Summary: Acts 4:32 - 5:11 reveals some facts about church life, both the good and the bad.
* "You take the good, you take bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life."
* Scripture does not omit the "bad" aspects of various people (i.e., Noah, Moses, David, Jonah, Elijah)
* The church in Acts has been all "good" so far: the Holy Spirit’s arrival; multiple conversions; powerful prayer; etc.)
* The text today reveals not just the good, but also the "bad" that occurred within the first church
* Notice five facts of church life in Acts, and what they can teach us today...
FACT #1: The church has an enemy (5:3)
* Ananias allowed Satan to have more control of his life at that moment than God
* Satan’s pattern of always opposing the work of God and his plan to redeem mankind
* Satan’s attention today is focused on stopping the church from doing what God has called his people to do (cf. 1 Thess. 2:18)
* Because of this fact, we need to respond accordingly...
A. We need to believe that Satan can be defeated (1 John 4:4): If we do not believe this, then he will defeat us!
B. We must not give Satan the opportunity to defeat us (Eph. 4:27): "If you give the devil an inch, he’ll become your ruler."
C. We need to go on the offensive against Satan (James 4:7): If we wait for the attack to come to us, we stand defeated!
FACT #2: The church is imperfect
* The church is not a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners.
* God’s goal is to make the church holy = this means that we are not yet perfected
* The imperfections that flood the church can be seen when you study the church at Corinth (i.e., lawsuits, division, immaturity, arguments, no respect for worship)
* Because of this fact, we must load up with lots of GRACE and FORGIVENESS (Luke 17:3-4)
* The solution for the trouble at Corinth was forgiveness (2 Cor. 2:7-9)
* Without love, grace, and forgiveness we will become disillusioned with the church and will stop being a part of what God wants to do in and through the church
FACT #3: Despite our imperfections, the church can have a positive impact on the world
* 4:32-37 reveals dynamic spirituality among many in the first church, despite the sin that existed in such magnitude among some
* The example this church set in the midst of sin...
A. They were an example of unity (v. 32a) = John 17:20-21
B. They were an example of witness (v. 33) = Luke 14:23
C. They were an example of service (v. 32b, 34-36) = their priorities were God, others, self
FACT #4: Our imperfections can have a negative impact on others (5:1-4)
* Our imperfection does not give us the freedom to dive into sinful living
* Ananias and Sapphira exhibited three traits that caused this first big problem to occur in the church...
A. Hypocrisy (5:1-2) = spiritual pretense: they wanted to appear spiritual without actually being spiritual
B. Selfishness (5:3-4) = Ananias was focused inward and it caused his downfall; when a church focuses on self, it is doomed!
C. Poor stewardship = 1 Cor. 4:2
FACT #5: The church suffers when sin is embraced (5:5-11)
* Notice the consequences that occurred because of sin (go to OT and explain what happened to the nation when Achan sinned)
* Sin is a serious thing
* We never sin alone; our actions affect others
* 1 Cor. 12:26