In contrast to the generous gift of Barnabas, today we read about Ananias and Sapphira, a husband and wife who also sell a property but they lie to Peter about their gift. They agreed together to keep back part of the price, but act as though (and lie about it) they are giving everything. As a result of their deception they are both struck dead by God!
Why do you think they chose to be so deceptive about the amount they were giving to the church? What motivated them to give a gift but lie about how much they were giving? If they loved their money so much, why give any?
Chapter 4 closes with another description of the life of the new church.
Verse 33 mentions that the apostles did keep on preaching contrary to the commandment of the Jewish rulers, but the main thought here is the love that the believers had for one another evidenced by how they shared their possessions with anyone who had need. We are also introduced to Barnabas who is noted for his generous benevolence and later will travel with the apostle Paul preaching the gospel.
Question: It says “all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds…and laid them at the apostles feet” (34, 35). Is this required of all Christians?
In our recent series on giving Sandy made a great point about giving before the law: In Genesis you see Abel giving the “first fruits” (4:4) and Abraham and Issac tithing (14:20, 28:22). Sandy also shared that the ideas of “first fruits” and a “tenth” were known among Egyptians, Babylonians, and Greeks!
This challenges the idea that we should dismiss tithing because it was a part of the now defunct law of Moses.
Question: How did Abel learn to give his “firstfruits”? Where did Abraham and Issac get the idea of tithing? Where did the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Greeks get the idea of giving a tenth?
You can hear the classes on giving at www.lakeshorechurchofchrist.com.
Filed under Giving, Tithing