Monday, January 30 2023

Bible Reading for: November 14

Acts 5-6

Posers beware! If you did not truly accept Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, but continue to pretend to be a Christian, you are in great danger!

Acts 5:1-4 ESV
“But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?  While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

The practice of the first disciples, after the ascension of Jesus, was to sell everything they had and put it into a communal pot from which all followers of Christ were provisioned. Some have used this fact as support for a “social gospel”. Communism, were it not so antagonistic toward Christianity, would undoubtedly use this as support for its ideology as well. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all could love each other enough to put the needs of others before our own, if we could live in peace and harmony with all humanity? That would be nice. The problem is our human nature gets in the way.

You see, without Christ, the ideology of the “Social Gospel” and of communism are doomed to failure. These ideologies do not account for the sinful nature of man. No matter how much we wish people loved others, their self-centered nature will always prevent mankind from living in peace and harmony.

The only way the disciples were able to live in such a communal way was with Christ in their hearts. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to live that way, but they couldn’t escape their human nature. They didn’t truly have Jesus in their hearts. They went through the motions, but they couldn’t go all the way. Jesus said that the only unforgivable sin was the sin against the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 12:31-32 ESV
“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

So, what does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? First let’s define the word blasphemy.

“…root meaning of the word is an act of effrontery in which the honour of God is insulted by man. The proper object of the verb is the name of God, which is cursed or reviled instead of being honoured.”

Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

To more fully explain the issue of “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” let me share the following:

“Then, again when it is said (Mt 12:32), that to speak against or blaspheme the Son of man is pardonable, but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is not pardonable, it is not to be conceived that this arises from any greater sanctity in the one blessed Person than the other. These remarks so narrow the question that the true sense of our Lord’s words seem to disclose themselves at once. It is a contrast between slandering “the Son of man” in His veiled condition and unfinished work—which might be done “ignorantly, in unbelief” (1Ti 1:13), and slandering the same blessed Person after the blaze of glory which the Holy Ghost was soon to throw around His claims, and in the full knowledge of all that. This would be to slander Him with eyes open, or to do it “presumptuously.” To blaspheme Christ in the former condition—when even the apostles stumbled at many things—left them still open to conviction on fuller light: but to blaspheme Him in the latter condition would be to hate the light the clearer it became, and resolutely to shut it out; which, of course, precludes salvation.”

Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

So, the unpardonable sin is to see the truth and resolutely shut it out. Ananias and Sapphira knew the truth of Jesus Christ. They did not have to sell their property and give it to the church, but they chose to do so in order to mislead others about the true condition of their soul. They knew who Jesus was, and instead of truly repenting of their sin and humbling obeying Him, they chose to “fake it”. The thing is, you can fool your fellow man, but you cannot fool God. To come face to face with the truth and reject it is fatal, as Ananias and Sapphira discovered. No, they didn’t come right out and say they did not believe, they simply did not believe but pretended otherwise.

What does that mean for Christians today? It means that those who only pretend to know Jesus, instead of truly accepting Him and repenting of their sin, are in the same boat as that unhappy couple. I must admit that I am concerned for those who only pretend. They think they are saved and they are not. Lost people may not feel they are in danger, but at least they don’t falsely believe they are saved. As Pastor Jim Cross has said from the pulpit many times “the Lost are tired of posers”; they are tired of “pretend” Christians. A pretender blasphemes against the Holy Spirit.

Brother, I know that you worship Christ is truth. Let us each take responsibility for sharing the Gospel and discipling others, that they too may worship Him in truth.

Vivere Victorem! (Live Victorious!)

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Dying to self, living to serve!

Alternate Reading Plans
Chronological Order: John 18-19, Luke 23
Old Testament Only: Jeremiah 47–48
New Testament Only: Hebrews 5:1–6:12


The Stone The Builders Rejected


Truth In The Face Of Rage

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