I CAN ENSURE A LONG AND HEALTHY SPIRITUAL LIFE IF I …
AVOID SPIRITUAL RIVALRIES
The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” … And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need. Joseph, called by the apostles “Barnabas” (which means “Son of encouragement”), a Levite born in Cyprus, sold a field that he owned, brought the money, and made an offering of it to the apostles.
Acts 4:33-37 (MP)
• Spiritual rivalry often leaves at least one person dead.
Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that make war inside you. You want things, but you don’t get them. So you kill and are jealous of others. But you still cannot get what you want…
James 4:1, 2 (ERV)
Cain brought an offering to GOD from the produce of his farm. Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of meat. GOD liked Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering didn’t get his approval. Cain lost his temper and went into a sulk. GOD spoke to Cain: “Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.” Cain had words with his brother. They were out in the field; Cain came at Abel his brother and killed him.
Genesis 4:3-8 (Message)
CHERISH ACCOUNTABLE RELATIONSHIPS
A man named Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, also sold some land. He kept part of the money for himself. Sapphira knew he had kept it. He brought the rest of it and put it down at the apostles’ feet.
Acts 5:1, 2 (NIRV)
Let the godly strike me! It will be a kindness! If they correct me, it is soothing medicine. Don’t let me refuse it…
Psalm 141:5 (NLT)
Whoever spends time with wise people will become wise. But whoever makes friends with fools will suffer.
Proverbs 13:20 (ICV)
Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!” As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?” “Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.” And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this?
Acts 5:3-9 (NLT)
• God punished their pretending, not their giving.
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part [of my heart] You will make me know wisdom.
Psalms 51:6 (AMP)
“How terrible it will be for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter. And you will not let those enter who are trying to. "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You travel everywhere to win one person to your faith. Then you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders!
Matthew 23;14, 15, 27 (NIrV)
SHAPE MY VIEW OF GOD FROM SCRIPTURE
As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified... Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.
Acts 5:5, 11 (NLT)
While you did these things, I kept silent; somehow you got the idea that I was like you. But now My silence ends, and I am going to indict you. I’ll state the charge against you clearly, face-to-face. All you who have forgotten Me, your God, should think about what I have said or I will tear you apart and leave no one to save you.
Psalm 50:20-22 (VOICE)
…. try to appreciate both the kindness and the strict justice of God. Those who fell experienced his justice, while you are experiencing his kindness, and will continue to do so if you do not abuse that kindness.
Romans 11:22 (Phillips)