Satan Goes to Church

Scott Stevenson

"But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?  While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”  When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.  The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.  After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.”  But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”  Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things." Acts 5:1-11

Sinners are in the church; we are all sinners. The church is a hospital for the sick, and the church has the cure for the weary souls of those who seek salvation. If you want to see the purest form of the church, we find it in Acts 4. The early church was the church in its purest form. They were all genuine believers; they were all in Christ, they loved each other, they were unified, they were humble before one another. You could not stop this church from speaking about Christ, but in the church today, you can’t get them to talk about Christ. They were too busy with preaching Christ saved that they didn’t have time for the busybody sinful actions that takes place in the church. The early church level of sharing was so heavenly that we have a hard time understanding it today. Satan is the enemy for a reason, and it does not take him long to figure out a more effective attack on the powerful early church.

Satan from the beginning persecuted the early church, but that proved to purify, drawing the church closer together and making it stronger. Satan then tried another avenue, and this is where he has done, and continues to do, the most damage to the church. This avenue is internal. The goal was to tear the church apart from the inside out. We as believers need to be on guard of ourselves and then of others.

In the text, we see the story of Ananias and Sapphira, that their sin is lying. It’s not just unbelievers that lie, but also believers. You would normally think that it would be some other atrocious sin, but it is a simple lie. To what depth is the lying? It was one thing to lie to a man, but a complete different thing to lie to God. God hates lying! The reason God hates lying so much is because lying takes the form of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you’re not. None of us lives as we ought to, but we should not pretend sin does not exist in our lives when it does. I hope you can take this truth and examine yourself, as I do the same, to make sure that we're not living hypocritically before the Lord. Keep fighting!

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