- “Give me understanding, that I may observe Thy law, and keep it with all my heart” (Psalm 119:34 – NASB)
Oh to have understanding of God’s “law” that we may “keep it” and so please Him who has saved us! Blessed be His name on this new day.
Note a most sobering text from the book of Acts,
- “But a certain man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostle’s feet. But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land? . . . why is it you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.’ And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came upon all who heard of it.” (Acts 5:1-5 – NASB)
I remember a Pastor that set about to minister to his congregation by teaching from the book of Acts. I was in that congregation. I recall that as he got to chapter five he determined to pass over the beginning texts of it. In other words, he decided to avoid the Scripture teaching regarding God’s judgment of Ananias and Sapphira. I asked him why and he replied that he felt this particular section had a negative message, one that might turn people away from the church and from God. This is a common response of the mega church/user-friendly church movement of our day, of those who seek to make everything about God look to be loving and warm and fuzzy.
The doctrine of the fear of God is a central teaching of the Bible. The contemporary user-friendly movement aims for just the opposite. rather than arousing the fear of God, it attempts to portray Him as fun, jovial, easy-going, lenient, and even permissive. Haughty sinners who ought to approach God in fear (note Luke 18:13) are emboldened to presume upon His grace. Sinners hear little or nothing of His divine wrath.
But our text, and its further reading into verses six through eleven, teaches us a sobering fact, one that God means for us to learn. The fear of God was something the early church knew and understood. Note the effect that the taking of Ananias and Sapphira by God had on believers and non-believers,
- “And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things” (Acts 5:11 – NASB)
Was this great truth regarding the fear of God a deterrent to the message of salvation? Evidently not,
- “And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number” (Acts 5:14 – NASB)
Knowing the fear of the Lord, “multitudes of men and women” were being saved, were being “added” to the church. And so we learn from the account of Ananias and Sapphira, we learn from judgment, that God’s wrath is very real, and that it is not to be taken lightly. The apostle Paul taught that the fear of the Lord was a primary motivation for evangelism,
- “Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men . . .” (II Corinthians 5:11 – NASB; note also: I Peter 4:17)
Acts chapter five, verses one to eleven, are not to be avoided but rather taught, and their meaning brought to light that we might understand “the fear of the Lord.” (Note I Corinthians 11:27-32)
Have a good day brethren . . . and as you walk do not take lightly the fear of the Lord and learn well from what the Scriptures teach us regarding it.
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