6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: The fear of God will help us be faithful to God.

The Dangers of Hypocrisy

Acts 5:1-11

Rev. Brian Bill

January 11-12, 2020

Our family had a blast over Christmas as we all gathered in Virginia for a few days. We laughed a lot, ate a lot, and held our grandkids a lot.

One morning our son-in-law Matt (the one who had heart surgery and the father of Ruby) invited Lydia (the mother of Pip and Ezra) and I to join him for a “Spinning Class” at a Fitness Center. I agreed to go but honestly, I was thinking this sounded like a pretty wimpy workout. I pictured us pedaling some old exercise bikes while listening to music from the 80s.

Not thinking this would cause much sweat I decided to get up early and do my own workout on the elliptical at our hotel. After showering I put on some sweatpants and an old sweatshirt thinking if I didn’t get a good workout on the “Spinners,” at least I would sweat.

When we arrived at the Fitness Center, we were handed cards with numbers on them and told to hang them on our “Spinners” to make sure they didn’t run out of bikes. That was my first clue this was a pretty intense deal. Matt led us to a room filled with about 40 of these “Spinners” and we promptly hung our numbers on our bikes. As the room started to fill up, I quickly realized I was the oldest guy there.

Recognizing we were newbies; the trainer came up to Lydia and me to make a number of adjustments on our “Spinners” so they would fit just right. I started to wonder why it was so important to have the seat and handlebars at such precise measurements for such a leisurely ride.

When all the “Spinners” were filled with fitness-minded people, the trainer stepped to the platform and turned her mic on. She proceeded to explain how to use the “Spinner,” pointing out how to adjust the tension. She was really upbeat and smiley and told us we were in for a fun 50 minutes! We were instructed to keep pace with the music and to follow her lead. She jumped on her super shiny “Spinner” and started pedaling. I looked around smugly and started pedaling with my arms crossed, still thinking this was going to be a weak workout.

As the music picked up, she told us to take the tension knob and turn it two revolutions to the right. I was thinking, “Finally, now I might work up a little sweat.” Then she cranked the music, and everyone started pedaling like mad. I looked around and saw all the “Spinners” in the room going at warp speed. I struggled to keep up. Just as I was starting to get the hang of it, she told us to move off our seats and start pumping like we were climbing up a steep mountain road. I almost fell off the pedals before regaining my balance. Then we were commanded to sit back down and pedal as hard as we could. A minute later, we were instructed to start climbing again.

These intense intervals went on for nearly an hour! It didn’t take me long to wonder why I wore sweatpants and a sweatshirt because I was soaked with sweat. The trainer looked over at me a few times to encourage me to keep going. About halfway through she saw I was struggling and said something like, “If you think you can’t keep going, you can. It’s the New Year and now it’s time for a new you!” Fearful I was going to be called out, I picked up my speed. When we were finished, I could barely walk.

I had underestimated the intensity required of this workout. In a similar way, it’s easy for us to underestimate the intensity God requires of us. Specifically, He calls out hypocrisy while calling us to holy living.

We’re picking up our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Acts. We’ll be in the first eleven verses of Acts 5. Before jumping in I came across a helpful outline of the main sections of the Bible that puts the Book of Acts into context. We’re reminded the whole Bible is about Jesus.

Old Testament Anticipation

Gospels Manifestation

Acts Proclamation

Epistles Explanation

Revelation Consummation

Here’s a summary of where we’re headed: The fear of God will help us be faithful to God.

Let’s stand and listen to Acts 5:1-11: “But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.’ When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.

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