Summary: I talk about how to turn a selfish life into an unselfish one.
Saying No To Selfishness
Opening Illustration: Some things just rob our joy. For instance waking up in the morning because you have to go to the bathroom. As you get up you look at the clock and realize you woke up 20 minutes before your alarm was to go off. How you wished you had those last few minutes to sleep.
We started a new series last week talking about things that rob your joy. Last week was doubt, this week we are talking about selfishness.
What do I mean by selfishness? The definition of selfishness is acting or thinking of one’s own well being alone. Here are some examples of selfishness:
· It’s my way or the highway.
· Going out on a date and all you talk about is yourself.
· Lying so you can stay out of trouble.
· Making huge decisions without consulting a parent or your spouse.
I want us to look at a passage in Acts. We are going to look at some verses in chapter five and then go back to chapter 4. In chapter 5 we see Luke (the writer of Acts) giving us the account of Ananias and Sapphira. Ananias saw where the other believers were doing all kinds of things to take care of the needs of others. I think he got a little jealous. So he wants to look as good as the other believers but not willing to be as generous as they were. So he conspires with his wife to sell a piece of property take the money, give some of it to the apostles and hold the rest back. But, they decided that they would lie and say they gave it all. Notice something in this passage. It says he kept part of the money back for himself. He wasn’t even thinking about his wife and yet he got her in on the deal. Peter confronts them and says, you haven’t lied to men but to God. Ananias drops dead. Three hours later his wife is confronted and she dies too.
Selfishness leads us to do whatever it takes to look our for #1—even lie to God. We will lie, pout, manipulate someone, distort the truth—anything to get our own way. God doesn’t honor a life like that. It doesn’t please him. Because when he comes into our lives he radically changes our hearts where there is a love for people and a lesser love for things. We see that in the believers lives in chapter 4. They were unselfish.
Do you see how unselfish these believers were? They never missed a beat. A distinguishing mark of a child of God is how unselfish they are. How were these believers unselfish?
1). They understood it was no longer “I” but “we”
“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2Cor. 5:15
I think this is where we first need to hit selfishness-the understanding that we are not the only ones on this planet.
They had an “it’s not about me anymore attitude”
Verse 32 says, “All the believers were one in heart and mind.”
They knew their purpose. This great God who touched us enables us to touch others.
2). No one forced them to give.
They looked for opportunities to be unselfish. Something about the Christian faith where when we are touched by the love of God the Spirit of God comes in and ignites a desire to help others. It doesn’t have to be money. We give our time, our resources because we want to not because we have to. God’s not up in heaven keeping tabs on how much of your time you give or how much money you give. Notice the scripture says they shared everything they had. There was no limits to their giving. No boundaries. If there was a need, it was met. In the story of Ananias and Sapphira Peter said, “Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?”
3). There was no need too big they weren’t willing to meet
They sold their fields. They sold their houses. Can you imagine that? What kind of needs what cause someone to need help so bad it would take someone else selling their home? Pesecution? Fire? Another natural disaster? What makes a person willing to give up their house in order to meet a need? They saw their possessions not as their own. How willing are we to meet that need? There was no limit to their giving. Our giving isn’t necessarily sacrifical. We will give our time and money as long as it doesn’t inconvenience us.