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Sunday Sermon

Acts 5:12-16

Title: More Than Ever

Sunday Sermon

Notes:  Audio stops at 13min …ooops… below are notes I preached from.

Loving God over Self: Contending with our Heart

Acts 5:1-11

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 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.  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? 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.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.  The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.  After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 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.” 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.  And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

Loving God over Self Contending with our Heart.

We are coming off a high point in the life of the church….. everything is going great the church is growing and people are coming to know Jesus… there is a constant euphoria about the movement…. they are connected… its working…. living like in community Then we read the word BUT…. a buzz kill word…. in this context almost akin to fly in the ointment Selfishness and Deceit have weaved into two members of this new community. Troublesome because this is a definite caution for all of us.  This reminds all of us to guard our hearts and thoughts…and question what motivates us?  Why do we do the things we do……This morning as we look at the Word we are going to see some warning signs that reveal to us when we have a distorted heart that begins to lead us down a slippery slope dangerously placing our will against God’s

Distorted:  Pulled, twisted,…giving a misleading or false account or impression; misrepresented

1.) A Distorted Heart likes Company.   A person with a distorted heart hides their evil desires by getting others to go in on the same plan… they like to get people on their side.  Examples would be seen in talking about others, gossip, … They look for others to agree in the deception. Or a bad report.  For some reason if they have someone else on their side it justifies their own actions and mitigates or alleviates their own conscious.

Many times when we come up with plans that are self-serving we like people to be in on the same plan… it makes us feel better about ourselves when we can get others to go along with the plan.  Think about it… when we have a issue with someone…boss, neighbor, coworker, church member, associate, we tend to gather others around who feel the same way or whom we can get on our side.   There is no one in this room not guilty of this at some point in our lives. Do you have or have you had a distorted heart?

2.) A Distorted Heart: Likes to be Liked:  This goes beyond the normal parameters…. likes to see their own work elevated above that of others and even God…not humble….they are the kind of people that can honestly say Hey, I love me who do you love?  They Desires the praises of men above and against being faithful to God…. similarities with the fallen and cursed angel Satan who tried to put himself above God…..

……Ananias’s action of letting the group think He gave the whole price of the property he sold to the group represents a priority to obey man or seek human praise rather than to honor God. It is an act of defiance and disobedience.  Do you like to be in the lime light…enjoying the praise of others.

3.) A Distorted Heart:  Premeditates its actions…. in other words …. it in league with Satan knowing what they are doing is wrong…. problem is… after continual disregard for the truth… God’s Way for Man to live…. they begin to stray so far that truth no longer is knowable.  Premeditates putting their will against God’s revealed truth.  Unable to reason properly with actual events…. deceived by the deceiver choosing to live the lie.  Think about it…. one who at one time has known God’s grace and has rejected it…. think about how hard it is for one with a distorted heart to respond to God’s calling through the Holy Spirit…. conscious seared … but praise God He does the impossible and many of us are the shining testimonies of God’s love and acceptance.   Have you been planning out actions that are against God’s revealed word?

4.)  A Distorted Heart: Destroys self and others.  Why…? or better what made Ananias do this…. His heart… desire for wealth, unbelief, be something he is not… you put your own fill in the blank… fear.  God responds to that which sets itself up against his will.    In this story the consequence was immediate for Ananias… death…. some look at this and say why was God so sever and final….. well was He…. ungracious and vicious in instantly killing Ananias?….. by no means… what about second chances… he had second chances….. failed to use them.   This act by God was Grace extended towards the community.  And Ananias proclaimed his own judgment.

Opportunity for Grace……

5.) Great Fear.... realization of our own frailness before the God of all Creation.  It becomes real!  There are consequences to my actions, my thoughts, my motives, …. nothing is hidden, everything is laid bare before God.  He is the God who sees:  it hit home….. we are no better… but thankfully saved by grace…..

Ezekiel Chapter 11 records for us a story about Ezekiel seeing a vision and his prophesying to the people of Israel during the rebuilding of the city, its homes its walls….   in verse 5  The Lord God says to the people “I know what comes into your mind”  You see even back then there were people who though God did not see or did not know the intentions and things of the heart of people… we can say mind and heart interwoven….  God judges the two leaders of the group a that time telling them that the sword will find them… Pelatiah dies during the prophesying…. much like Ananias….

Ezekiel was stunned and cried out to the Lord…. will you kill everyone…. agreeing with God in the guilt and sin of the people……but what we remember this passage for the most is where God says to Ezekiel …. speaking to the people of God..and restoring them….. I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh….that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people and I will be their God…

You see Great Fear came upon the believers after these events with Ananias and Sapphira had nothing to do with giving money to the group but had to do with deceitfulness and hurting the body of believers.

This great fear:   realization of Sin and a Holy God.  … Great fear made the church realize, they my attitude, my thought life, my reactions, my every fiber of my being must be in submission to God in response to the truth He has revealed….. its a terrible thing to go into cahoots with troublemakers, its wrong to speak against what God is doing… to lie … to seek our own gain over and against that of the whole.

As we get great comfort from God restoring us and placing a new heart in us ther is also the reality for those who choose not to be God’s people…… and settle for the temporal things and the things that do not last  vs 21  But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God. 

This morning as we close this service… as we have heard from God’s work.  WE are challenged to look at our Hearts….  Is our heart distorted?  Have you allowed there to be things in there not given over to God… have you set your will against His?  This is also opportunity… if you do not know the Lord, if you have been walking through life apart from God’s grace and portion He has for you then this morning you can become part of the family … one of the saints of God by humbling yourself before God …. confessing your sin and asking Jesus to be your Master …. your King.

This morning if you desire to get things right before God I invite you to this alter… if you are seeking relationship with the Lord come to the alter give your life to Jesus.

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