:::: MENU ::::

Church must be kept Pure and Holy (Acts 5:1-16)

Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Church must be kept Pure and Holy (Acts 5:1-16)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Church must be kept pure and holy

Acts 5:1-16 (Pastor Heo)

5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. 12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.


Satan is our enemy – and we must understand that he is alive. He had failed completely in his attempt to silence the witness of the church in chp 3-4, but he never gives up, he just changes his tactics.

As we know, according to chp 3, his first approach was to attack the church from outside – hoping that the threats would frighten the leaders and apostles. But when that failed, Satan attacked from the inside – using people who belonged to the fellowship of the church. Yes, we must know that Satan is very clever. He is a murderer and a liar. When he doesn’t succeed as a liar, he attacks as a deceiving serpent or an angel of light.

  • “Be self controlled and alert because your enemy the Devil is like a roaring lion, prowling around looking for someone to devour.” (Peter)
  • “Our enemy masquerades as an angel of light…”
  • John “You belong to your father the devil, he is a murderer from the beginning. When he lies, he speaks his native language.”

We also have our own native languages – what is yours? But remember, when you speak a lie, you are speaking Satan’s native language.

Today’s story is a very heavy one to accept.

Ananias & Sapphira

Ananias + Sapphira – sold a piece of their own property, and kept some of the money for themselves, but LIED and said, “This is the FULL amount of money we received for this property” when they presented the money to the church (Peter).

Ananias lied to Peter about offering the FULL money, and he fell down and died.

Sapphira came three hours later, lied about the FULL amount of the money they offered, and she also fell down and died.

v. 1-11

“5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. 12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.”

Yes, this is terrible and terrifying, but we must accept it. We can learn 3 lessons from this story.

Background

v. 1

“Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, **also** sold a piece of property.”

“Also” is connected with some happening in the church at that time. We can look to the last verse of the previous chapter about Barnabas to see what this was about.

4:36-37

“Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

This act apparently filled Ananias and Sapphira with envy and they wanted to get praise and glory before the church by doing a similar thing.

#1 God hates hypocrisy

  • Hypocrisy = “wearing a mask and playing an actor”
  • Hypocrisy = deliberate deception – trying to make others think we are more spiritual, more generous than we really are

This sin, hypocrisy was the sin of this couple.

Ananias means “God is gracious” – good name – but he learned “God is holy”

Sapphira means “Beautiful” but her heart was “ugly” with sin

Yes, no doubt, some people are shocked because they read that some people lied about a business transaction and their church giving.

But, when we read further into this, we can see that God was justified and right in judging them. All throughout the Bible, especially at the beginning of a NEW period of salvation, God judges sin severely.

  • Ex: In Exodus, after the temple was built, God killed the sons of the priest because they tried to give God false fire.
  • Ex: In the land of Canaan, after a battle, God killed Achan because of his disobedience regarding money.

These examples were warnings to God’s people – and also to us.

“These things happened as examples for us… so, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall.”

Even today, Satan never gives up in his attacking and attempt to push us – his main purpose in coming is to lie, steal, and kill (destroy).

This is the first lesson we can get from this terrible story.

To begin with the sin of Ananias and Sapphira was energized by Satan (v. 3) “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”

If Satan cannot defeat the church from attacks outside, then he will attempt to go INSIDE and use the members of the church – even generous Christians. So, remember that we are always very close to the attack of Satan – always enduring spiritual warfare.

Eph “Be strong in the Lord’s mighty power and put on the full armor of God – because our struggling is not against physical powers, but against the powers of the spiritual realm. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that in the day of evil you may be able to stand your ground, and when you have done everything, to stand.”

This warning is given to Christians, not non-Christians – so we must remember that we are who Satan wants to use to attack the church from the inside. Satan knows how to lie well – and he spoke a lie to Ananias and Sapphira and that lie led to death. So, when God judged Ananias and Sapphira, he was judging Satan.

#2 Their actions were motivated by the sin of Pride

God hates Pride and judges it.

Pr 8:13 “To fear the Lord is to hate evil… God gives grace to the humble, but opposes the proud.”

Yes, already Christ made it very clear that we must be very careful about how we give lest the glory to be given to God is given to us.

“Be careful not to do your giving before man… Do not announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do. They have received their reward in full. When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” How is this possible? We must be filled with the HS. “Then you Father, who sees what is done in heaven will reward you.”

The Pharisees were adept at giving in public so that they might receive the praises of man. But, that is ALL they received.

Remember, we are merely STEWARDS of what God has given us, so we must use what he has given us for his glory. How can we remember God if we seek praise from man? If we seek praise from man, it is very difficult to believe in God. But we should not apply glory and praise to ourselves. We only praise our Father God, and not expect praise from men.

This is the second lesson from this story. Yes, pride is also always very near us. Are you riding pride?

Pride is the sin that opens the door to all other sins – it is the original, the gateway sin. So, if we are only interested in our own character, then their is no limit to what we might do to look good in the eyes of others.

#3 God loves the church and the sin was directed against the church

We cannot know how much God loves the church. The church was purchased by the blood of God’s only Son.

Imagine, if you bought something with the blood of your son, how much could you love that thing?

So, God loves the church so much. But at the same time, Satan wants to destroy the church all the time. So, he seeks to use those who are INSIDE the church to destroy it.

Imagine, if Peter had not been discerning, then Ananias and Sapphira would have become influential people in the early church and Satan would have been using them to do his own work from within.

  • Church is God’s temple in which God dwells, but Satan also wants to move in and dwell there with us.
  • Church is also God’s army, and Satan seeks to get as many spies and traitors into its ranks as possible.

So, church is VERY SAFE when Satan is attacking from OUTSIDE, but it is in danger when Satan can get inside and attack from within.

So, at this moment, we need to examine ourselves. Do we really mean everything we pray about in public? Do we sing hymns and gospel songs faithfully and sincerely, or routinely?

“These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” (Jesus)

Imagine, if God still killed religious deceivers today, how many church members would be left?

In this story, Ananias was dead and buried, but his wife did not know what had happened. This also shows that:

  • Satan keeps his servants always in the dark, but
  • Jesus guides his servants in the light.

Their sin was NOT in holding some money back, but rather it was in lying to the church, to the HS. They were not required to give all the money, but their evil desire and lust to receive praise from men led to their downfall.

James 1:15 “After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and the sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death.”

What is the result of this event? GREAT FEAR (x2) – this means “godly fear” or the “fear of God”. Actually, the “fear of God” is the secret to be free from ALL other fears in this world.

Yes, in the previous chapter, we saw there was great power and great grace. Now, there is great fear. All of these should be present in the church:

  1. Godly power
  2. Godly grace
  3. Godly fear

“God is a consuming fire.”

Remember 3 lessons:

  1. No hypocrisy
  2. No pride
  3. Not against the church

Opposites (we must do these things):

  1. Honesty, integrity, sincerity
  2. Humility
  3. For the church

We must do our best to keep the church pure and holy.

#Conclusion

v. 12-16

“And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.”

We can be encouraged by the last words: “all of them were healed.”

  • Yes, our enemy Satan always wants to divide the church, disgrace, decrease, destroy the church.
  • But the church filled with the HS is unified, magnified, multiplied.
  1. Yes, the early church began with only 120 in the upper room, and
  2. in the second stage to 3,000,
  3. in the third stage to 5,000 (excluding women and children).
  4. “Nevertheless, more and more people believed and were added to their number.”

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This means that miracles are still possible. If you believe, miracles are possible. The problem is whether or not you believe.

This is especially possible for the miracle of healing – not only physical, but emotional, mental, spiritual, psychological. Remember, only eternal, everlasting healing can be found in Jesus Christ our Lord – because only by believing in him, we are to live in heaven completely freed from all kinds of diseases and sickness.

The greatest miracle of all is the transformation (complete change) of a lost sinner into a child of God based on the power of the resurrection of Christ. That is the greatest miracle, the greatest need of all humans, lasts the longest, and cost the greatest price (the blood of Christ). This is one (the greatest) miracle that we can all participate in as members of the church.

We can share this miracle when we share the message of the gospel.

God bless us all.

Let’s pray.

Comments are closed.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen
%d bloggers like this: