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Sep 09, 2018

This is Us: House Rules

This is Us: House Rules

Passage: Acts 2:41-47

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: This is Us

Category: Faith, Joy, kindness

Keywords: faith, joy, kindness

What are the house rules that you live by?

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

 

— Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

Devotional

The description of the church that we see in Acts 2:41-47 is so awe-inspiring and the shortcomings we see through the actions of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 so shocking that I needed to look at them through the lens of different Scripture to fully appreciate what these Holy Spirit-inspired words are telling us. As Christians — saved by grace, and responding to that mercy — we are set apart and called to act differently than much of the culture that surrounds us. 

In fact, we’re called to offer ourselves, and yes, our possessions, as a sacrifice. That’s the image we see at the end of Acts chapter two: we devote ourselves to Scripture and fellowship, rather than to empty entertainment and isolation; we share what we have to the benefit of those in need and worship the Living God, rather than simply to please ourselves and worship achievement. While the pattern of our suburban world is to drive into our garages and relax in air conditioning, we’re called to step outside of that pattern and be transformed by God’s Word and fellowship. 

Is it easy? No, and thank God that He gives us the example of Ananias and Sapphira. It’s a scary scene, as the couple lies to Peter and the apostles about how much they made on the sale of their home and are killed on the spot. As I’ve spent time pondering its meaning for me, for us, I come back to the brokenness of their lying to the church. They fall back into the pattern of this world, acting like they’re doing more than they really are, and hiding their truth. I don’t believe their sin was giving too little; they sinned by lying to God and the church, by breaking the fellowship we see in the early church. While we're shocked by the punishment, it shows God's emphasis on maintaining those relationships. In that, we see much to repent of as the universal church and as individual followers of Christ. 

Prayer:

Heavenly, gracious Father, we thank You for the gift of Your church, that we are called to be joined to each other and to You through this body. We fall short of Your call in failing to be honest, in failing to share, in failing to love our neighbor. Continue to be merciful as we wrestle to be more like Your Son and less like the world around us. Strengthen us by Your Spirit to live life as Your renewed people, showing Your mercy and grace to those You’ve placed around us. In Your Son Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen. 

Written by Jon McHenry. Jon leads our devotional team, is a council member, worship speaker and part of the men's ministry at Arcola Church. He is a devoted husband and father. He owes a debt of gratitude to the devotional team for their many edits and improvements of this devotional.