God’s Sovereignty; Giving to God
Acts 4:24; 4:32-5:11 – October 02, 2022
Acts 4:24. The word translated Sovereign Lord in the NIV, ESV, and a few others in this verse is the Greek word despotes. It was a word used of a slave owner or ruler who has power that cannot be questioned. I really liked the way Luke addressed this word. He described Sovereign Lord as God in charge and God in control of all things and God is able to override all other powers. The Greek despotes is found ten times in the New Testament and in six of those times it refers directly to our Heavenly Father or Jesus
Acts 4:32-35. This was NOT some form of Christian communism. The sale of any personal property was always voluntary. The right of ownership was not removed or abolished. We see that here as the Christian community did not control the money until it had been given to the apostles.
There was also a very real reason for this significant sharing. After the Pentecost, large number of the new believers from distant locations stayed. They were without any homes and jobs in Jerusalem.
However, this charity eventually began to be abused. And later Paul would teach who should be helped and how they should be helped.
With all of that said, next we have a great example of the generosity that was occurring via Barnabas. We will find much more about Barnabas throughout Acts.
Acts 4:36-37. Notice he sold a field he owned implying he had more than one.
Acts 5:1-2. A quick side note, Ananias name meant God is gracious in Hebrew while Sapphira in Arabic meant beautiful.
Acts 5:3-6. When I first read this years ago, I thought the punishment extreme. After all if Ananias had been honest and said I have put some aside for future needs then I wondered what would have happened.
NOG They agreed to hold back some of the money they had pledged
CEV But they agreed to cheat and keep some of the money for themselves
DRA (Douay-Rheims American edition1899) by fraud kept back part of the price of the land
RGT (Revised Geneva Translation) and embezzled part of the price (his wife also being aware of it)
Acts 5:3-11. The verb Luke uses for the deaths of Ananias’ death and that of Saphira appears in the NT only in contexts where someone is struck down by divine judgment.
Luke’s emphasis is on God as the ultimate cause of their deaths.
This is what he wants his readers to understand his closing comment on all of this Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
And that is what I want everyone here listening to understand, God is sovereign, and His divine judgment can come at any time for any single person.