ENEMIES INSIDE AND OUTSIDE
“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” Acts 5:3
THE ENEMIES INSIDE THE CHURCH. Acts 5:1-16
l. The Danger within the church. Acts 5:1-2, 7-8. This consists in striking at the truth which is the very foundation of the church's power.
- The case of Ananias. Acts 5:1-2
- The case of Sapphira. Acts 5:7-8
2. The Defense within the church. Acts 5:3-6, 9-11. Dealing decisively and uncompromisingly with evil.
- The case of Ananias. Acts 5:3-6
- The case of Sapphira. Acts 5:9-11
3. The Developments from this incident. 11-16. The new power manifested in every avenue of the church's work because of discipline.
- The new respect for the church. Acts 5:11, 12,13.
- The new power to perform miracles. Acts 5:12, 15-16
- The greater ingathering of souls. Acts 5:14
THE ENEMIES OUTSIDE THE CHURCH. Acts 5:17-42
l. The Danger outside the church. Acts 5:17-28 This consists of those who hate the truth of the Gospel because of their unbelief.
2. The Defense for the church. Acts 5:29-32 This consists in the conviction that it is necessary to obey God rather then men.
3. The Developments outside the church. Acts 5:33-42 This consists in the utter defeat of the world and the ultimate triumph of the church.
Were Ananias and Sapphira saved people, or were they mere professed Christians?
I. Let us notice first the immediate context for the answer.
- Acts 4:32 implies that all who were engaged in the communism were believers, and only believers were involved. This is not merely the language of appearance, but the appraisal of one who wrote as He was moved by the Holy Spirit.
- The section Acts 4:32 - 5:11 is all one section of scripture. Two instances presented in this section point out the functioning of the new community. The one is of Barnabas, and the other in contrast is that of Ananias and Sapphira. This suggest that they were all believers, but with different reactions.
- The effect was great. Fear came upon the whole church because they had witnessed this thing. Those who were not of the church were also affected, for they heard it. Acts 5:11
2. Let us consider next the influence of Satan.
- Satan energizes even saved people to acts that are sinful: The case of David--1 Chr. 21:1 the case of Peter - Matt. 16:21-23
- The scripture suggests that Satan does use saved people for His purpose. Eph. 6:11-12; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9.
- This is not the same influence that Satan exercised in the case of Judas. Here another word is used (John 13:27).
- The word for fill is different than the one used in 2:4. This word suggests that Satan proposed to them a complete plan of action.
3. Let us notice the character of the discipline which was applied.
- Death is a discipline which was applied to some Christians (1 Cor. 11:30-32).
- Chastening is always applied to believers and never unbelievers (Heb. 12:5-11).
4. Let us note the value of the discipline if they were Christians.
- It would keep them from leading others astray (Matt. 18:6).
- It would save them from condemnation with the world (1 Cor. 11:30-32).
- It would save them from continuing in a course of sin and losing their reward (Matt. 18:6).
What were the benefits that were derived from this awful method of Discipline?
l. It brought great fear upon the whole church (Acts 5:11). A church that fears God is a church that will obey him in service.
2. It gave power to the apostles in healing and miracles (Acts 5:12, 15-16). Clean hearts and clean hands are fit vessels for service.
3. It brought the apostles into favor and ultimately the whole church (Acts 5:13). A church that deals with sin within will find favor without.
4. It resulted in increasing the saving of souls (5:14). A church that deals with sin within, will lead many souls to the altar of salvation.
What part did Peter have in this case of discipline?
l. It nowhere declares that Peter had any part in exercising discipline over Ananias and Sapphira.
2. Peter did evidence a supernatural penetration to the source of the evil of Ananias (Acts 5:3).
3. In the case of Sapphira, Peter exercised a sort of prophetic function (Acts 5:9).
4. The death of each of them was entirely a work of God.
What was the character of the sin of Ananias and Sapphira?
1. On the surface it was avarice: they wanted the money for themselves. (Avarice with the motive).
2. A little deeper it was hypocrisy: they wanted to appear to be what they were not, so they lied (hypocrisy was the means to the end).
3. Deepest of all it was unfaithfulness they were not in full sympathy with the atmosphere of the church. (Unfaithfulness was the result).
Why was this sin disciplined with sudden and awful death?
l. Because of the occasion of the sin: this was the beginning of the church and she needed protection.
2. Because of the character of the sin: it was an attack on truth, and the church is the depository of truth (1 Tim. 3:15).
3. Because of the place of the sin: it was in the church, which is the Holy of Holies (1 Cor. 3:16-17).
4. Because of the results from the sin; it would have brought the disrespect of the world, and caused many to perish (Matt. 5:16).
5. Because of the purification from sin: this purged the impure ones out of the midst, and the church was filled with power.
Why was Satan associated with this sin of lying?
l. Satan is the enemy of all truth, and the ultimate source of all untruth (John 8:44).
2. Therefore, any lie is not of the truth, and ultimately proceeds from Satan (1 John 2:21).
3. Satan attacks the truth through the saved sometimes, a subtle method (Matt. 16:22-23).