Day 5

The Effects of the Gospel

from the Acts of the Apostles reading plan


Acts 4:23-37, Acts 5:1-11, Deuteronomy 15:4-6, Hebrews 6:13-20

Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Conversely then, the absence of the fear of the Lord is the heart of folly. Acts 5 tells the story of how a lack of the fear of the Lord led to ruin, and it is a hard passage. But any time God endeavors to instill in His people a reverential fear of His holiness, it is a gift, because God is and always shall be holy.

What exactly did Ananias and Sapphira do wrong? As members of the church, they did what others were doing. They sold possessions and gave the proceeds to the apostles, who used those funds for the work of the church. (Barnabas had done the same thing.)

Ananias decided to keep part of the proceeds for himself. This decision was not a sin. He was free to do that if he wanted. The end of Acts 4 tells us people were giving “what they had decided in their hearts to give.” This means that before God, people were thinking through what their contributions to the church should be, and giving accordingly. The apostles didn’t decide for them. Ananias was free to give what he wanted. He gave, and it was probably a lot of money.

So what was the sin? What Ananias and his wife had decided in their hearts to do was to deceive people and represent their gift as being larger than it truly was. When Ananias gave his offering, he led everyone to believe it was everything he had gained from the sale. As one pastor I know said, “Ananias wanted to look like an especially good Christian without actually having to be one.” It was this deception, not the amount he gave, which led to God’s judgment.

Ananias and Sapphira died as the result of their sin. They are the only two we hear of this happening to in Acts, although no doubt countless others had committed and continue to commit very similar sins. But the writer of Acts tells us that as each one died, all who heard of it were filled with fear.

We, too, should listen.

If God is Holy, if God is all-powerful, if God’s demand for righteousness could be satisfied only by the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, then we should fear Him.

And if we are prone to forget that God is Holy, then it is gracious of God to call our hearts to fear Him. If we are prone to seek glory for ourselves, though God alone is to be glorified in our lives, it is grace that teaches our hearts to fear. If we are prone to live as though God isn’t really real, it is grace that He should arrest our hearts with a fear of His holy, present power.

The fear of the holiness of God is a gift because God is, in fact, holy. To regard Him as anything less is to miss who He really is.

The sober story of Ananias and Sapphira invites us to commune with God as He is—the holy One who created the heavens and Who knows our names—the Lover of our souls. May He give us the gift of a holy fear.

Written By Russ Ramsey

Post Comments (37)

37 thoughts on "The Effects of the Gospel"

  1. Marc says:

    Reverent fear of God is a very healthy place. It teaches us to hear the simple and right things to do throughout our day. It also helps in times of large decisions.

  2. Marc says:

    We have a natural inclination to look better than we are. We all struggle with “keeping up with Jones'” and wearing a mask at times. Sometimes I want to take credit for something I did, but it was God who allowed it to happen.

  3. Marc says:

    The Holy Spirit is real and living among us. I need to be listening intently to Him to seek out the wisdom that should come when fearing the Lord.

  4. Marc says:

    Seek the Spirit daily! I need to be slower to speak and quick to listen. I speak so that others may hear me for the attention I get from it.

  5. Marc says:

    Father God, allow me to be in Your Spirit today. Speak wisdom into my life as I fear You in the most respectful way. Be in my presence always and guide my steps throughout this day. Help me to be intentional and selfless in my giving and to give with a joyful heart. Today, place an opportunity in front of me so that I may be light in the dark. In Jesus name I pray
    Amen!

  6. Mark says:

    We have to be truthful. He knows our hearts.

    He’s interested in our hearts.

    Don’t worry about what people think.

    Worry about what God sees

  7. Connor Back says:

    Man often times will take more credit for himself than is due. The path to self glorification is subtle and dangerous

  8. Connor Back says:

    Because the demand for righteousness can only be satisfied by Christ’s death and resurrection, we should fear God

  9. Connor Back says:

    I will be wary of my actions and think about who they glorify, me or God?

  10. Connor Back says:

    It reminds me of the Holiness of God, and it’s almost a wake up call to the fact of how in control He is, and how he can insert Himself into a situation and change people’s hearts.

  11. Connor Back says:

    Lord, please instill in me a healthy fear of you, help remind me of your holiness and your power, help me to act accordingly to your plan, so that I may glorify more of you than of myself.

  12. Brian Goodwin says:

    He should be greatly feared.

  13. Brian Goodwin says:

    He has a tendency to forget how fearsome God is.

  14. Brian Goodwin says:

    The Gospel simultaneously induces and relieves fear.

  15. Brian Goodwin says:

    Fear. The. Lord.

  16. Brian Goodwin says:

    For as honest a picture of God’s fearsomeness as He will allow me to bear.

  17. Martis Artis says:

    It amazing how the gospel became their testimony

  18. Martis Artis says:

    That When God makes a promise he keeps his word

  19. Martis Artis says:

    Trust God in all things

  20. Martis Artis says:

    We need to trust God in all things not just times when we want to but in all things

  21. Martis Artis says:

    I will pray for strong faith in God that won’t shake

  22. Isaac Jones says:

    God is Holy and Righteous and True. God knows good from evil because He is good. God knows the heart of man and their whispered plans. God punishes people according to their hearts and deeds. God gives both the Holy Spirit and power as well as death.

  23. Isaac Jones says:

    Man receives the Holy Spirit and power, or judgement and death. What man receives depends on which side he stands. If we serve Gid in Spirit and Truth we will find life, but if we hide and deceive we will find death.

  24. Isaac Jones says:

    The gospel is real. God exists and He has all power and authority. God is healing the weak and sick while casting away the wicked. He makes distinction and views the inner heart. He brings us out of our depravity by His power through His work on our hearts and by our faithful obedient acceptance of Him.

  25. Isaac Jones says:

    I will ally myself with God in Spirit and in truth. I will seek to honestly give and honestly love and honestly worship. I desire to serve Him rather than living for myself though my body likes laziness.

  26. Isaac Jones says:

    Heavenly Father,

    Please heal me; heal my soul of my laziness. Heal my heart if my apathy and deceit. May I Cease my slothful and selfish ways. You have not hidden truth in lies of media or worlds things. You have clearly revealed truth in the bible; may I search for it there. God give me strength to follow you and a heart that desires you. Please forgive me for my sins and grow the love I have for you by understanding your life for me. Thank you for dying on the cross; thank you for shedding your blood that I may live. Thank you for dying by torture to remove the sin-slavery from my heart and life. May I follow you for all of my days no matter how long or how short; amen.

  27. Sean Thelen says:

    God wants us to be honest with people about how we live our lives and the choices we make.

  28. Sean Thelen says:

    Jesus died to pay for my sins, so there should be anything I need to cover up.

  29. Sean Thelen says:

    I will pray that God will help me to be honest and transparent with people rather than making myself look better than I really am.

  30. Sean Thelen says:

    We tend to want to deceive people and keep the good reputation that we’ve built.

  31. Sean Thelen says:

    Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.

  32. Brien Johnson says:

    With a renewed sense of the fear of the Lord. “I will examine my ways and test them, and then return to the Lord.”

  33. Brien Johnson says:

    God is Holy! He is not to be used as a prop or an accessory. He is to be reverenced and feared in a healthy way.

  34. Brien Johnson says:

    Our sinful desires must be continually submitted to Christ and we must always rely on his grace and power to be holy just as he is holy.

  35. Brien Johnson says:

    We need to have a mindfulness of the holiness of God in our day to day lives. We are prone to use God to make ourselves look good, but we must examine our heart.

  36. Brien Johnson says:

    Search my heart oh God and review the places that are filled with selfishness and self promotion. Teach me to be holy as you were home. May I always reverence you in everything I do.

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