Summary: Have you ever lied to God? Made Him a promise you didn’t keep? Cared more about what others think than what God knows? The Problem, the Purging, the Punishment. Link included to parts 1 & 2 in formatted text w/ PowerPoint Presentation.
Begin w/ 4:36, then read 5:1-10 [the ushers that day had a hard job…no wonder old churches put their cemeteries so close!]
v. 11 Great Fear? I guess so!
The early church in our text is in great revival w/ thousands getting saved…and the devil didn’t like it!
He had tried to stop the church w/ intimidation / persecution…but when he couldn’t stop it from w/out, he tried to stop it from w/in!…if he couldn’t conquer the church, maybe he’d try to corrupt the church!
So ch. 5 starts w/ a great contrast… “but”.
…Means—here’s the flip side.
In ch’s. 2-4 thousands are saved…
but, Ananias and Sapphira
Great generosity… but, Ananias and Sapphira
Wonderful unity… but, Ananias and Sapphira
I. The Problem in the Church
v. 1-4 Permit me a little liberty here, and use your imagination to think how this may have happened.
In Acts 4:36 Barnabus had made quite a generous donation, and many would have been impressed. He didn’t give it for praise, but inevitably word gets out. Perhaps this married couple were bitten by the green-eyed monster of jealousy and concocted a plan of their own.
They sell some land and carry a big bag of money home and dump it on the living room floor. What a stack! Money does funny things to people. The Bible calls it a snare/trap.
“If I had a million dollars I’d give it to the church”
[they don’t even tithe]. Silly because money doesn’t tend to make greedy people unselfish, it has a tendency to make greedy people more greedy! The more you have the more you want.
They look at that stack and say, this will be a great day at church this Sunday…and they planted some leaks to spread the word!
I picture in my mind them looking at all that money the rest of the week saying, we haven’t saved anything for retirement [took out part, set it aside].
Extended cab camel…
by Sunday they had half the $ in the bag and half under their mattress.
Brought it to church Sunday and gave it.
Was it wrong for them to only bring part to church?
No! There was no record of God telling them to do it. And that’s the point Peter makes in v. 4…
Nothing wrong w/ any of the above. The problem was not their giving only part of the $…the problem was that they SAID they were giving it all. They intentionally lied/deceived to lift themselves up! They pretended to be something that they were not.
If they had come and said, we sold land for 50k and we feel led to give half and keep half…that would have been fine…but they just had to try to keep up w/ the Barnaby Jones’ [Barnabus].
We can point the finger, but 3 more are right back at us.
How many times do we sing All to Jesus I Surrender…but not come back to church for just the slightest excuse.
Or, Sweet Hour of Prayer, knowing we haven’t prayed 10 minutes!
Or, sang a special for our own glory and not the Lord’s
Or, prayed a spiritual prayer publicly in the service, our only heartfelt one all week!
Or, collected the offering as an usher, but not participate in giving at your church?
Or, taught that lesson on sin, only to go home intending to sin privately.
Lead kids in song, O be careful little eyes…then surf the net or TV lustfully!
Ill.—Congressman Mark Foley was a leader in legislation about internet child predators, until it was revealed this week that He WAS one!
Jesus said in Matthew 15:8
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Our hypocrisy will hinder the cause of Christ!
You can fool…
Some of the people all the time
All the people some of the time
But you can’t fool…
All the people all the time!
Those in your home will figure it out
Those at work/those neighbors/…those at church
Prov.—“showed before the whole congregation”
…because we can’t fool God anytime!
In the gospels Jesus was very compassionate, patient, and tender in dealing w/ those who fell to sins of the flesh…but very harsh w/ those who were religious hypocrites!
--woman caught in very act of adultery.
I forgive you, go and sin no more
--woman at the well, married 5 x’s, shacking up…
Jesus said, I’ll give you living water
--Zacchaeus the liar/thief…
Today salvation is coming to your house!
But how did He treat the religious hypocrites?
You snakes! Generation of vipers! You’re like a whitewashed tomb, looks good outside but filled w/ dead, stinking corruption! That’s what you remind me of…I know your wicked thought life/motives!