Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 15, 2019

“let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds … encouraging one another”

Today’s devotion spans parts of two chapters.  It comes from Acts 4:32 to Acts 5:11.

“32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul;  and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.  33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.  34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales  35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.

36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet.  3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?  4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own?  And after it was sold, was it not under your control?  Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart?  You have not lied to men but to God.”  5 And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it.  6 The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.

7 Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  8 And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?”  And she said, “Yes, that was the price.”  9 Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test?  Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.”  10 And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  11 And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.”  Acts 4:32 to Acts 5:11.


We do not encourage each other enough in the church.  Instead, we compete with each other to appear self-righteous.

Ananias and Sapphira would have stayed out of trouble if they were just honest and did not deceive to appear self-righteous.  As Peter stated:  “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own?  And after it was sold, was it not under your control?  …”  Acts 5:4.

In contrast, Joseph was called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement).  Acts 4:36.

We have a Christian man in St. Petersburg, Florida where I live named Rev. Lionel who runs a Christian rescue mission.  The mission feeds and clothes and preaches the gospel to the homeless.  Sometimes, I tell him and others how much I appreciate him and his mission, particularly because I do not have the inclination to do that work.  If he asks me to work in the mission’s soup kitchen, I probably will just reply:  “Nope.”   But, if he sends me a newsletter with an envelope to send him a donation, I may sometime send a little money to him.

There are people in the church who, if a fellow member gets sick, they are eager to rush to their home with a plate of food.  I do not remember doing that good work before.  And, I confess that I do not even remember encouraging those who did so.

I need to encourage others more.

“6 Each one helps his neighbor
And says to his brother, “Be strong!”
7 So the craftsman encourages the smelter,
And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil,
Saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
And he fastens it with nails,
So that it will not totter.”  Isaiah 41:6-7.

As Christians, we have different spiritual gifts and different inclinations to do different good works. 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.  There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.”  1 Corinthians 12:4-6.

We should do good works through the abundant grace given to us.  See Acts 4:33.

But, we should not do good works through our flesh, particularly to appear self-righteous.

Let us do good works through the Spirit of God in us.  

“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God;  for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”  Romans 8:6-8.

Let us be sincere (“without deceit” as defined in my New American Standard Bible Dictionary/Concordance.)

“But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”  1 Timothy 1:5.

We may not do the same good work that a fellow Christian does, but we can at least encourage that fellow Christian.

“and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another;  and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:24-25.


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