Summary: answering three tough questions concerning the integrity of my faith...
The importance of
an authentic faith
Acts Series: ¡§Completely Irreligious, Yet Radically Christian¡¨ Part 10
Pastor Jeff Christopherson
March 16, 2003
Acts 4:36 ¡V 5:11
Authentic Worshipping Community
3 QUESTIONS CONCERNING AN AUTHENTIC FAITH:
I. What is an Authentic Faith?
1. Authenticity is Character easily Recognized.
¡§Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement) 4:36
2. Authenticity is Faith in Action.
¡§¡Ksold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles¡¦ feet.¡¨ 4:37
3. Authenticity is not ¡¥pre-packaged¡¦ spirituality.
¡§Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.¡¨ 5:1
4. Authenticity is Radical Honesty.
With his wife¡¦s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles¡¦ feet.¡¨ 5:2
II. What are the Dangers to an Authentic Faith?
¡§3Then Peter said, ¡§Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4Didn¡¦t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn¡¦t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.¡¨ 5When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8Peter asked her, ¡§Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?¡¨ ¡§Yes,¡¨ she said, ¡§that is the price.¡¨ 9Peter said to her, ¡§How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.¡¨ 10At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.¡¨ 5:3-11
FOUR SOBERING FACTS:
1. Satan can influence believers (at their weakness).
¡§Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart¡K¡¨
2. We are responsible for our own spiritual condition.
¡§What made you think of doing such a thing?¡¨
3. When we lie to our spiritual community, we lie to God.
¡§You have not lied to men but to God.¡¨
4. There is a significant price to pay for an inauthentic faith.
¡§When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.¡¨
III. How do I Develop an Authentic Faith?
1. Listen to the Holy Spirit¡¦s gentle prompting.
¡§With his wife¡¦s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles¡¦ feet.¡¨ 5:2
2. Take care of areas of inconsistent character.
¡§Peter said to her, ¡§How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord?¡¨ 5:9
3. Remember that God is God ¡V always.
¡§Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.¡¨ 5:11
Scripture passages from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.
Home Church Discussion Guide: authentic community
1. When have you done something ¡¥spiritual¡¦, just because you thought it would make you look ¡¥spiritual¡¦? 2. How would you define, ¡¥character¡¦? Read Acts 4:36-5:2. What are the differences between Barnabas and Ananias & Sapphira¡¦s character? 3. Read Acts 5:3-11. What are some of the consequences of an inauthentic faith? Which consequence is most sobering to you? 4. How can this recounting of history help in strengthening the authenticity of your character? How can it help in strengthening our Home Church? 5. What one phrase would you like to take home and meditate on this week? Why? 6. Pray for the authenticity of your spiritual community.
„¶ 2003, Jeff Christopherson, The Sanctuary