Sermons

Summary: Matters of sin and righteousness are not merely matters of behavior, but also matters of motive.

Death By Motive

Acts 4:32-5:11

1. As many of you know, we Vasiceks temporarily housed a pet pig for over 6 months.

2. So when this Australian story hit the press on Friday, I noted it.

CANBERRA (Reuters) - A pony-size pig who held an Australian woman hostage for 10 days inside her home will be removed on Wednesday to a piggery…

The 176 pound pig, nicknamed Bruce, kept self-confessed animal lover Caroline Hayes, 63, in her farmhouse near Uki, in northern New South Wales State, with aggressive demands to be fed, even headbutting her bedroom door at night.

"I picked up a broom and poked him out with it and he snapped it in half with his mouth," Hayes told Australian media.

She said the pushy pig was as big as a "Shetland pony" and wandered onto her property 11 days ago after being let loose in surrounding rainforest by neighbors.

"One of its eyes it couldn’t see out of, so I put cream in it and I fixed its back up. But apparently it’s actually claimed my land and claimed my place," Hayes said.

Len Hing, a pest animal ranger…said, "I wouldn’t like to see the pig go as a pet anywhere because he could become a potentially dangerous animal," he said.

(Reporting by Rob Taylor, editing by Miral Fahmy)

3. Pigs can make good pets, but this story illustrates that they can get out of control and become dangerous.

4. Many Christians seem to be gentle and kind on the outside, but can be nasty inside.

Main Idea: Matters of sin and righteousness are not merely matters of behavior, but also matters of motive.

I. Our Choice: PRESTIGE or Godliness?

A. We Can Give to God’s Glory Out of LOVE (4:32-37)

1. This is not socialism, nor equalizing; rather, the wealthier believers sold some of their holdings to help out those who were truly in need. It was voluntary

2. The early believers were made up of all classes; Barnabas and his family -- which included John Mark, were wealthy; the church met in John Mark’s mother’s home, and she had servants.

3. Others were impoverished widows without support.

4. Joseph, whose nickname is Barnabas, sells some property and gives all of the proceeds to the apostles for distribution as needs arose.

5. Barnabas is a positive example of giving freely, cheerfully, without constraint, and giving to bless others, not for personal attention.

B. We Can Give for ATTENTION and Prestige (5:1-11)

• The story of Ananias and Sapphira is a contrast to that of Barnabas

• From the narrative we can learn that no one was required or pressured to sell property or liquidate assets to help the church

• Property and riches belonged to the Christians, not the church (not socialism)

• People could sell property if they so desired and give some or all of the money to the church

• But Ananias and Sapphira wanted to give some but pretended they were giving all

C. In This Instance, God PUNISHED the Prestige Seekers

1. Miracles of punishment/discipline

• Achan

• Nadab and Abihu offering unauthorized fire (Lev. 10)

• Uzzah touching the Ark (2 Samuel 6)

2. This passage has more implications than meets the eye

• Giving "at the Apostles feet" meant the apostles were trustees of the church’s funds; the money was not give to them (their hands); that’s why Peter could say, "Silver or gold have I none…" (as a person)

• Ananias had insincere motives; Peter did not just guess at what was going on, nor did he go by a gut instinct; this was revealed to him prophetically.

I Samuel 16:7, " The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

• By saying "Satan put this in your heart," the account moves from a mere instance of greed to spiritual warfare -- a Satanic scheme to harm the church

• Satan strategically uses our sin natures to harm the church

• Ananias is struck down in judgment and carried away to be immediately buried; this was unusual, but the pattern seen in the OT when God struck someone down, as in the case of the punishment miracles mentioned above

• Sapphira comes in and it is obvious that she was in collusion with Ananias

• Our duty to God surpasses our duty even to our spouses…

• Question: Did Ananias and Sapphira go to heaven? I think so.

• The concept of I Cor. 5:5 -- I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

II. Our Emphasis: INTERNAL or External?

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