-The property being sold and money brought into the church became the source of the first controversy in the church age. Ananias and Sapphira collaborated to lie against the Holy Spirit of the Lord in their contribution from their real estate proceeds. They both fell dead in the presence of the apostles and great fear came upon the disciples of the Lord (Acts 5:1-11). *Application* The LORD loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). Ananias and Sapphira collaborated to deception, which was the reason for their great downfall in the presence of God’s anointed. It is better to be honest in your assessment of generosity when giving your gifts unto the LORD. He is honored when you do things from a pure heart; He is disgusted when you do things for self-indulgence.
-The numbers kept growing as the message of Christ went out further and further and people’s lives were being changed. Many signs and wonders were being performed by the apostles, and every one coming for physical and spiritual healing were set free, even from the surrounding areas (Acts 5:12-16).
-The apostles were jailed again because they kept speaking out in the Name of Jesus. Peter stood up and said that they must follow and obey God rather than men in this regard, then he again gave them the gospel as an eyewitness (Acts 5:17-32).
-The Council is once again perplexed over its decision for these men of faith in Christ. Gamaliel finally brings some sense to the chaos with his statements that denote at least some healthy fear of the Lord. His final statement is absolutely poignant, “So in this present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.” The Council takes his advice, has the disciples flogged, and releases them once again ordering them not to speak in the Name of Jesus. The apostles went away rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His Name. “Every day in the Temple and from house to house they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ (Acts 5:33-42).” *Application* Jesus told us that we would encounter persecution for His Name sake (Matthew 24:9). Our response should be the same as these role models in the faith. We should consider it a joy and a privilege to suffer like He suffered (Philippians 3:10).
Verses to Memorize: Acts 5:29, 31, 38-39