You cannot serve God and money
You cannot serve God and money (draft sermon notes)
Published September 21st, 2016
You cannot serve God and money How can we end poverty? Modern ideals. Ancient works on utopia, eg Plato, the Essenes at Qumran, Thomas More. Greeks thought that common ownership would lead to oneness of spirit - a sentiment echoed in communism. Actually, the opposite is true. Oneness of spirit leads to voluntary sharing. cf families and sharing. Kruschev, 'communism's failure is its failure to produce the selfless man'. cf Mugabe, and Animal Farm, etc. FCF: Deceit. Wanting to appear more godly than we are. In Jesus, we simply have no need to pretend, since we already raised and seated with Him, and inheritors of all things. He accepts us as we are, when we come in honest repentance. Helpful to challenge our rose-tintedness. And to warn us. Ananias is to Acts what Achan (Joshua 7 ) was to Joshua; and there it followed right after the spiritual high point of Jericho ( Joshua 6 ). The first recorded sin in the New Testament church was about money. Matthew 6.19-24 . You cannot serve God and money. Massively speaks into the church's idol of materials. 1. Great grace was upon them all: The Spirit works great generosity in the church. (4.32-37) Calvin, 'we must have hearts that are harder than iron if we are not moved by reading this narrative.' Deuteronomy 15.4-8 cf Acts 4.34 . Barnabus is an absolute legend, as Acts continues. A Levite from Cyprus, called Joseph. Everything recorded about him is an encouragement. cf proverbs, even the memory of the righteous is a blessing. His example shows us that it wasn't universal for everyone to sell everything; sacrifical examples like his were still worthy of remark; but that his example wasn't unique. 2. Great fear came upon them all: to lie to the church is to lie to God (5.1-11) Not so much stealing - since it was theirs in the first place! But deceit, lying to the church and thus to God. Wanting the prestige and 'credit' of generosity without the inconvenience. They wanted the 'spiritual gravitas' of appearing to be like Barnabus (4.36), without the real heart orientation. The devil sows counterfeit fruit wherever there is real fruit. Sin is a massive deal. Deal with secret sins secretly, private sins privately, public sins publicly. Unlike with Achan, God acts directly here. Thus we are left without doubt that God cares about sin and deceit in His church. v9 to test the Spirit of the Lord; alluding to the years of wandering in the desert. Satan's involvement does not excuse them (v3); but it should soberly remind us that there are cosmic forces exceedingly interested in what happens in God's church - some for good and some for evil. cf Ephesians 3.1-15 Conclusion FCF: Deceit. Wanting to appear more godly than we are. In Jesus, we simply have no need to pretend, since we already raised and seated with Him, and inheritors of all things. He accepts us as we are, when we come in honest repentance.
32 Τοῦ δὲ πλήθους τῶν πιστευσάντων ἦν καρδία καὶ ψυχὴ μία, καὶ οὐδὲ εἷς τι τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐτῷ ἔλεγεν ἴδιον εἶναι ἀλλʼ ἦν αὐτοῖς ἅπαντα κοινά. 33 καὶ δυνάμει μεγάλῃ ἀπεδίδουν τὸ μαρτύριον οἱ ἀπόστολοι τῆς ἀναστάσεως τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ, χάρις τε μεγάλη ἦν ἐπὶ πάντας αὐτούς. 34 οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐνδεής τις ἦν ἐν αὐτοῖς• ὅσοι γὰρ κτήτορες χωρίων ἢ οἰκιῶν ὑπῆρχον, πωλοῦντες ἔφερον τὰς τιμὰς τῶν πιπρασκομένων 35 καὶ ἐτίθουν παρὰ τοὺς πόδας τῶν ἀποστόλων, διεδίδετο δὲ ἑκάστῳ καθότι ἄν τις χρείαν εἶχεν. 36 Ἰωσὴφ δὲ ὁ ἐπικληθεὶς Βαρναβᾶς ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων, ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον υἱὸς παρακλήσεως, Λευίτης, Κύπριος τῷ γένει, 37 ὑπάρχοντος αὐτῷ ἀγροῦ πωλήσας ἤνεγκεν τὸ χρῆμα καὶ ἔθηκεν πρὸς τοὺς πόδας τῶν ἀποστόλων. 5 1 Ἀνὴρ δέ τις Ἁνανίας ὀνόματι σὺν Σαπφίρῃ τῇ γυναικὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπώλησεν κτῆμα 2 καὶ ἐνοσφίσατο ἀπὸ τῆς τιμῆς, συνειδυίης καὶ τῆς γυναικός, καὶ ἐνέγκας μέρος τι παρὰ τοὺς πόδας τῶν ἀποστόλων ἔθηκεν. 3 εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Πέτρος• Ἁνανία, διὰ τί ἐπλήρωσεν ὁ σατανᾶς τὴν καρδίαν σου, ψεύσασθαί σε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον καὶ νοσφίσασθαι ἀπὸ τῆς τιμῆς τοῦ χωρίου; 4 οὐχὶ μένον σοὶ ἔμενεν καὶ πραθὲν ἐν τῇ σῇ ἐξουσίᾳ ὑπῆρχεν; τί ὅτι ἔθου ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου τὸ πρᾶγμα τοῦτο; οὐκ ἐψεύσω ἀνθρώποις ἀλλὰ τῷ θεῷ. 5 ἀκούων δὲ ὁ Ἁνανίας τοὺς λόγους τούτους πεσὼν ἐξέψυξεν, καὶ ἐγένετο φόβος μέγας ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς ἀκούοντας. 6 ἀναστάντες δὲ οἱ νεώτεροι συνέστειλαν αὐτὸν καὶ ἐξενέγκαντες ἔθαψαν. 7 Ἐγένετο δὲ ὡς ὡρῶν τριῶν διάστημα καὶ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ μὴ εἰδυῖα τὸ γεγονὸς εἰσῆλθεν. 8 ἀπεκρίθη δὲ πρὸς αὐτὴν Πέτρος• εἰπέ μοι, εἰ τοσούτου τὸ χωρίον ἀπέδοσθε; ἡ δὲ εἶπεν• ναί, τοσούτου. 9 ὁ δὲ Πέτρος πρὸς αὐτήν• τί ὅτι συνεφωνήθη ὑμῖν πειράσαι τὸ πνεῦμα κυρίου; ἰδοὺ οἱ πόδες τῶν θαψάντων τὸν ἄνδρα σου ἐπὶ τῇ θύρᾳ καὶ ἐξοίσουσίν σε. 10 ἔπεσεν δὲ παραχρῆμα πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐξέψυξεν• εἰσελθόντες δὲ οἱ νεανίσκοι εὗρον αὐτὴν νεκρὰν καὶ ἐξενέγκαντες ἔθαψαν πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς, 11 καὶ ἐγένετο φόβος μέγας ἐφʼ ὅλην τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καὶ ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς ἀκούοντας ταῦτα.