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  The Great Bible Story #119
God sets the standard for the church

Jacob Ninan
When people began to gather together in the name of Jesus and as they were filled with the Holy Spirit, their love began to flow out to one another as members of one family. Nobody held on to whatever they had for themselves but shared it with the others so that no one was left in need. Some people who owned property even sold it off and brought the money to the apostles to distribute. Joseph who was also called Barnabas (son of encouragement) was one such man.

But right from the start there was also an ugly mixture among the people. A couple by the name of Ananias and Sapphira sold a piece of property and decided to keep a part of the proceedings for themselves. But what they did was to pretend that they were also giving the sale price to the church just like some of the others. When Peter met Ananias he asked him if this was the full amount and he said it was. But the Holy Spirit revealed the truth to Peter and he rebuked Ananias for this deception. Ananias fell down dead, and people took him and buried him.

Sapphira didn't know this, and she came to Peter with the same story. Peter asked her why she and her husband had conspired to make this pretence, not realising that the Holy Spirit would know the truth. She also fell down dead. The news of this spread quickly, and when people recognised the standard God expected from His people, those who were not prepared to follow it decided not to join the church! But there were many who followed Jesus and were willing to abide by His standards, and the church grew in number and oneness. Many miracles were taking place through the apostles, and people began to lay their sick by the roadside so that they might get healed when Peter's shadow fell on them!

The high priest and the others were filled with jealousy against the disciples, and they caught the apostles and put them in jail. But an angel came in the night, freed the apostles and asked them to continue to bear witness to Jesus.

In the morning when the rulers sent the guards to bring the prisoners, they came back reporting that everything was in order at the jail but the apostles were missing! Then someone said that they were preaching in the temple! Finally they brought the apostles and the rulers told them they were not allowed to preach about Jesus. They replied they had to obey God rather than men.

The rulers were really confused. Finally they decided to just watch how things developed.

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Comfort & Counsel