Summary: Sin in the Early Church has dire concequences
A Few Bad Apples…
Jeff Hughes – March 23, 2003
Calvary Chapel Aggieland
a. The old saying goes, a few bad apples will ruin the whole bunch. The church at Jerusalem was growing by leaps and bounds. Thousands of people were being added to their numbers. Their influence in the city was growing as well. The church was no longer an underground movement of a few Galileans, because now thousands were part of this body of believers.
b. Today, we will get a look into the life of the early church through the eyes of those who were there, and recorded by our friend Dr. Luke. We will see the truth about the church and not a sugar-coated fairy tale. This wasn’t a sales pitch for the church, it was the truth. We know this because as we continue through this passage today, we will see both good things happening in the church along with the bad things.
c. We will look at two different men, both mentioned here for our benefit, one was an shining example of what is right and good in the church, and one who embodied the sin that can creep in among us. One approached God with right motives, and the other one approached God with wrong motives. These two were similar to Cain and Abel in this respect. One gift God accepted and one gift God rejected, and just like in the story of Cain and Abel found in Genesis, someone was going to die.
d. Today, we will finish chapter 4 of Acts, and continue through our study of the early church. But first, let’s pray, and ask the Lord to come and bless our study today.
a. It happened one time after a pastor had made an appeal in church for a great and worthy cause, that a certain woman, a member of the church, came to him and handed him a check for $50, asking at the same time if her gift was satisfactory. The pastor immediately replied, "If it represents you." There was a moment of soul-searching thought and she asked to have the check returned to her. She left with it and a day of two later she returned handing the pastor a check for $5,000 and again asked the same question, "Is my gift satisfactory?" The pastor gave the same answer as before, "If it represents you." As before, a truth seemed to be driving deeply. After a few moments of hesitation she took back the check and left. Later in the week she came again with a check. This time it was for $50,000. As she placed it in the pastor’s hand, she said, "After earnest, prayerful thought, I have come to the conclusion that this gift does represent me and I am happy to give it.".
b. Guys, your giving is important to God. If we serve an all-powerful, all-knowing God, and we do, then He is aware of what you give to Him according to what you make according to His grace. Whether you are a good steward and whether you give with the right motives is between you and God.
c. When we started Calvary Aggieland, I told my pastor, my wife, and my God that I was never going to twist your arms to give. I’ve heard about churches that ask to see your W-2, and ask you to sign up to giving a certain amount each month, and they base their budget for the year off of that. That will never happen here as long as I am Pastor.
d. Here, we budget off of what has come in the previous month. This church is here in Bryan / College Station by God’s grace. Where God guides, God provides is a saying you’ll hear a lot if you hang around Calvary Chapels. What it means is that we won’t presume for God how He is providing. God’s not poor. He can provide exceedingly abundantly above what we could ever ask of think.
e. So far, God has met all of our needs. We continue to pray about finding another place to meet for Sunday services. The reality is that to rent even a modest place all the time is going to cost about roughly three times more than what we are paying for the place we are meeting now only on Sundays.
f. I am praying that God will provide us a space that we can rent that will meet our needs and our budget, and I have no doubt that He will provide it in the coming weeks.
g. God takes care of His church and His people, and we will get to see an example of that today. Open your Bibles to Acts chapter 4, verse 32, and we will study through chapter 5, verse 11 today as we continue through the Book of Acts.