I enjoy reading the Acts of the Apostles as I find it details many challenges which are similar to those that believers face today. A few of the challenges noted in today's passages are as follows:
1) People today attempt to be somewhat "inclusive" in their beliefs and will promote the concept that there are a variety of ways to heaven...aside from Christ. The apostles were very firm in their response" Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" Acts 4:12. This clearly dispels the myth of multiple paths.
2) Another challenge we may face is the sense that we are inadequate in terms of our knowledge or ability to speak to others about Christ. Peter and John astonished the religious leaders in terms of their courage and ability to articulate the gospel...even though they were "unschooled and ordinary men". The key lies in Act 4 verse 8 where we find where their ability comes from - it is from the Holy Spirit. We need only to be available to be used.
3) A third challenge that we face today today is our focus on self interest and building our own war chest for that rainy day. It was almost heartwarming to read of the sense of community that the believers had in Act 4;32-35. The key passage in those verses to me was, "There was no needy persons among them". How aware of we of the needs of those around us within the church? Do we even really want to know, because it might result in personal sacrifice? The fact that no one saw any of their possessions as their own and everything as a gift from God to be shared, causes me to take stock of my own openness to share the blessing that have been granted.
4) The final challenge I see comes from the story of Annias and Sapphira. It revolves around our honesty with God. God knows our hearts and He knows our struggles, yet just like the two in the story, are we honest with Him when we say we are willing to go where He leads us? Willing to do whatever He asks of us? From the account of Annias and Sapphira it is clear that God does not tolerate dishonesty when it comes to our communication with Him. How honest am I with God?
Prayer- Thank you Lord for the insight you provide as we study your Word. We thanks you for providing a clear and singular path to salvation through your Son. Please help us be aware that the blessing you provide to us are only temporarily in our care and are placed there to be shared with others. Help me always be open and honest in my communication with you. Amen.