04/17/16 I'm Glad I Don't Do That

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, April 25, 2016 Under: Sermon

Acting Like Jesus Series - Acts 5:1-11

Intro: A farmer looked out his window one day and saw several young fellows stealing watermelons from his field. He pulled out his gun and fired over their heads once or twice to scare the thieves off. Later, when the boys met, one said, “Did you hear those bullets?” Another replied, “I heard them twice, once when they passed me, and once when I passed them.” The farmer accomplished his purpose, since fear kept the boys from further stealing. Fear is a powerful motive-directing behavior. There really ought to be a fear when we understand our relationship with God. Perhaps love is the most desirable motive, but fear will also do. If fear was appreciated a little more, deception wouldn’t be such an issue in the church. The message today deals with and focuses on deception – to many of us want to believe we are glad we don’t do that. Ananias and Sapphira are examples of two church members who deceived God and thought they could get away with it!

"The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10

Text: Acts 5:1-11 (NKJV)

“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." 5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. 7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" She said, "Yes, for so much." 9 Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.”

Application: The believer is to walk as Jesus walked. The believer is not to walk in dishonesty they are not to walk using and misusing people, circumstances, events, and things for their own end. The believer is to walk as Jesus walked.

1. Keeping Back is a Sin: Vs. 1-4 

“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."

The first sin ever to appear in the church was serious, very serious. It was the sin of keeping back. The sin and the judgment upon it serve as a warning to every believer. Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, were professing believers, members of the early church. They professed Christ, they understood the importance of taking up their cross daily. They had some property which they did not personally need for their own necessities. They were professing to follow Christ, to take Him at His Word. They sold their property in order to help those who were desperately needing food, shelter, clothing, and the gospel. But their profession was just that, profession only, a false profession. It was hypocritical, deceptive, a lie. They tried to fake their commitment. They tried to deceive the church.

Keeping back is partial commitment. They wanted to be included and to become part of the church fellowship. But they did not want it enough to totally commit themselves to Christ and His mission. So they tried to deceive the church. They became pretenders (hypocrites, liars).

"The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10

Keeping back is allowing Satan to fill the heart instead of the Holy Spirit. Keeping back is of Satan; it is allowing one's heart to be filled with Satan's lies. The lies that the challenge to give all one is and has is too much to ask. Keeping back is lying to the Holy Spirit. A person says that he is surrendering his life or goods to Christ, but he does not give all. Keeping back is acting against and lying to God Himself. This, of course, is very serious. Keeping back mocks God. Keeping back cuts the heart of God. God loves the pretender (hypocrite, deceiver, liar). As long as the pretender's heart has enough softness to respond to the gospel, God reaches out to him. He wants the pretender, the man who keeps back, to be saved. As long as he is lost, God's heart aches, longs, hurts for the man to come home. Keeping back is distrusting God. His Word is not believed or taken at face value. The person who keeps back rejects the clear teaching of God's Word...

2. Keeping Back is Severely Judged: Vs. 5-6

“Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.”

Keeping back is severely judged. Peter said nothing, absolutely nothing about death. He did not even say anything about judgment. He merely pointed out the sin of Ananias. The judgment is of God and God alone. He and the whole church now knew the seriousness of the sin of holding back. The judgment of Ananias and Sapphira teaches us, the sin of holding back is serious, very serious to God. When a person comes to Jesus Christ, God expects the person to be sincere and genuine through and through. He expects the person to deny himself—to give all he is and has to meet the desperate needs of dying people. This is the only reason Jesus Christ came to earth. There is no acceptance of anyone who does any less—only judgment.

No one could know these sins had filled Ananias' heart, not by what he did, not without God. God revealed to Peter that the sins had filled and completely possessed Ananias. It appeared that Ananias was lying "unto men," simply trying to deceive the church. But it is said that his heart was filled, completely occupied and possessed, by Satan. No one could have looked at the sins of Ananias and known their depth—that all three sins were so deeply rooted—not apart from God revealing the fact. Only God knows the heart of a person, what is in the depth of a person's heart and what fills a person's heart. Only God knows when a heart is fully possessed by evil. This is the reason God alone can judge, the reason judgment has to be left up to God. "The wages of sin is death."

God hates sin. Men must repent of sin. There is no other way to be acceptable to God. “Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.” Isaiah 55:7 (NLT) “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

3. Keeping Back influences Others to Sin: Vs. 7-10

“Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" She said, "Yes, for so much." 9 Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.”

Keeping back influences others to sin. Ananias, as head of the household, was responsible for his wife. He led his wife to follow right along with Him; he caused her to lie. He had the opportunity to lead his wife in righteousness, that is, in helping to meet the needs of so many who were so desperately in need. He had the opportunity to lead his wife to a complete and fulfilled life in Christ, a life perfectly assured of eternity. Instead he led her to sin and death. Scripture is strong in what it has to say about being a stumbling block and leading others into sin and death.

“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.” Romans 14:13

Several years ago on the Saturday Evening Post cover was a painting by Norman Rockwell that showed a woman buying a Thanksgiving turkey. The turkey was on the scales and the butcher was standing behind the counter. The customer, a lady of about sixty, stood watching the weigh-in. Each had a pleased look, but a quick glance at the painting shows nothing unusual going on. Then we look closely at the entire cover. Rockwell has shown us their hands. The butcher is pressing down on the scales with a thumb while the woman is pushing up with a finger. Both would resent being called thieves, but neither saw anything wrong with a little deception. Problem with a little bit of deception, God doesn’t allow for any.

“And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ. 13 So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.” 1 Corinthians 8:12-13 (NLT)

4. Keeping Back its Judgment Causes Great Fear: Vs. 11 


“So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.”

Keeping back—its judgment caused great fear both in the church and in the world among those who heard about it. Everyone recognized the great cost and seriousness of following Christ. Following the Lord meant denying self completely, surrendering to Christ all one is and has. "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."

Walking the straight and narrow path, living righteously and godly in this present world and looking for the glorious return of the great God and Savior Jesus Christ is not easy as a matter of fact it will be one of the hardest things you will ever do!

Conclusion: A deception is often something that looks good on the outside and makes great promises, but on the inside you find it is empty—and there is really not much to it. Most of us at some time or other have bought into an empty deception. We put our money into a machine and pushed a button for a bag of potato chips that, judging from the appearance of the package, looked as if it were full of chips. When the bag comes out and we open it, it turns out to be mainly full of air and contains only a few chips. If we had examined the bag closely before making the purchase, we would have seen it as an empty deception. Deception is the act of making someone believe something that is not true: the act of deceiving someone. So aren’t you glad you don’t do that? If by chance you have struggled with that, we have a loving forgiving God. Let Him in and leave out deception.

In : Sermon 


Tags: "acting like jesus series" "book of acts" 
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