ACTS SERIES: WEEK 5 “LIAR, LIAR”
Scripture: Acts 4:34 – 5:11
YOU MUST NOT LIE!
Exodus 20:16 (NLT) “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
White “Lies” People Tell Everyday:
- I’m almost there…
- It must have gone to my spam folder…
- My phone died…
- My Phone’s been acting weird…
- I’m almost finished…
- It’s so great to see you…
- I don’t care about looks as much as personality…
- I remember you…
- I’m fine…
- I’m having trouble hearing you…
The Big Idea: The early church started as a small group of unqualified people with no money, no power, and no influence. BUT – they turned the world upside down with only two weapons; they were completely devoted to the gospel and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 4:34 – 5:11 (NLT) 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.
36 For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. 37 He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.
Ananias and Sapphira
5 But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. 2 He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4 The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!”
5 As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. 6 Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?”
“Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.”
9 And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.”
10 Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.
We see that the gospel and the fullness of the Holy Spirit had loosened the church’s grip on stuff, and tightened their grip on each other. They were full of love, power and unity.
Lessons from Imperfect People:
- WHY DID ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA DO WHAT THEY DID?
- Their lies were symptomatic of a much deeper problem.
- They loved money and the praise of people more than God.
- They pretended to be someone they were not. Appearances mattered to them.
- They were more concerned with their image than their relationship with God.
How to build generosity into your life:
- Put God first!
- Be grateful for what you have.
- Love people.
- Regard money as a resource.
- Develop the habit of giving .
- WHY DID GOD STRIKE THEM DEAD?
- God hates deceit and dishonesty in His kingdom. Hypocrisy involves using Christ to exalt yourself.
- Whenever you are close to the activity of God (the mighty works of God), the seriousness of sin increases.
- Ananias’ name means “God is merciful”. They were witnesses of Christ’ crucifixion, resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They had fully experienced the grace of God.
- This was a premeditated, planned out sin to lie.They did not have a holy fear and awe of God, they dishonored the Holy Spirit which merits God’s judgment.
- WHAT IS GOD TEACHING US THROUGH THIS?
- That you can’t judge a book by its cover. Ananias and Sapphira looked good on the outside but on the inside?
- It’s easy to be deceived.
- We can’t hide from the Holy Spirit.
- It’s a good thing to Fear the Lord. … and great fear came upon all who heard it. V5 And great fear came upon the whole church and all who heard these things. V11
- God is Holy; perfect in Love and Judgment!
Fear is a Part of Worship. Definition: Awe mixed with intimacy.
As the fear of God increases, so does the sense of His love.
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was built up; walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied. Acts 9:31
- SIN IS A DEADLY SERIOUS MATTER TO GOD! Honestly we struggle to understand this story.
- Someone said: We shouldn’t ask the question, Why did they die? We should wonder, Why do we remain alive?
- God is long – suffering and patient, and slow to anger. In fact, he is so slow to anger that when his anger does erupt, we are shocked and offended by it.
How shall we escape if we neglect (ignore) so great a salvation? Hebrews 2:3
The bottom line is this: Success in the kingdom of God involves our full surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Action Step: Personal Evaluation
- Are you willing to obey God with your finances?
- Are you willing to surrender your reputation and live wholeheartedly for Jesus?
- Are you treating God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit casually?
- Are you seeking – desiring, all God has for you?