A Sermon (#532) Preached By William “Bill” Touchton
Edited By Michael D. Lawson
If you have your Bibles, turn to the last few verses of Acts 4, and I want us to review a moment, because it sets the context for what takes place in Acts 5.
Now, when we leave Acts 4, the church was undergoing some persecution. Many of the early believers, when they accepted Jesus as their Savior, they were rejected by the world. Many of them lost their jobs and homes.
So look at what takes place in Acts 4.32-37.
Now what would you think about a person like Barnabas? I have seen people over the years who have made great sacrifice to the church, some have personally blessed us, and these people are looked at as real spiritual people, and to a degree they become modern day people.
Now here’s what I have observed. Must of us want to be like these people. We want to make sacrifices for God. And there are some, who just want the recognition.
Let’s read the first 11 verses, and then lets come back and share a few thoughts…
Verse 1 – Ananias means Jehovah has graciously given. So here is a man that God had blessed in a unique way.
Here’s what they did. They saw the recognition that Barnabas had received and wanted some for themselves, so they sold their land, kept part, but said we are giving all we got.
Verse 4 – “Conceived” is a word we studied in James. It means to give birth to…Now, turn to James 1 and let me show you what happened (James 1.15)…
…Buried in the heart of Ananias and Sapphire was the sin of pride. Pride says I want you to think more of me than what I really am. So Satan took this sin and enticed them. He fed that part of their ego, he showed them a way to fulfill this lust.
Now watch, it was their land – to do with as they chose – once they sold it – the money was their’s to do with as they chose – but what they did was try to deceive people into thinking they gave more than they did.
They lied to the body…to God.
James 1.15 – “Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin – when it is finished, bringes forth death.”
Read verses 6-11.
Question: Why would God do something like that? They just lied? Why was God so harsh? Because He’s holy, and He hates sin, and Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sin.
Now watch, sin in the body (church) is a serious matter to God. Why? Because we represent Jesus Christ to the world, and when sin is allowed to exist in the body, then we misrepresent Christ in the world.
We don’t like to talk about this much, and let me tell you why we don’t.
- misconceptions of scripture
- we don’t want to clean ourselves up
- if we do that, we will owe the church
Therefore we tolerate things that God never would.
God will not condemn the church! What he condemns is the world!
Question: Why doesn’t God still do this? He may, but the reason He doesn’t do it with such consequences is because His son is greater than our sin.
Question: Are you willing to presume upon the grace of God? Satan wants to deceive us as to the 1) seriousness of sin and as to 2) the consequences of sin. Some ofd God’s greatest moves were accomplished after the purging of sin!
Look at verses 12-16.
Verse 20 – Go, stand, speak…What would you have done?
Look at verse 17-ff…at the reaction of the religious folk…the people met in the porch…out in the open.
Verse 29 – They took their stand. In spite of the consequences.
We had a lady that was a nurse, and she worked for a doctor who would not do abortions, but he would recommend them to a doctor who would. But she came under conviction and said, “I don’t think God would have us do that.” She asked me what she should do? I said, “Tell your boss. You don’t think God would want you to do that.” She did – they quit making recommendations. Must of us fear the consequences. The question is, would you rather suffer the consequences of God or man?
Verse 33 – Have you ever thought why the world hates the gospel? In short, because it’s convicting.
Verse 39 – We are unstoppable. In Acts 17, it says they turned the world upside-down.
Verse 40 – How would you feel? They never quit. I need to visit several families who have just quit. I’ve never known anyone to be flayed for the faith. I’ve never known anyone to be jailed for the faith, but I could list a 100 who get mad, didn’t get the job he/she wanted…these people! Obey God…Live a sinless life…Never quit!
How to change the world for Christ:
- They dealt with sin in the church.
- They obeyed God, no matter the circumstances.
- They kept at it.