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Summary: God shows us that: 1. Satan has a strategy (vs. 1-3). 2. Our integrity is important (vs. 3-4). 3. Our sin is serious (vs. 5-10). 4. We should grow in godly fear (vs. 5 & 11). 5. We must lean on God's leadership (vs. 3-4).

God Shows His Church How to Stay out of Trouble

Acts 5:1-11

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Aug. 11, 2013

BACKGROUND:

*When we looked at the early church last week, they had been severely threatened by the religious authorities in Jerusalem. But they took their troubles to the Lord, and saw Him answer in a powerful way. They kept spreading the gospel, and they generously helped each other every way they could.

*Acts 4:31-37 puts it this way:

31. And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

32. Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.

33. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

34. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,

35. and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.

36. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,

37. having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

*All was well, or rather all seemed well. But a new kind of trouble was just around the corner, and we read about it in the opening verses of Acts 5. With this background in mind, let's read Acts 5:1-11.

INTRODUCTION:

*I will always remember something that Lewis Bartet said on the radio years ago. He said, "If I searched and searched until I finally found the perfect church, then after I joined it, it wouldn't be perfect anymore."

*Sadly, there is no perfect church on this side of Heaven. Even the first church ran into trouble before too long. But God can use their trouble to help us stay out of trouble.

1. First: God shows us that Satan has a strategy.

*Satan has a strategy to hurt and hinder God's church, and Christians: All of us are in Satan's sights. We get a good look at the devil's strategy in vs. 1-3:

1. But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.

2. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet.

3. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?"

*What is Satan's strategy to attack God's church? -- We can see 5 things here that the devil still tries to do today.

[1] First he tries to deceive us.

*Before they tried to deceive others, Ananias and his wife were deceived by the devil. Satan told them they needed that money. Satan told them it didn't matter. It was just a little lie. And Satan told them that no one would ever know.

[2] The devil uses deception. He also uses our disobedience.

*He may not be able to steal our salvation, but if he can get us to disobey God, the devil can steal our friendships, our trust, our testimony, and our health.

[3] The devil uses our disobedience. He also uses division.

*Satan tries to do everything he can to divide God's church, and too many times he is successful. The devil could have used this incident to divide the church. I can hear someone saying, "Peter sure was hard on Ananias and Sapphira!" Thankfully, God made it clear that their punishment was in His Hands.

[4] But the devil uses division. He also uses discouragement.

*It would have been easy for the early church to get discouraged over such a big set-back. "Two people dropped dead in the service last week." That's not what you want to see in the church bulletin. And the devil has all kinds of ways to discourage us.

[5] He uses discouragement. He also uses distraction.

*It is easy to get side-tracked in church, and the devil does everything he can to make us forget what matters. Satan used all five of these strategies in the early church, and we can be sure he is using the same strategies today.

*As David Holwick says, "The Devil tried to tempt Jesus, and he will try to tempt you. He cannot steal your salvation, but he can ruin your spiritual effectiveness." (1)

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