SERIES: The Book of Acts
TEXT: Acts 4:36-5:11
MESSAGE: A Holy Community
“We twenty first century Westerners hate judgement. We fear being judgmental and blame horrific crimes on mental health problems, religious extremism, or educational deficits. To be sure, all of these can be factors. And yet, when we hear of callous murders, carefully planned terrorism, or systemic abuse, part of us still yearns for justice…Christianity acts like a searchlight. On the one hand, it confronts us with a God who sees our thoughts. He knows our hearts and our pretense, our words and our deeds.” —Rebecca McLaughlin (Confronting Christianity)
“A church that loses its distinctiveness is a church that has nothing distinctive with which to engage the culture. A worldly church is of no good to the world.” ― Russell D. Moore
“Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2)
Q: Do you want to be a part of a community like this?
TEXT: Acts 4:36-5:11
What do we see from today’s text about a holy community? Three things…(1. Integrity 2. Deception 3. Accountability)
- Integrity (v. 36-37)
“Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” — James 2:14-17
2. Deception (v. 1-5; v 8-9)
“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. 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.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it…. 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.”
“We cannot deceive God. Twice in the Acts God is called “the Heartknower” (Acts 1:24; 15:8). But we can deceive ourselves.” — Ray Ortlund
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” — Galatians 6:7-8
3. Accountability (v. 10-11)
“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.”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” — Romans 6:23
“We must picture Hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.” — C. S. Lewis
TAKEAWAYS: How can we examine ourselves before God today?
“Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.” — Charles Spurgeon
- Am I avoiding my sin?
- Am I blaming God, church, or others for my sin?
- Am I apathetic towards my sin?
- Am I willing to be accountable to other Christians about my sin?
“…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” — Romans 5:8