“Good Lessons from Bad Examples”
Acts 5:1-11; I Cor 10:6; July 24th , 2016
We all grew up with a mix of good examples and bad examples.
>My dad was a good example of being financially responsible.
>My dad was a bad example in communication skills.
We also see good examples and bad examples around us.
>I have a friend in Spokane who is an example of a very good father.
>Our current political season has lots of bad examples of candidates demonizing each other.
We can learn from good examples (like Barnabas last week) and we can learn from bad examples (like Ananias and Sapphira).
The first lesson.
I. Evaluate motivation: In their desire for acclaim they misrepresented their generosity (11-2)
1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Evaluating motivation can be a tricky activity.
>On one hand, we should do the right things for the right reasons.
“Do all things for the glory of God.”
>On the other hand, if I waited to clearly have the right motivation for everything, I don’t think I would ever do anything.
We need to ask ourselves
Is what I am saying true or doing true to God’s standards?
Is it loving? Will it help anyone? Will this reflect the character of Jesus?
II. Be Honest: why did you lie to God and misrepresent your gift? (3-4)
3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?
4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own?
And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal?
Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart?
You have not lied to man but to God.”
A warning passage in I Corinthians
1 Corinthians 11:27-32 (ESV)
There is a clear parallel is verses 3 & 4.
lying to the Holy Spirit is exactly the same as lying to God.
This verse is a clear declaration of the Deity of the Holy Spirit.
III. Don’t Presume: Judgment is sometimes sooner than people expect (5-6)
5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last.
And great fear came upon all who heard of it.
6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
God judged Ananias directly. His time was up.
Years later, the Apostle Peter wrote.....
1 Peter 4:17 (ESV) 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
IV. Don’t miss opportunities to come clean (7)
7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
V. Remember God’s holiness: why did you test the Spirit of the Lord by misrepresenting your gift? (8-9)
8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.”
9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord?
Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”
How close can I get to the line to something I should not do without a consequence? How much can I get away with? Those are questions reflecting of a bad attitude.
We are clearly warned.....
Deuteronomy 6:16 (ESV) 16 “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.
VI. The Lord’s clear judgment leads the church to fear God (10-11)
10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last.
When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
God’s judgment was as clear on Sapphira as it was on her husband Ananias. Sometimes when believers cross the line, God judges them.
Most of the time God disciplines His Children, Hebrews 12:7-11
The greater purpose of God’s kingdom and the church’s holiness were at stake so God judged this couple.
If God positively answers our prayers for revival, one of the clear signs of that will be a much greater sense of the greatness and holiness of God.
We are to never take God for granted..
To the early believers, as they tried to figure out what this act of judgment on this couple meant
I would think they asked a version of this.....
Was the Lord Making a point or Setting a Pattern?