Series introduction: Good sermon preparation means over-preparing. Therefore, I tend to learn much more than I can share during the message. Sometimes it’s too much information and other times the material just doesn’t fit in the with the flow. This series of blogs is to address things left “on the cutting room floor” or questions that naturally arise out of the sermon.
On Sunday, June 14 I preached a sermon at River City Church from Acts 4:32-5:11 about an incident that took place in the early days of the first church. In Acts 4, we learn that the first group of believers was “of one heart and soul.” Some people even went so far as to sell property in order to distribute the funds to others in need. In Acts 5, we read about a couple named Ananias and Sapphira who schemed together to sell property in order to donate money, but then lie about how much they sold it for. Although both were given a chance to repent, God killed them instantly. The incident brings to mind a similar story about the sin of Achan in Joshua 7 and I would assume the early church also had this in mind when “great fear” came upon all who heard the story.
Here are a few similarities in the two stories:
- The Greek word in Acts 5:2 translated as “kept back” (lit. “embezzle”) is nosphizō. It’s the exact same verb used in the Septuagint (LXX-The Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) for “took” in Joshua 7:1.
- The sin of Achan occurs early in the nation’s progress in the Promised Land. Ai was the second city that they came to in the land. The sin of Ananias and Sapphira occurs early in the church’s gospel progress in Acts 5. In both s
- Israel “broke faith” when Achan stole items devoted to destruction in Joshua 7:1. Ananias and Sapphira’s act was an act of counterfeit faith.
- Achan stole and lied to cover his sin (Joshua 7:11). Ananias and Sapphira stole and lied to cover their sin (Acts 5:3).
- Joshua confronts Achan (Joshua 7:19). Peter confronts Ananias (Acts 5:3) and Sapphira (Acts 5:8).
- All the people of Israel witnessed the judgment on Achan and his family (Joshua 7:23). The entire church witnessed the judgment of God on Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:11).