Summary: It is really a fatal attraction to fall in love with things that have the potential to destroy our relationship with God, our fellowship with others and the peace in our lives. This is what happened in the Ananias and Sapphira story.
Subject: “A Fatal Attraction”
Text: Acts 5:1-11
How dangerous it is to hate what God loves and to love what God hates. It is really a fatal attraction to fall in love with things that have the potential to destroy our relationship with God, our fellowship with others and the peace in our lives. This is what happened in the Ananias and Sapphira story. They were a couple who used a God given blessing in a God forbidden way. The root cause of their fall was a fatal attraction. Ananias and Sapphira loved money and the praise of others more than they did God. They set themselves against the Holy Spirit and resisted his powerful influence. Once the love of money and of human praise took possession of a person, he becomes open to all kind of satanic influence.
The church of God filled with the Holy Spirit’s power was experiencing tremendous growth and unity. The church was filled with demonstrations of genuine generosity and harmony. This new movement was on the lips of every person. Even the Pharisees and Sadducees were impressed with the character and commitment of these ignorant and unlearned men. The church faced both internal and external problems. Externally, they were being persecution constantly. Internally, they were confronted by administrative problems and spiritual hypocrisy. What Satan had failed to accomplish through external persecution, he attempts to do through spiritual hypocrisy. Hypocrisy in the church is still one of the main tools he using to hinder the progress of the church. Most of the time, he using this same fatal attraction: The love of money and the love of praise. The number one reason people give for not wanting to have anything to do with the church or with Christianity is hypocrisy. They say the church is filled with hypocrites. Would you consider yourself a hypocrite? I want you to evaluate yourself based upon what one man wrote. He said, “I met the strangest man the other day. He said he believes in the Bible, but he never reads it. He said he thought well of the church of which he is a member, but he never attends. He said a man should be honest with God in money matters, but he never tithes. He said the younger generation needs the Lord, but he isn’t leading them in that direction. He said the church needs dedicated church members, but he isn’t one. He said the church should do more ministering to people, but he doesn’t help. He is critical of the way the church is “run,” but he never participates. He says prayer changes things, but he never prays. He was a strange man indeed.” Do you know people like that? I know a few and one in particular. Some times I find it a lot easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk. Are there areas of your life that you do not quite walk the walk?
One recent survey by the Barna group revealed some of the hypocrisy that exists in the church. Listen to these statistics: 29% of Christian adults surveyed in 1997 actually believe that Bible commands us to tithe. 17% of Christian adults claimed to have tithed in 1997, but only 3% actually did so. In 1999, 8% of born again Christians tithed their income in 1999. (29% claimed to believe it, 17% claim to do it, only 8% actually do)
It’s like the story I heard about a one dollar bill that met a twenty dollar bill and said, “Hey, where’ve you been? I haven’t seen you around here much.” The twenty answered (as the dollar bill listened enviously), “I’ve been hanging out at the casinos, went out on a cruise and did the rounds of the ship, back to the Untied States for a while, went to a couple of baseball games, to the mall, that kind of stuff. How about you?” The one-dollar bill said, “You know, same old stuff, church, church, church
I want to share three things from this text: (1) The Spirit Filled Church Will Be Tempted; (2) Our Temptation of a Spirit Filled Church Stems from Two Sources: Satan and Self and; (3) The Spirit Filled Church Must Grow in the Fear of the Lord and the Comfort of the Holy Spirit.
1. The Spirit Filled Church Will Be Tempted. The Holy Spirit is no guarantee against trouble, persecution, confusion or temptation. The early church was filled with the Spirit, but they faced constant temptation to be fearful, to doubt and even to sin. When ever God is doing great things among his people, we can expect Satan to show up and try to show out. Whenever you and I are experiencing God’s greatest blessing, we should expect Satan to try to tempt us to use a God given blessing in a God forbidden way. The songwriter says, “Yield not to temptation for yielding is sin, each victory will help you some other to win.” The Spirit filled church will be tempted. Secondly, our temptation stems from two sources.