FAITH BLOG

YOU NEED TO BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!

How many times have you heard the term “New Testament Church?” I would imagine, like me, you have heard it numerous times, but what exactly do you picture in your mind when you hear that term? Acts gives us a history of the formation of the New Testament Church which includes numerous examples of the “sign gifts” being utilized. I believe that when most people talk about a “New Testament Church” they are referring to a church that still recognizes the “sign gifts” being in general usage today.

This is not quite what I think of when I hear someone say “New Testament Church.’ Part of our reading assignment for today is Acts 5. The first 11 verses tell us about Ananias and Sapphira and this is what I think of when I hear the term “New Testament Church.” You need to go to the end of chapter 4 for some background in the structure of this early church. Verse 32 of chapter 4 tells us that this congregation was of one heart and soul, with not one of them claiming that anything belonging to him was his own. All things were common property to all of them. The church was experiencing abundant grace and there was not a needy person among them. Anyone who owned houses or land would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sale and lay them at the feet of the apostles, and they would be distributed to each, as any had need.

Now, that brings us to Ananias and Sapphira. They had sold a piece of property, but Ananias decided to hold a portion of it back, with his wife’s full knowledge, and he took the remainder of the proceeds and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter called him up short, questioned why Satan had filled his heart to lie to the Holy Spirit in holding back part of the price of the land. Upon hearing this, Ananias fell down, breathed his last, and great fear came upon all who heard of it (I can imagine). The young men then pick him up, take him out and bury him (deacons?).

Three hours later, Sapphira comes in not knowing what has transpired. Peter asks her if the property sold for such and such a price and she confirms that it did. And Peter immediately calls her on this deceit. He then points out the men at the door who have returned from burying her husband and tells her that they will carry her out as well. She then falls at his feet and dies and the young men find her dead, carry her out and bury her next to her husband. And a great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things.

So, the next time you hear someone talking about the “New Testament Church” I hope it gives you pause. And remember that you need to be careful what you wish for!

Posted by Paul Kightlinger with

OUR HELP IS FROM THE LORD

Today, June 6, 2019, is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces invaded Nazi- held Europe on the beaches of Normandy, France. The D-Day operation was the largest military operation in history, involving 156,000 soldiers from the Allied nations. Assembled in the largest amphibious operation ever, the soldiers were transported across a stormy English Channel to be disembarked on the wide beaches of Normandy in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944. Even though the Allies had such a large number of soldiers that would storm the beaches on D-Day, victory was far from certain. For the years Europe was under Nazi control, Hitler had fortified the entire western coast of Europe against a potential Allied invasion.

Recognizing this fact, both the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the Supreme Allied Commander, General Eisenhower, issued D-Day prayers. A portion of FDR’s prayer reads:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity….

O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; faith in our united crusade….  

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy…. 

Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen”

How fitting that today’s Psalm is by King David. In Psalm 124, David recognizes that it is the Lord alone that is the protector and savior of Israel. When the Philistines tried to defeat Israel, David proclaimed: “Blessed be the Lord, who did not let their teeth tear us apart! We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken and we are free! Our help is from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth.”

On this 75th anniversary of D-Day, we too can say “Blessed be the Lord, who did not let the dark forces of Nazism defeat the Allies. The Nazi grip on Europe was broken and they are free. Our help is from the Lord, now and as it was in 1944 and in King David’s life.

 

Posted by Jeff Frost with

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