Text: Acts 5:1 – 11
Supporting text: Deuteronomy 21:22 – 23
1 But then a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold some property.
2 With his wife’s full knowledge, he kept back some of the money for himself and brought the remainder and laid it at the apostles’ feet… “.
WHAT ARE POSSESSION?
Let’s consider the following scriptures on covetousness.
Luke 12:15 “And He said to them, Watch and keep yourselves from covetousness. For a man’s life is not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.
16 And He spoke a parable to them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully.
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room in which to store my fruits?
18 And he said, I will do this. I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and I will store all my fruits and my goods there.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat drink and be merry.
20 But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul shall be required of you, then whose shall be those things which you have prepared?
21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.
22 And He said to His disciples, Therefore I say to you, Be not anxious as to your life, what you shall eat; nor for the body, what you shall put on.
23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.
24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap, having neither storehouse nor barn, and God feeds them. How much more are you better than the birds?
25 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature?
26 If then you are not able to do even the least, why are you anxious about the rest?
27 Consider the lilies, how they grow; they do not toil, they do not spin. And yet I say to you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
28 If then God so clothes the grass (which today is in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven) how much more will He clothe you, O little-faiths?
29 And do not seek what you shall eat, nor what you shall drink, and stop being in anxiety.
30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you have need of these things.
31 But rather seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you”.
Luke 16:19 “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent”.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead”.
Matthew 6:20 “But lay up treasures in Heaven for yourselves, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.
Ananians and her wife neglected this, hence lost their lives.
1Timothy 6:19 “laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life”.
The meaning of this verse is that they were to make such a use of their property that it would contribute to their eternal welfare. It might be the means of exalted happiness and honour in heaven, if they would so use it as not to interfere with religion in the soul, and so as to do the most good possible.
1Peter 1:3 – 4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in Heaven for you”.
Through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus we now cherish the hope of that future inheritance in heaven. Christians are regarded as the adopted children of God, and heaven is spoken of as their inheritance – as what their Father will bestow on them as the proof of his love.
Incorruptible: It will not fade away and vanish, as that which we inherit in this world does. The meaning here is that the inheritance will be imperishable, or will endure for ever. Here, to whatever we may be heirs, we must soon part with the inheritance; there it will be eternal.
Undefiled: The word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament as applied to an inheritance, it means that it will be pure. It will not have been obtained by dishonesty, nor will it be held by fraud; it will not be such as will corrupt the soul, or tempt to extravagance, sensuality, and lust, as a rich inheritance often does here; it will be such that its eternal enjoyment will never tend in any manner to defile the heart.
Here no one can be heir to an inheritance of gold or houses without danger of soon sinking into indolence, effeminacy, or vice; there the inheritance may be enjoyed for ever, and the soul continually advance in, knowledge, holiness, and the active service of God.
Fadeth not away: This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, though the word occurs in 1 Peter 5:4, applied to a crown or garland. The word is properly applied to that which does not fade or wither, in contradistinction from a flower that fades. It may then denote anything that is enduring, and is applied to the future inheritance of the saints to describe its perpetuity (eternity or the rest of time) in all its brilliance and splendour, in contrast with the fading nature of all that is earthly. The idea here, therefore, is not precisely the same as is expressed by the word “incorruptible.” Both words indeed denote perpetuity, but that refers to perpetuity in contrast with decay; this denotes perpetuity in the sense that everything there will be kept in its original brightness and beauty. The crown of glory, though worn for millions of ages, will not be dimmed; the golden streets will lose none of their luster; the flowers that bloom on the banks of the river of life will always be as rich in colour, and as fragrant, as when we first beheld them.
Reserved in heaven for you: The common reading is “for you”. The sense is not materially affected. The idea is that it is an inheritance appointed for us, and kept by one who can make it sure to us, and who will certainly bestow it upon us. So avoid covetousness on earth for whatever you have belong to God and must be used for the kingdom work.
YOU CAN FOOL EVERYBODY BUT NOT GOD.
…to be continued…
Rev. John Wundengba
020 9 422 159