A Sermon (#534) Preached By William “Bill” Touchton
Edited By Michael D. Lawson
If you have your Bibles turn with me to Acts 5. Now you will recall that last week we looked at the story of Ananias and Sapphire. They sold a piece of land, kept out a portion of the money, and then told the church they were giving all they received to help the poor, and God killed both of them right there on the spot.
Now, when you think about it, it seems like such a small sin. They just lied. They wanted people to think they were more spiritual than what they were. So, they conceived of a way of doing that and tried to pull it off, but God caught them. It seems like such a small sin, no one got hurt. No one died. No homes were destroyed. In fact, just the opposite took place and people were helped with their offering and yet God poured His wrath out on them.
Now someone may ask, is this the sin unto death that John talks about in 1 John 5? Because if it is, then I never want to be guilty of committing this sin.
Well the truth is we don’t know. John does talk about a sin unto death, but he never identifies that sin. Well, why not? Because the sin unto death could be any sin. Think about it. the Bible says in Rom. 6.23 that the wages of sin (singular) is death. Therefore, God could pull the plug at any time. Whenever sin occurs, God has a holy right to demand payment. Which is death.
Well, why doesn’t God do it anymore? He may. But if He doesn’t, it’s because His grace is greater than our sin.
Now, someone may say, “Well, when I got saved, God washed away my sins, past, present, and future. That’s exactly right. But listen to this, that doesn’t give you a license to sin. God will never condone in the church, what he condemns in the world.
The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 6, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man south, that shall he also reap. For he that south to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that south to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
Listen, Satan has tried to convince us that we can sin for free. But God will never condone in the church what He condemns in the world.
Now let me share a practice that Campus Crusade taught me many years ago:
No one knows my sin any quicker than me. Look at 1 John 1.9. We can use our breathing as an act of confession. Exhale the bad. Inhale the good.
Now, let me say another thing. This elimination of sin did not hurt the church, it helped. They lost two, but gained a multitude. Why? Children like to operate within a boundary – so do God’s people.
Now, let’s pick up with 5.17 and I will show you what else God uses to grow his church.
Verse 18 – The common prison was a stockade in which they put regular criminals. It would have been a very secure place, with no way of escape. Guards would have been placed outside the door, and they may have even chained their hands and feet.
Verse 20 – Go…stand (take a stand) and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life…the Christian faith is a life changing experience.
I used to work with a man on the railroad by the name of Andrew Allen. Mean man. I went to school and saw him at Westside. He now tells people about Jesus. Another man I knew, Ike Nolan, was a big, tough guy. He didn’t care about a soul in this world until God saved him.
These men were not introduced to a religion, but a life changing faith.
Verse 21 – They went. You would have too. Listen, the command hasn’t changed. He spoke to them through an angel, today he speaks through His word. He will hold us no less responsible than he did these men. Let me tell you what sharing your faith will do. It frees you up to be used by God.
Verse 24 – You know what they are thinking? Here we go again. We thought we stopped this thing when we nailed that man to the cross, but these guys have picked back up.
Verse 25 – “standing in the temple, and teaching the people” – they were out in the open, there was nothing hidden about their faith.
Verse 28 – That’s exactly what they wanted.
Verse 29 – Last night, I heard Adrian Rogers say, “If you please God it doesn’t matter who you displease, If you displease God, it doesn’t matter who you please.”
Verse 30-31 – Same message: Jesus died. God raised Him up. Forgiveness comes through Him.
Verse 32 – “martyr” – we put our lives on the line to share.
The Holy Ghost: What we does is He wills the gospel into the heart. When someone you share the gospel with gets saved, it isn’t because of the words you said, but it is because the Holy Spirit is communicating to that person’s heart. All God has called me and you to do is share. He does the saving. He can communicate to the heart of the unbeliever.
Chuck Colson has a worldwide prison ministry. One day He invited Billy Graham to speak. He said, “These men have never been to church, they are hardened criminals. You have to speak to them on their level. Your typical sermon won’t do.” When Dr. Graham spoke, he preached his typical sermon, and hundreds were saved. Colson learned the Holy Spirit is the communicator. That’s why even a child can be saved.
One argument for having a children’s church is so the kids can understand what the Bible says. When we say that, we are saying the Holy Spirit can communicate to our children.
Verse 33 – Why is the gospel message so offensive? Because it convicts of sin.
A man called the church one day and said, “I will never attend your church again, and I will never allow my children to attend your VBS!” Why? “Because you said, ‘for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and I don’t want my children growing up thinking they are sinners!”
Verse 38 – This is why churches die…because most of what we do is our work and not God’s.
Verse 40 – notice the courage.
If we want to be used, we must be