Summary: The early church contends with deceivers in their midst
SERIES: Adventures in Acts 005
TITLE: Disciples and Deceivers
TEXT: Acts 5:1-12
INTRO: Our text, today, is one that is often passed over, because some strange things happen in it, and it makes people feel uncomfortable.
The early church was in great revival with thousands getting saved…and the devil didn’t like it! He had tried to stop the church with intimidation and persecution. But when he couldn’t stop it from without, he tried to stop it from within! He couldn’t conquer the church, so he tried to corrupt the church!
I. THE DISCIPLES (4:32-35)
A. A Multitude of Believers (v.32)
1. Were of one heart & one soul
-Understood it was no longer "I" but "We"
2. Loved one another
3. Shared everything they had
4. No one forced them to give, they gave willingly
5. No one lacked for anything
# I have a Pastor friend whose daughter is in John Hopkins hospital, in serious condition. He & his wife could not afford to go see her, but their church is paying for their trip to the hospital.
B. Witnessed to the Resurrection (v.33)
1. They had great power
2. God poured great blessings upon them
C. The World Needs to see Churches Like That, today
II. THE DECEIVERS (5:1-2)
A. Ananias & Sapphira
1. Like Barnabas, they sold their possessions
2. They may have had the intention of giving everything
3. Had the choice of how much to give
4. But greed entered the picture & they decided to play
games with God
5. They pretended to be as generous as everyone else
6. Because they wanted the approval of others
B. They Were Hypocrites
1. The Greek word hupokrites, meant "play actor,"
from which we get the word "hypocrite" or someone
who pretends to be something he isn't
# A 12-year-old boy was waiting in his dentists office. On the patient questionnaire, in the space marked “Hobbies,” he wrote, “Swimming and flossing.” That was hypocrisy.
# Sir Walter Scott wrote:
Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!
2. It has been said that hypocrisy arises with pride
& advances with lies. It focuses on what people think,
rather than what God knows.
3. Hypocrisy focuses on this life, not on eternity.
(Mat 6:5) And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
III. A DISPLAY OF GOD'S POWER (3-12)
A. God Judged Their Sin, Openly
1. First, Ananias had a chance to repent, but he lied
& he died
2. Then, Sapphira waltzes in & she has the same choice,
but she stuck with the story and dropped dead, too
3. Ananias & Sapphira are remembered today, not
with the respect they desired, but as terrible examples
B. The Result
1. Fear and Awe Came Upon Everyone [v.11]
-One reason for the mess America is in is that people
have lost their fear of God & don't take sin seriously
2. The church accomplished great things [v12]
CONCL: Let's face it, we are all guilty of hypocrisy, in some form or other!
Do we ever sing:
- "All to Jesus I Surrender" but we know we haven't surrendered everything to God?
- "Have Thine Own Way, Lord," but we still want to have our own way?
- or, "Sweet Hour of Prayer" when we haven’t prayed 10 minutes?
Our lives are an open book before God.
He sees everything we do.
We need to be people of Integrity if we want God's power in our lives!