Summary: What keeps you from giving everything to God? Check out two sets of people who were following Christ and made two different decisions about their lives, causing two different outcomes.

This morning I want us to look at two sets of people: one set held nothing back from God, and God used them to change their world and ours too. The other set, not so much. Because they kept something back from God, their lives came to a quick end. Before we look into the lives and circumstances of these two sets of people, let’s get a little background info. Turn to the book of Acts.

It is has been a short time since Jesus has ascended into heaven, the promised Holy Spirit has come, Peter has stood up on the day of Pentecost, he has preached the gospel, over 3000 men have been saved and baptized, and as we look back we can see this as the beginning of God's church. But this church isn't a building with a sign in front like we see it today. It is in its rawest form. When you break a church down to its foundation, the church is simply you, God's people. So at this time there were building programs, no choir rehearsal, no 5th Sunday singing's, it was simply people coming together, caring for one another, sharing and growing in their faith, simply for one purpose: so that others would believe is the Gospel that they had received and that had changed their life and eternity.

There is a verse in Acts chapter 2 that puts it this way:

Acts 2:42-47 (ESV)

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.

44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.

45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,

47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

This time in history was the beginning of what we call the church age. People began to tell others about Jesus Christ. It began with those apostles who had seen the life of Jesus, his death and resurrection, and was followed by those who believed the Gospel as it was told, and were brought to salvation because of the work of the Holy Spirit.

What I want you to see from the verses that we just read was verses 44 & 45


Acts 2:44-45 (ESV)

44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.

45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

Think about this. Their attitude was not, this is mine, it belongs to me. Their attitude was, I will not hold onto to anything that will keep someone from coming to Christ. So they looked at the things they owned and knew that they could be used to help bring someone to Christ. They held nothing back.

And as the church began to grow, it became a thorn in the side of the religious leaders known as the Sadducee's? Why? Because they were speaking of a King, a Savior, who had died, had been resurrected, and one day would return. The Sadducee's did not like all of this talk from the people known as Christians.

So, this morning I want us to look at two different sets of people, one set of people held nothing back and because of this you and I know of the Gospel today. The other set held something back, and it costs them their lives.

Let's look at the first set of people. Open your Bibles to Acts 4

Peter and John had just been presenting the gospel in an open area after the healing of a blind man, and they were about to be arrested.

Read Acts 4:1-20

Peter and John held nothing back. Even in the face of death, they would not hide their devotion from the God that saved them and gave them eternal life. Peter and John gave us an example of living a life for God where you hold nothing back.

Now let’s look at another set of people, turn to Acts 5

In Acts Chapter 5 we see two people who have a chance to hold nothing back, but did they? They're names were Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife. They were part of the early believers and considered disciples. Now remember when we hear the word disciple, we think of the 12, but there were many disciples. Remember in Luke he sent out 70 disciples? A disciple is simply a follower of Christ. So Ananias and Sapphira were followers of Christ in the early church. Let's look at their story.

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