Monday, May 18, 2009

Acts 5: The young men - what happened to them?

We are now on the book of Acts! It is definitely fast-paced as we see the story of the early church unfold before our eyes! It is exciting to see the birth of the church and how God began to put systems and processes, both human and organizational, in place. 

What was sobering was also the story of Ananias and Sapphira in chapter 5. I can't help but ask the question "Why so severe, Lord?"

As I journal my thoughts, it became apparent that it was necessary at the infancy of the Church as these men and women of the early would be instrumental in turning the world upside down (or right side up, depending on how you look at it!). God neeeded to have purity in the church in its infancy. Any compromise would have been devastating for the early church. Great fear seized the church (Acts 5:5) and then young men (Acts 5:6) came forward to help bury Ananias. Three hours later, they had to also bury Sapphira. Then in verses 13 & 14, "No one else No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.  Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number."

Fear by itself may sound terrible and unproductive. But often the Bible talks about the need for holy fear of God, something generative and good that spurs us on to the road of obedience in the Almighty God. For e.g. Ecclesiastes 12:13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

When there is a lack of fear of God, we tend to slack in our Christian journey. In fact we wander away from the Way. Often Christians live their lives carelessly and in sin because of the lack of fear of God. In fact, this fear in Acts 5 kept many away from becoming Christian because they now realized holiness is a very serious matter and not to be taken lightly. This became a natural filter for weeding out those who are not serious about living out their faith. It reminds me of a story of a Russian church, while they were worshipping in the cover of secrecy for fear of imprisoment, a soldier with his gun barged through the door demanding that those who wish to renounce their Christian faith to leave right away. After a few have left, he closed the door and instead of doing what all were fearful of, the soldier put his gun down, said to the congregation, "Now we know who are the true believers. Let's now truly worship God together." The fear of God is greater than the fear of men.

Ironically, the Bible tells us many more were added to the Church in spite of this. My mind wandered to the group of young men that had to bury the dead couple. What were they thinking? There must be moments of silence, contemplation and reflections as they go about the unpleasant job of the burial. What became of these young men? Did they begin to take their Christian life very seriously and later on in life to leave a powerful legacy of their faith? Did they die for their faith as well? I look forward to see them in heaven some day and ask them many questions. One of these questions would certainly, "What were you feeling and thinking the day you had to bury Ananias and Sapphira?"

Food for thought: Do we take sin seriously? Is there a holy fear of God that inspires us to live life in a way that pleases God?


  1. Wow Pastor Chris, it is a great way of looking at the context behind the verse. So interesting to understand the meaning of sin altogether from here.

    It is true when they say, God speaks differently to different people at different seasons of their lives.

    It came to me today when I felt if I die now, will I actually go to heaven? Will I have enough time to repent? Undo the things? Interesting the way God speaks to people.

    God Bless...

    Like the way you put it on holy fear of God. Makes me think!

  2. oooo...Pr Chris, what boldness to speak of such a topic with such abundance of grace =)I have often asked the question "Why so severe, Lord?" and you have helped me to see it more clearly.

    I guess it speaks also of the Lord's command for us to make disciples, and not converts.