Friday, November 13, 2009

Dangerous Community

Acts 4:32-5:11
This week I'm preaching on one of the weirdest passages in the New Testament - the story of amazing love and community! And the story of Ananias and Sapphira (yup, 2 P's). The first story is the happy one to talk about. People caring for and loving each other sacrificially. It says, "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had." Things are going well; love is all around - that's how chapter 4 ends.

Chapter 5: Ananias & Sapphira drop dead after lying about an offering they made to the church. They sell some property and give a chunk of the proceeds to the church to help others. But they lie and tell Peter that they've given the entire amount of the sale, not just part of it. That lie seems to be their downfall. They could have given whatever they desired, or nothing at all. But to lie and say it was the full amount when it was not - that was trouble. More trouble than we might expect too - DEATH!? What happened to grace, mercy, forgiveness? This is confusing stuff. It sort of makes you stop and think about writing that tithe check, doesn't it? (see ending of the video below) What's giving all about? Apparently more than we think.

In the sermon, we'll look at what this odd incident has to do with community and why following Jesus can be so very dangerous. Then we'll share some turkey and fun after worship at the Thanksgiving Dinner!
Let's hope we don't lose our appetite.

- Curtis

Disclaimer: I wouldn't share this in worship, but it drives a certain point of view home - check out this video:


  1. I'd suggest that the video exposes a common misunderstanding. The passage has nothing to do with "writing that tithe check". As Peter explains in vs. 4, this isn't about giving but about lying. A&S had every right to sell their land; they had every right to keep the money. (This would not be true if this were about giving.)

    On a related subject: One of the best-kept secrets of Christianity is that the tithe is never taught in the Bible as a church giving method. The basis for the biblical tithe is found in Lev. 27:30, and it's tied directly to produce of the land (i.e. Israel, the special land that God gave his people). It's explained further in Deut. 14 that the tithe (food) is to be brought to Jerusalem and eaten before the Lord. Every third year it's to be stored for the Levites.

    Sermons on tithing typically are taken from Mal. 3 which refers to this stored grain (nothing to do with the church) or Matt. 23 where the Pharisees tithed their spices, which they were required to do by the Leviticus 27 command.

    For the church the principle is given that ministers should be paid, and that giving (mostly for charity) should be proportional and cheerful, based on what one decides to give. But "tithing" is not involved, and to imagine that it is is to confuse biblical teaching on what tithing really is.


  2. In answer to the question about how the recession has effected us - financial or otherwise.... Obviously, the financial part has been pretty devastating to many, including my family members. I no longer am under the illusion that I will have too much to spend when I reach 70. I don't even recall how I had that assumption. It is the opposite. But, God is good and sees me through on a daily basis! The recession in many ways has helped us realign our lifestyles to fulfill needs, not necessarily wants.

    Unfortunately, job losses, etc. have resulted in desperate people who may resort to scamming, identity thefts, suicide and worse.


Thanks for posting!