Clint Eastwood movie? No, the inside of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Right from the very beginning of the established Church of Jesus Christ was there great grace and beauty. There was also deception, sin, and ugly behavior.
In fact, two of its earliest participants were literally named after Grace and Beauty.
They were the husband and wife team of Ananias and Sapphira.
Acts 5:1 – “BUT A certain man named Ananias with his wife Sapphira sold a piece of property, (2) And with his wife’s knowledge and connivance he kept back and wrongfully appropriated some of the proceeds, bringing only a part and putting it at the feet of the apostles.”
Grace and beauty giving in to greed and avarice. Consecrated Christians of the earliest formation of the apostolic church headed up by the apostles themselves. You had to be saved and sanctified to be a part of that.
Sin and greed can break through all barriers once man’s heart turns cold and grieves the Holy Spirit.
(3) But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart that you should lie to and attempt to deceive the Holy Spirit, and should [in violation of your promise] withdraw secretly and appropriate to your own use part of the price from the sale of the land?”
Once the heart grew cold with selfish scheming, and the Holy Spirit fled them, A & S were easy pickin’s for Satan.
It’s basically the Adam and Eve story all over again. Once pure, now sidetracked by the temptation of shiny objects.
Satan knows his prey. He’s been picking losers for centuries. Losers, by the way, are good for Satan.
(If you’re not living right for Jesus, there’s a big ol’ “L” on your forehead).
Once Peter confronts the husband (Ananias) about his grievous sin against God (“You have not [simply] lied to men [playing false and showing yourself utterly deceitful] but to God.”), Ananias is overcome and drops dead on the spot.
When Peter confronts Sapphira with the same rebuke, she drops dead too.
Satan + 2. Church -2.
(11) And the whole church and all others who heard of these things were appalled [great awe and strange terror and dread seized them].
I don’t think the Church is appalled enough today. Not enough “great awe” or “strange terror”.
It’s been replaced by laziness, avarice, lying spirits, disinterest, hitmen evangelists doing the dirty work for pimp preachers, greed, false neo-emergent philosophies, watered down gospels, etc., ad nauseam.
You can’t lie to God, or lie to people using God.
I’m actually surprised more people are not just flat out dropping dead. Especially at the pulpit.
I guess it’s all collecting compound interest and will be P.O.D. (Payable On Death).
It’s all certainly something to ponder.
Most of us can’t comment on the state of the Church overall.
We can however, see what is really going on around our little corner of the Church.
Open your eyes. Examine your hearts. Clean out your ears.
Don’t forget…you are responsible for your actions. When God calls you up you won’t be able to cop out with “I was just doing what the preacher said!”
Adam tried that and…well…look at the mess he made.
Wake up O Ye Born-again, Spirit-filled Child of God. If it could happen to Grace and Beauty, it can happen to you.
Don’t let your Grace be cheapened and your Beauty turned ugly.
Hey, it might be unpopular, but I am simply…
…Keepin’ it Real,