The Early Church Leaders Possessed a Divine Holiness.
This is also a mark of excellence. The story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-5) provides a clear indication of godliness within the early church. One of the primary points of this event is that God does not condone “sin in the camp.” The full implications of this passage in Acts are not certain. Remember; there were no congregations of various denominations in Jerusalem during that time. There was only one group of believers who made up the church. The church called attention to itself by the lifestyle of those who made up the congregation. Their “lifestyle,” especially the leaders, had long-range effects upon the growth and development of the early church. A few years later Paul would indicate the same truth to the church in Corinth. Open deceitfulness and lying discovered by the pagan community would hamper the cause of Christ.
Ananias lied to God and to himself. He lied to those whom he had committed to be with, work alongside, and serve with. He made a public commitment to God, the church, and to the community. Now his lifestyle threatened to destroy all that the church had proclaimed.
The story of Ananias and Sapphira is typical of many church leaders today. There are a large number of church leaders who love the Lord, a little bit. The problem is that they love the world and the things of this world more than they love Christ.
The church must maintain the highest level of ethics, honesty, and conduct. Standards must never be compromised in order to increase membership. Worker guidelines and expectations must never be lowered in order to attract more leaders.
How many times has someone said, “But preacher, we might drive them away”? Christ’s love must be at the heart of what we do. However, let’s be certain we maintain integrity before the community.
The church is to carry out the mandate of the Lord, to magnify the marks of excellence. Those who make up the church must put on the likeness of Christ. Paul wrote in Philippians 2:5, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” In other words, our lifestyle must reflect the image of the living Christ. This is especially true for those serving in places of leadership—pastors, staff, and board members.