Preaching to the Choir

These are some sermons, but mostly lectionary discussions. It also has prayers for some Sundays.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Part 2 of Greed/7Deadly Sins

And yes we can look at them and say; well that is them; those billionaires, but we don’t see how that has anything to do with us. We are not like them. We don’t have the near the amount of money they have.

In our scripture we have the story of Ananias and Sapphira who sought to hold onto property instead of sharing it. It is a disturbing passage from the very beginning. Because you see if you look just above that chapter into Acts 4:32-37, It begins by saying All the believers were one in heart and mind (read from bible). And then verse 36 gives an example of Joseph…

So what is so disturbing is that they were now no longer of one heart and mind, they were not united but separated. This decision and choice by Ananias and Sapphria separates them from the other believers. It has its affect on taking care of the needy among them. It was a slap in the face of the power the apostles had in testifying to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And it robbed them of God’s grace upon grace and robbed the others. As Peter says to them they let Satan fill their hearts and minds to do this deed, which then led to the lying, the cheating, and the deceiving. And you only thought that kind of behavior went on today. Pointedly Peter points out to them that not only had they lied to the community worst of all they had lied to God. Now we don’t know why Ananias fell down and died in that moment. It is easy to read into all kind of Spiritual ideas. But it could have been a heart attack, a stroke, but whatever it was he paid a hefty price for his thoughts and actions. Discuss the Rich Fool Luke 12: And then we have the same thing happening to his wife. Perhaps it is a spiritual thing or it is the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual effects of all their behavior. But then the effect on the community is fear. I cannot explain all of this and I won’t. It is sad though that while everyone else in the community originally were of one heart and mind, here were two who could not believe, could not trust enough, could not accept God’s grace to be part of the community. They let that bug called greed come into their minds into their hearts and effect their decisions, which then effected everything.

But you know what if you read further in verses 12-16, you realize this behavior of this couple did not stop the work of the Holy Spirit in this community. It didn’t stop the Holy Spirit’s power working through the disciples to heal, to testify, and more and more believed in the Lord. Why? Because the community did not give into the voice of Satan through the greed bug. Because they were willing to confront it for what it was, and not let these two get away with their sin. And they were not willing to let this sin get into their community and tear it apart. Now there is always a fine line of confronting others in a church. But the leaders had enough wisdom to know if they let this couple get away with their behavior it would begin to erode the community, erode the work of the Holy Spirit, and erode the witness they had in the world. They would lose all that they had gained, all that Jesus had brought about by his resurrection, and they would be just like everyone else in Rome, greedy. People would be saying hey they are just like us and everyone else, why would I want to be part of that group. I am already part of that by going to such and such temple. Do you hear that. And isn’t that true today, If we mimic what the world is doing, being and saying, we have no witness, we are not different, we don’t provide another way of being, thinking doing your life. And so people continue to listen to the voice of greed and trying to get more and more.

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