Intro. We must remember that chapters and verses were the work of men to help reference scriptures. Here the break between chapters was made in the middle of a sentence in the original. The word "but" is a disassociated conjunction. It ties together to disassociated thoughts.
And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, [and] of the country of Cyprus,
Having land, sold [it], and brought the money, and laid [it] at the apostles' feet, but a certain man named Annanias.
I. THE CHURCH HAS JUST COME THROUGH A TRIAL OF PERSECUTION FROM THE OUTSIDE FORCES.
A. They have been threatened by severe consequences if they continue to preach about Jesus Christ to the people.
1. The Sadducees who were in control of the religious life of the people did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. They believed that this material life was all there was.
2. The disciples had been preaching that Jesus was risen from the dead, and they proved their point with miraculous healings in the name of Jesus.
B. They had overcome this obstacle to the early church with the courage given by the Holy Spirit.
1. They challenged the decree, and declared that they would continue to speak the things that they had seen and heard.
2. They gathered with the church for prayer for courage and the continued work of the Spirit in their midst, and had a renewing of the filling of the Holy Spirit.
3. They received boldness and power.
C. They were successful in facing the outside threat to the church.
D. We now see a new threat, far more dangerous and insidious, for this threat will come from within the church.
1. The church has never suffered from outside persecution, but has often lost its effectiveness because of inside impurity.
2. A study of church history will confirm that the church has thrived in persecution.
3. Sometimes the greatest danger of the church is success. Jesus warned:
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Paul said: GAL 1:10
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I please men, I would not be the servant of Christ.
4. It seems the church has always suffered most when it sought to bring into its fellowship, people of renown or fame at the cost of compromise.
5. I believe that there is a real danger in the seeker-sensitive church that seeks to tailor the gospel in order that it might have a popular appeal to the world.
II. THE SIN OF ANANIAS AND HIS WIFE WAS THAT OF HYPOCRISY. THE PRETENSE OF BEING SOMETHING YOU AREN'T.
A. The real sin was not holding back part of the price that they sold their possessions for. This is revealed in Peter's questions. "Didn't it belong to you before you sold it? After it was sold, wasn't the money yours to do with as you pleased?"
1. In reality what they were doing was a very generous thing. Selling their possession and bringing a large offering to the church.
2. The whole problem was they were intimating that they were giving all, when in reality they were holding back a part of the money.
3. Holding back a part of the money was not bad.
4. It was the fact they were trying to make everyone think that they were giving everything.
B. Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?
1. This was the problem.
2. They thought they could lie to the Holy Spirit.
3. They were trying to appear to the congregation that they were more committed than they actually were.
4. There are many people today who are guilty of this very sin.
a. Our word hypocrite comes from the Greek word, hupocrites, which is the word for actor.
b. There are many who are putting on an act. They are acting like they are fully committed. They are acting like they are really praising the Lord.
c. They can have a foul mouth and tell dirty jokes, but when the camera turns on them, they can look and talk like they just came from the presence of the Lord.
d. James said:
Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
e. Many are so deceived that they think that because God has not smitten them dead like Ananias that God doesn't care, or worse yet, that God approves.
f. They are those of whom Jesus spoke when He said:
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
C. You have not lied to man but to God.
1. You may deceive man, but you cannot deceive God.
2. Man may think that you are a spiritual giant, but God knows the truth.
3. Have you ever thought of how foolish it is to lie to God?
4. Some people are so deceived that they think that they are actually deceiving God.
D. Have you ever noticed how stern Jesus was with hypocrites?
1. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus warned that we be careful not to do our righteousness before men to be seen of men, for we then had our reward.
2. The warning of our being rejected in that day by His asking us to depart is in the context of doing things for show.
3. Hear the denouncements of Jesus against the hypocrites
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
[Ye] serpents, [ye] generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
4. Compare that with the kind words that He had for sinners.
a. To the woman taken in the act of adultery:
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
And, behold, [there was] a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that [way].
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
And when they saw [it], they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore [him] fourfold.
And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: ("must needs" occurs in 14 verses.)
For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.
The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am [he].
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.