Take a look around and what do you see? Do you see everyone working on the same truths? the same values? the same morales? Do you see people thinking there is no such thing as right and wrong? Do you see people who don’t believe in good and evil?
There is a war taking place but it’s not flesh and blood, but it’s against the power and principalities of darkness! The battle belongs to the Lord!
Do you believe in absolutes? Do you believe there can be right and wrong? Are things relative to you? How can you know what to do when you can’t have sides? How can you decide quickly what to do if you don’t have an internal compass that can tell you right from wrong? How can you decide quickly what to do if you don’t have an internal compass that tells you which road to take or which fork in the road to go down?
Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that He is the son of God? Do you believe that He is God? Do you believe that what He spoke was true? Do you believe that what He taught was right? Do you trust Him? Have you received Him?
Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God? Do you believe that the Scriptures are Inspired by God and declare His design and plan for mankind? Do you believe there is only one true God, revealed in three persons…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (commonly known as the Trinity)? Do you believe in the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. As God’s son Jesus was both human and divine? Do you believe though originally good, man willingly fell to sin ushering evil and death, both physical and spiritual, into the world? Do you believe every person can have restored fellowship with God through salvation (accepting Christ’s offer of forgiveness for sin)? Do you believe and practice (1) water baptism by immersion after repenting of one’s sins and receiving Christ’s gift of salvation, and (2) Holy Communion (the Lord’s Supper) as a symbolic remembrance of Christ’s suffering and death for our salvation? Do you believe the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a special experience following salvation that empowers believers for witnessing and effective service, just as it did in New Testament times? Do you believe the initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues, as experienced on the Day of Pentecost and referenced throughout Acts and the Epistles? Do you believe sanctification initially occurs at Salvation and is not only a declaration that a believer is holy, but also a progressive lifelong process of separating from evil as believers continually draw closer to God and become more Christlike? Do you believe the Church has a mission to seek and save all who are lost in sin. We believe ‘the Church’ is the Body of Christ and consists of the people who, throughout time, have accepted God’s offer of redemption (regardless of religious denomination) through the sacrificial death of His son Jesus Christ? Do you believe a divinely called and scripturally ordained leadership ministry serves the Church and the Bible teaches that each of us under leadership must commit ourselves to reach others for Christ, to worship Him with other believers, and to build up or edify the body of believers the Church? Do you believe divine healing of the sick is a privilege for Christians today and is provided for in Christ’s atonement (His sacrificial death on the cross for our sins)? Do you believe in the blessed hope. When Jesus raptures his Church prior to His return to earth (the second coming). At this future moment in time all believers who have died will rise from their graves and will meet the Lord in the air, and Christians who are alive will be caught up with them, to be with the Lord forever? Do you believe in The millennial reign of Christ when Jesus returns with His saints at His second coming and begins His benevolent rule over earth for 1,000 years. At that time many in the nation of Israel will recognize and accept Him as the Messiah, the Savior who died for them and all mankind? Do you believe a final judgment will take place for those who have rejected Christ and that they will be judged for their sin and consigned to eternal punishment in a punishing lake of fire? Do you believe and look forward to the perfect New Heavens and a New Earth that Christ is preparing for all people, of all time, who have accepted Him and that we will live and dwell with Him there forever following His millennial reign on Earth. ‘And so shall we forever be with the Lord!’?
Will you choose to turn to the Bible for the source of truth when faced with a decision? Will you seek wisdom from God when you are faced with a decision? Will you trust in God and His Word as the voice of truth in the midst of the swaying of society? Will you lean on God in the midst of the complex problems and situations that come your way?
Today’s devotional closes with this fact about the Bible reading for today…
The reality of right and wrong are very clear in today’s passages and there are stark contrasts between the two.
Finishing well vs perishing in shame … Psalm 71:9-18
Filled with the Holy Spirit vs filled by Satan … Acts 4:23-37, Acts 5:1-11
- Notes from today’s devotional
First, we see the results of being filled with the Holy Spirit:
Peter and John are not put off by the threats made to them (4:17,21). Rather, ‘they raised their voices together in prayer to God’ (v.24). They prayed, ‘Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness’ (v.29). ‘After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly’ (v.31).
‘All the believers were one in heart and mind’ (v.32a). They were all filled with the same Holy Spirit. A mark of a Spirit-filled community is unity.
They had a liberating attitude to their possessions: ‘They shared everything they had… There were no needy persons among them’ (vv.32,34). Those who could afford it helped support those who were in need (vv.34–35).
They had prayed, ‘Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus’ (v.30). Their prayer was answered: ‘With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus’ (v.33a).
‘… much grace was upon them all’ (v.33b). Experience of God’s grace should lead to a community of grace and graciousness.
By stark contrast, in the second half of today’s passage we see the results of being filled by Satan. Peter uses very strong language when he says, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart’ (5:3).
There was no necessity for Ananias and Sapphira to give away their property or money: ‘Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?’ (v.4). They were not criticised for a lack of generosity.
Rather, the evidence that Satan had filled their hearts is not only that they lied(which could be a spontaneous act), but also that they conspired together to lie. Peter says to Ananias, ‘You have lied to the Holy Spirit’ (v.3) and he says to Sapphira, ‘How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord?’ (v.9). This conspiracy was premeditated and prepared.
God gave Peter a ‘word of knowledge’ (vv.3–4). This exposed their sin. The fear of God came upon the people (vv.5,11). This type of fear was not fear of human beings or a slavish fear, but rather a holy fear. They ‘had a healthy respect for God. They knew God was not to be trifled with’ (v.11, MSG).
This is not an easy story to read, and many of us struggle with the severity of God’s judgment in the passage. Ultimately, only God knows the secrets of our hearts, and we need to trust that his judgments are fair and just. It reminds us though of the awesomeness of God’s presence in our midst. The sense of God’s presence was so great that people feared that their sin might be exposed. But this presence of God and the Holy Spirit also brought about extraordinary conversions, healings, signs and wonders.
- Notes from today’s devotional
Love vs hate … 2 Samuel 13