or trying to sanitize the life of the early church, he certainly would not have included the story of Ananias and Saphira. Or if he did, he would no doubt have reshaped it to include their repentance and restoration to the covenant community of Christ. But the story of Ananias and Saphira did indeed happen and it happened exactly as Luke reported. Clearly, it is a story that God wants each of us to know about.
All the trouble the early church faced, to this point, came via threats and persecution from those outside the body of Christ. But now the church would face its first bout of a long line of trouble from within. Satan’s strategy is to deceive, and what better way to deceive Christ’s church than to infiltrate and corrupt it. As you approach the text, you may find it helpful to ask, “What do I learn about myself, God and the church in the story of Ananias and Saphira?” The more time I spend in this passage, the more I understand why it is indispensable to the book of Acts and the life of the church. Join me on Sunday morning, at which time God’s word and Spirit will teach, encourage, convict and train us up in righteousness, that we might be complete and equipped for every good work God has prepared for us.