LESSON 4 27/12/2015
ANANIAS – THE UNSUNG HERO
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 232, 233
Devotional Reading: Acts 22:12-15
Topic For Adults: You May Not Be Recognised
Topic For Youths: Playing The Second Fiddle
Topic For Intermediates: Working Behind The Scenes
Scripture Lesson: Acts 9:10-19; 22:11-16; Matt. 25:20-23; Jn. 12:26; 1 Pet. 1:7
Memory verse: Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there. Acts 22:12 (NKJV)
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
The Fortification Of Saul
Saul’s eyesight was restored to him immediately. That was miraculous, but what’s even more amazing was that the first thing Saul wanted to do after receiving his sight was to get baptized. This was a total transformation in Saul’s life. Some days earlier, he hated the Christians, and was hunting them down to kill. After he got baptized, he was identifying with the very people he had hated. That’s what God’s forgiveness can do to you. It can turn you around 360 degrees. Saul joined in fellowship with the very people he hated, and his former friends became his instant enemies. Then Saul was seen enjoying the fellowship of the other believers as he received food and was strengthened by them. He remained in Damascus to fellowship with the brethren to have his physical needs ministered to. The Church that had been on the edge waiting for Saul’s havoc was now giving him a homecoming, unlike that of the prodigal son. The fellowship must have been fantastic. They were praising God for not only His provision and faithfulness, but the church at Damascus saw God’s grace play out in a large way.
Point of Emphasis: Identify yourself with a local church (body of believers)
Prayer Point: Lord, help me to live to fulfil your purpose for my life.
When considering the book of Acts, if you were asked to fill in the blank, “Ananias and _____________.” What would you say? Would you say, “Sapphira?” Did you know that there is another Ananias in the book of Acts? Ananias was not a famous, well-known believer. He was not mentioned in the Scripture outside of the event of Saul’s conversion. Yet, Ananias was given such great privilege from the Lord but like many others like him, we hardly remember him except as we study this text this week. There are many unsung heroes in Christendom – Who preached to D.L Moody, Billy Graham, Pastor (Dr.) R. A George, Pastor (Dr.) E.O Abina, Pastor E.A Adeboye and others? Hardly do we know them because they were never famous.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: AN UNSUNG HERO (ACTS 9:10-19)
Ananias was an ordinary Christian. Nothing is said of his having any office in the Church. His name, which means “Jehovah is gracious,” tells us little about him.
We can’t help admiring his courage. He was an ordinary Christian who put his life on the line to obey God’s command. He is one of those little known and seldom praised saints who faithfully did his ordinary job in the ordinary way and was allowed to participate in a most extraordinary event affecting Christians all over the world right down to the present time.
In short, he was the stuff all great Churches are made of. What did he do that made him such a great man? He heard God’s call, he was receptive to the voice of God, and he answered the call of God, followed God’s directions in spite of the risk involved and went to where he didn’t want to go as he was certainly one of Saul’s intended victims. He could have been tempted to run like Jonah but he did not.
As a result of Ananias’ obedience, Saul was not only baptised. He immediately began the work God called him to do. No further recognition was given Ananias, except that he was mentioned in this record. There was no “great harvest.” Only one soul was won. Yet, Ananias must have looked back on this hour with great satisfaction when Saul was winning multitudes to Christ. Just like Ananias, we should be open to hear from God, listen and obey. We should be available for his service at very short notice. We should not be concerned about earthly recognition but about the great harvest for the Kingdom.
We should be involved in soul-winning which is an ordinary Christian task with extraordinary potential for good. We cannot know what changes may be brought about by a word spoken on behalf of Jesus. The Gospel of Christ is an instrument for change in the lives of men and the world we live in. We have that power to use. Let’s not be ashamed or embarrassed to use it.
PART 2: THE LIFE OF ANANIAS (ACTS 22:11-16)
Ananias was a common foot soldier in the Lord’s army. He didn’t get a lot of attention. Nobody really remembers him. The Lord didn’t blind him with a bright light. The Lord didn’t change his name. As far as we know, the Lord didn’t send him to faraway places where he would suffer floggings and imprisonments and shipwrecks. The Lord did not give him an assignment to change his world so that our world would still be reverberating from the impact. But the Lord did give Ananias an assignment to change the world for one person. You and I may never be asked to change the world, but you and I will be asked, from time to time, to change the world for one person.
We don’t know a lot about Ananias. He was a disciple of Jesus, and he lived in Damascus. Paul describes him as “a devout observer of the law and respected by all the Jews” in Damascus. Ananias was faithful in adhering to God’s law to Israel. When it is said that he was devout, it means that he was very serious about his religion. He was a very godly man. He not only had a faithful testimony with God, but he also had a faithful testimony with others. He had a “good report” of all the Jews in the area of Damascus. Ananias was probably unknown to the twelve disciples and unknown by the Church at Jerusalem, but God knew who he was and where he was. When it was time for a very special task that needed to be done, God chose this faithful man.
Let this be a lesson. God rewards great faithfulness with great privilege. Ananias may have been poor and homely, but these aren’t the things God considers when He needs His work to be done. God is looking for faithful men and women. (1 Cor. 4:2; Lk. 16:10-12). God has never looked for flashy show horses; He looks for faithful work horses. There is level ground for everybody in God’s service.
Not every person can be the most eloquent speaker, or the best dressed, or have the highest IQ, or have the best voice in choir. But every person can be faithful. Yet very few are faithful – Proverbs 20:6
PART 3: WHICH IS BETTER, GOD’S APPROVAL OR MAN’S RECOGNITION? (MATT. 25:20-23; JN. 12:26; 1 PET. 1:7)
So often when we read the Bible, all we see are the superstars and the great men and women like the Apostles Peter and Paul. We see the Old Testament men like Abraham, Moses, and David. Sometimes we feel like these people are too big.
Most times, we want to do things to be recognised by men, to become popular and famous. Men, including church leaders may recognise us and celebrate us but what about God? For God to pay a tribute or honour to someone, it simply means that God values or considers that person precious to Him. The greatest tribute we can receive from heaven has to be “well done my good and faithful servant”
If we will serve the Lord through the trials of the Christian life faithfully, the result will be the triumph of a tribute from the throne of grace. We may not be known here which is not really very important, but if God knows us and our contributions, this is far better and this should be our desire. Human judgement in most cases will be wrong. You might have heard the story of the Pastor who saw heaven and was shown a very beautiful mansion which he believed must belong to him as the pastor-in-charge of the assembly. How wrong he was! The mansion, according to the story, belonged to one old woman in the church who was always secretly praying for the success of the Pastor.
Which one will you prefer – God’s approval or man’s recognition?
We don’t know if Ananias had been a follower of Jesus for a long time or a short time. We do know that he knew Jesus. We know that he had been in Damascus long enough to be known and respected among the Jews (and the Jewish Christians) there. Jesus is always willing to give assignments to those who recognise his voice. He will continue to call upon you to change the world for one person at a time for the rest of your life.
- What does the name Ananias means?
- How did Ananias obey God?
- Which soul did Ananias win for Christ?
- Which is better, God’s approval or man’s approval
- Analyse the life of Ananias?