Summary: This message looks at the record of Peter and John in Acts 5 and their interaction with the religious leaders.
We’re going to be in Acts 5 tonight, but we’re going to begin in 2 Corinthians 10. One of the things that I have been doing is going through scripture and identifying what I call “Godly Strongholds.” And tonight is the third message in the series entitled “Creating New Strongholds.”
Turn to 2 Corinthians 10 and we’re going to begin in verse 3 with the passage that we’ve looked at previously.
(3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
(5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
If you ever decide to do a word search on the word “imaginations,” every time the word is used it’s not good. And it started back in Genesis 6 when it says the imaginations of the hearts of men was evil continually.
Most of the time, when we talk about strongholds, we’re talking about things that keep us from living the way that we should, that keep us from following what the Word of God tells us to do. Tonight, instead of examining strongholds from the viewpoint of tearing them down, as we’ve done in the two previous messages, we’re going to look at strongholds that we need to affirm, conform to and establish in our daily lives.
When we make the decision, ladies and gentlemen, to change what we think, to change how we think to agree with what the Word of God says, then what we are doing is imposing truth on untruth. In essence, that is what a Godly stronghold is.
Tonight, we are going to look at a record involving Peter and John and the strongholds operating in their lives. But, before we do, let’s look at a definition of Godly strongholds.
Godly strongholds are ways of thinking about God and His Word that have been so engrained in our minds and belief systems that we know and confess that they are true.
When you read the gospels, the strongholds operating in Jesus’ life jump out over and over and over again. “I can of my own self do nothing. What I hear My Father say, I say. What I see My Father do, I do.” That was a stronghold for Jesus. He didn’t do anything other than that.
I looked up the definition for the word “Christian.” Webster’s dictionary says a Christian is “a person who professes a belief in the teachings of Jesus.” Sounds good, right? Then I looked up the word “professes.” It means to “openly claim, openly admit and freely accept.”
Ladies and gentlemen, that does not apply to most in the Body of Christ. Even by Webster’s definition, many in the Body of Christ are not Christians. They are not willing to draw a line in sand and say “This is what God’s Word says and nothing else matters.”
That’s a stronghold. When you draw a line in the sand and you say that whatever God’s Word says is all that matters – that’s a stronghold ladies and gentlemen. Many in the Body of Christ are not there. We have marijuana laws. Do you know why? The Body of Christ supported them.
So, once again, Godly strongholds are ways of thinking about God and His Word that have been so engrained in our minds and belief systems that’s we know and confess that they are true.
Acts 5 is where we are going to be tonight and Peter has created a small stir. The chapter starts off with Ananias and Sapphira. You know the story. They tell Peter that they are going to sell some land and give the proceeds to him to use for the Church. They’ve already talked to an auctioneer and he says, for the purpose of this teaching, that they can get $100,000 for it. But the land ends up selling for $250,000.
Now remember, they promised Peter that they would give him all the proceeds from the sale. .But they weren’t expecting $250,000. So they decide to hold back part of the money. Ananias goes to Peter and says “The Lord has really blessed us! Here’s $150,000, which is more than the $100,000 that we thought the land would bring! Isn’t God great?”
Let’s pick this up in verse 3.
(3) But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land.
And the interesting thing about this word “filled” is that they had been filled to the point there was no more filling that could be done. So Ananias and Sapphira’s lifestyle was not one of deceit. And we have to know, ladies and gentlemen, that this happened over a period of time.