Pastor Mike will be speaking on Confronting Hypocrisy in the Church Part 1. He will be reading out of Acts 5:1-11.
You can’t fix people, but only Jesus can fix people, and Jesus can save people. What if instead of criticizing your spouse, and if instead of fighting fault with your spouse, and what if instead of interrogating your spouse, you got on your knees and prayed for your spouse?
Welcome to Hope Worth Having Radio broadcast. This is Pastor Mike Sanders from the Open Door Church, and we welcome you to be a part of this great broadcast today. And today we’re going to be studying the book of Acts, chapter 5, and I’ve entitled the message Confronting Hypocrisy in the Church.
You know the context a little bit about how the church is expanding in Acts chapter 1 all the way through chapter 4, and we’re going to see God do a very public church discipline. And I want you to join me as we study this together.
When we come to Acts chapter 5, we’re introduced to two individuals in the Bible named Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife. You notice you’ve been following along in chapters 1 through 4 that the church has been experiencing tremendous growth.
The Bible says the Lord was adding to the church daily, thousands of people coming to Christ. We’ve read about the Apostle Peter he was baptizing thousands of people as they responded, making their public profession before all, that they were true believers in Jesus Christ.
And the excitement was pretty amazing as the church was watching all this experience unfolding before them. And we pick up in verse 1, the Bible says that a certain man named Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, sold a possession and kept it back.
part of the proceeds, his wife was also aware of it and brought a certain part and laid it at the Apostles’ feet. If you’re a student of the Bible I want you to underscore that phrase, at the Apostles’ feet, because that’s a phrase we’ve already seen several times.
I want you to back up into chapter 4 as Luke is given a summation of the excitement the blessings and the generosity of the church. He says in verse 31 that when they had prayed the place where they were assembled together was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart, there was unity, they had one heart and one soul. Neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own but they had all things in common.
and with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and great grace was upon them all nor was there anyone among them who lacked for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold and laid them at the apostles feet underscore that phrase the apostles distributed to each as anyone had need keep in mind what is going on that thousands are coming to Christ and this is in Jerusalem that this is taking place and they are being abandoned by family they are facing persecution they are facing opposition and many of them their means of making money to support and supply for their family had been taken away from them because they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ the church recognizing that many of their brothers and sisters were struggling and could not hardly make it that in the midst of their overflow their barns being filled with many decided that they would sell their lands and their houses and they brought the proceeds from those sales and they laid them at the apostles feet and the apostles distributed it to whoever had need within the family of God we pick up in verse 36 and Joseph who was also named Barnabas by the apostles which is translated son of encouragement a Levite of the country of Cyprus having land sold it and he brought the money and he laid it at the apostles feet so there is this excitement and there is this need and the church is showing generosity Luke features Barnabas he was a dynamic leader in the early church he was a man of encouragement that when you hung out with Barnabas you walked away refreshed renewed and encouraged He was that kind of a person.
He was always looking at things positively. He was willing to stand up for Christ and to be an example for the people of God. Luke features him in verse 36 and verse 37 and says he was one of those people who sold his land and he brought the proceeds and he laid it at the apostles’ feet.
We come to chapter five. Now Luke wants to show you the opposite end. Having already told us that the church and featuring Barnabas had already been generous in selling their land and their houses and bringing it and laying at the apostles’ feet, he says to us in verse one, but a certain man named Ananias with Sapphira, his wife, sold a possession and kept back part of the proceeds.
His wife also being aware of it and brought a certain part and what did they do? They laid it at the Apostles’ feet. Ananias and Sapphira were watching all this excitement going on. They saw that people were giving, and they saw that they were out of abundance.
They were just giving generously to the church to help the needs of others, and people were laying it before the Apostles’ feet. So Ananias and Sapphira wanted to be a part of that. Perhaps they watched the people give thanks to Barnabas.
Probably they saw the generosity, and they wanted to experience some of that affirmation that they received because of their generosity. The problem wasn’t that they held back. The problem was that when Ananias and Sapphira solved this, they had made a promise to the church, and they had made a promise to the Apostles, and they made a promise to God Himself and the Holy Spirit of God, that they would sell what they have and give everything to the church.
That was the problem. This reminds us here in this text that when Satan is unable to conquer the church, he definitely will make every effort to try to corrupt the church. The objective of Satan in the world is to deceive you, and to deceive me, and to ultimately destroy us as believers.
He wants to destroy the church, he wants to destroy the family, and he wants to destroy Christians as individuals. And you say, what’s wrong with America? I tell you, at the heart of it is that the church is falling apart and that families are falling apart, and therefore society is falling apart, and there is just a lot of deception and dishonesty that has infiltrated our country.
But I want you to note that here, Luke, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, of God, he is not addressing the world for deception and lying and hypocrisy, he is addressing the church. John said to us in 1 John 2, 21, I have not written unto you because you know not the truth, but because you know it and that no lie is of the truth.
If there’s anything that God hates, he certainly hates lying and he hates deceitfulness in the work of the Lord. The early church was very successful. You say why? Because of faith, because of prayer, because they were a people who trusted in the Lord and they were living godly before their friends and their family, but also they were people of integrity, character, and honesty.
This was a dramatic change. When the people of the culture looked upon this early church, what they saw was something distinct. But the devil wanted to make the church corrupt. And so Luke gives us the first description of an act of evil in the church.
And what is it that he reveals and confronts? It is hypocrisy and lying. When hypocrisy is manifested in our lives, it leads to destruction in our life. Now I know that some may say, praise the Lord, the pastor is speaking on hypocrisy.
I don’t have that problem, and so we are good to go. Can I just be honest with you? All of us. It doesn’t matter. Mike Sanders included. We are all addressing the issue daily of hypocrisy. And so what I’m challenging you to do this morning is to let the Word of God examine your heart and see if there’s any hypocrisy tucked away in the corner of your life that maybe you just kind of forgot about or that you’ve overlooked and you’ve not paid any attention.
I know that you’re saying, well, I’m glad Pastor Mike’s preaching this message for so and so. But that’s not what God wants you to do. Someone asked me, and I know you’ve heard me say this before, but I like to say it all the time to you.
Are you preaching to me? Duh. Do you see what I’m saying? That’s like the deer looking at the hunter. Are you trying to shoot me? No, we’re just out there spray shooting, hoping it hits some deer and that we can take something home to eat.
Amen? Now, some of you guys, if we had to depend on you for dinner, we would be in sad shape. I’d be skinnier. But some of you guys are keeping me well-fed. Thank you for the deer baloney, by the way.
But I want you to know that when the Word of God is going out, listen, don’t be mad at the mailman for delivering the electric bill. Don’t be mad at the pastor for preaching the Bible, the Spirit. of God applies it to your heart if you’re offended if you’re hurt if you’re upset at the Bible if you’re upset at the message it’s not the pastor that’s the problem it’s our hearts that are the problem you shouldn’t be saying hey is the pastor preaching at me man you ought to come every day I love these old time believers who come up to me and say thank you for stepping on my toes that’s the way it used to be you came to church and people stepped on your toe now I once had an ingrown toe nail and I certainly didn’t want the preacher to step on my toe but praise the Lord you come to church and the Lord works on your heart and he addresses things and confronts things when we come to the house of the Lord we want to be comforted we want to be encouraged but we also want to confront whatever we need to amen because out there we’re so busy and we’re so wrapped up in our daily responsibilities it’s easy to not be confronted of the things that God wants us to change in our life Ananias and Sapphire were members of the Jerusalem church and They had seen Barnabas come with his financial gift and lay it at the Apostles feet and they saw the praise They saw the affirmation.
They wanted to be a part of that So they decided that they were gonna make a good impression upon the church leaders as well and they made this promise to them That’s the problem not that they kept back But they promised they were gonna do one thing but in reality they did another That was the issue They presented their gift to the Apostles and when the Bible says that they presented that gift the Apostle Peter By the power of the Holy Spirit saw right through the fraud and the phoniness of it all look at verse 3 But Peter said Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?
And to keep back part of the price of the land for yourself Look at verse 4. Here’s the full explanation while it remained was it not your own and After it was sold was it not in your own control Why have you conceived this thing in your heart?
You have not lied to men but to God And I want you to see there a note there just for you Theologians out there that he parallels the Holy Spirit with God. The Holy Spirit is a hundred percent God a hundred percent God So when we describe the Godhead we say the Father the son and the spirit Three in one and you say well, I don’t fully understand it.
Welcome to the club Theologians and scholars have been wrestling through the Trinity But listen everything in the Bible cannot always be explained I don’t live as I told my Sunday school class. We as believers don’t live by explanation.
We live by faith and everything in life is not gonna be explained. The secret things belong unto the Lord, but if the Lord says it, if the Bible says it, which is God’s word, then I believe it. That’s it.
You say, well, Mike, you can’t explain this and I can’t explain that. Hey, I hear ya, okay? But we get to heaven, we’re gonna have a lot of time to work it out, talk it out, and figure it out. But until then, I trust in the Lord.
And if the Bible teaches me that the Holy Spirit is God Himself, and Peter says to Ananias, that fire, that they have lied to God, and he refers to the fact that they have lied to the Holy Spirit, I understand it.
I embrace it, I believe it. And so here was Ananias, who was confronted by Peter because Ananias and his wife had done it. can conceive this conspiracy that they would be pretenders, they would act like they were given everything, but they would only get part of it.
They would only get part of it, and then they would have heaps of praise on their own life, and everybody would think they’re so wonderful within the truth, they lied. They conspired together, and they lied.
Human deceitfulness, breaking promises. Never make a promise you cannot keep. You gotta be honest with people sometimes, as I was with one Sunday school class this morning, I said, this is the plan, but it’s not a promise.
Because sometimes we can’t make promises because we don’t know what the circumstances are gonna be in the future, right? But we wanna be people of integrity, and we say this is our plan. The Bible says man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
The Apostle Paul was headed in one direction in the book of Acts, and the spirit of God spoke to him, and he was to head in another direction. God can send you on a detour, did you know that? And God can change your plans, and God can send you in a different way.
It’s up to him because God is in control, and God is in charge, and we submit to him, and it’s not our job to act like we are the ones who pre-determine anything and everything. God will never look with favor upon deceitfulness and lying in the work of the Lord.
First John 2 .16 says, for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world. When the Bible teaches about the world, it has many different meanings, but in this particular case, he’s talking about the system of the world.
the philosophy of the world. Not talking about the people. God loves every person in the world. Did you hear me? We should say amen to that. I’m just letting you know when you should jump in. But here’s the thing.
The world has a system, a hierarchy, and a philosophy that is anti-God, and the scriptures tell us that the spirit of the antichrist is already present in this world. It is fighting the kingdom of God.
It is fighting the principles of God. It is fighting the church of God. It is fighting the families of God. It is fighting everything that is right honorable and just, and that system is creeping along and making every effort to destroy every person.
The Bible says that at the heart of it is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Every sin in my heart, every deceitfulness in my life, every hypocrisy that is manifested in my mind and my actions is rooted in one of those three areas, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life.
The devil uses the world system, he uses our own flesh, and he uses his own satanic forces to carry out deceptive activities in our lives and to lead us down a path of dishonesty, and deceitfulness. There are many ways in which you and I may lie.
You might say, well, Pastor Mike, I haven’t told a lie. I mean, it’s at least been ten minutes since I’ve told a lie. Well, friends, I want you to know that lying is not just something that you speak, but you can live and tell a lie by living a double life.
That you’re one way at the church, and another way around the family, or your friends, or maybe out in the workplace, you’re another way. You live a duplicate life, a double life. Jesus said, why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say?
The question we have to ask ourselves is whether our lives and our actions are in congruence with the commands of God. Am I living my life, is it lining up with what God has commanded me to do? Now, some of you say, well, I don’t like that command.
You see, here’s how the Bible works. You don’t get to pick and choose. It’s not like a buffet. You don’t get to go to the buffet and say, well, I like this, and I don’t. like that. I mean you can go to the buffet and do that but that’s not the way it is spiritually.
You take all of the Bible and you say I submit my life to the Bible to the Word of God. People get upset at me sometimes when I say this is what the Bible says and they’ll say well that’s not how I feel.
Let me tell you something, your feelings need to be in submission to the Word of God. Your feelings need to be in submission to the Word of God. I don’t always, now I may shock you and cause you to fall out of your pube but just pick yourself back up.
I don’t always feel like a Christian. Hello. I don’t always feel like a pastor but my feelings are in submission to the Word of God. Not what I feel. Here’s another one. I know this is shocking to you guys.
Pastor, he’s he’s being real with you. I don’t always feel like I’m the church. There are times I’m so tired, buddy. You know what I’m saying? I got a massive headache. I’d like to just turn all the lights off and sit in darkness and fall asleep and let my headache just work itself out, amen?
But you know what? My feelings are in submission to the word of God. And that’s what you have to ask yourself. If the Bible commands me to do something or not to do something, are my feelings going to be in submission to the word of God?
Am I gonna obey God? I can’t call him Lord, Lord. But do not the things that he says. That’s what Jesus said. That’s what he taught us. So I just wanna challenge you in that area. And the second way that we can lie is by blaming other people for our failures and our faults.
You know, it’s always somebody else’s fault, amen? Have you noticed that? Especially when you get out there and drive on 30. We got the craziest traffic in this town. I mean, I’m not trying to be hard on the city fathers, but I’m just saying, who designed all this?
And once letter Kenny lets out and school lets out and the hospital lets out and changes shifts, whatever. I mean, it’s like a madhouse around here. People cutting you off, jumping in front of you, bringing out the worst in Pastor Mike.
If I yell and scream at you, you just start off saying, we better pray for our pastor. He needs help. He needs help. I understand, I hear you. But I want you to understand that it’s easy for us to blame everybody else out there.
It’s their fault. It’s their fault. It’s easy to find fault with others. Instead of coming to grips, is there anything that God wants me to change in my life? Is there anything that God wants me to work on?
Let me tell you something. One of the reasons people are so easily offended. Have you ever met these people? You say hi to them and they’re offended because you didn’t say hi the right way. I mean, you think these people don’t exist, but they do.
They do. They’re offended at everything. You’re walking on pins and needles all around them. They might blow up on you. Let me tell you why that is. Are you with me? The pride of life. The pride of life.
People who are easily offended are full of pride. They don’t like to be rejected. They don’t like anybody telling them what to do. They don’t want to be confronted about anything. Everything has to be perfect in their way.
And I want to encourage you to look at that in your life, is maybe that you’re one of those people that some hypocrisy has gotten into your life and that you’re walking around, as I said last week, and you feel like this responsibility is to point out everybody’s fault and correct everybody’s issues, and that you’re on this mission to change.
Let me tell you the greatest thing you can do for your marriage. Okay, I can save your marriage right here you don’t even have to come see me you don’t go to a therapist you don’t have to go to a counselor Okay, just go to the Word of God Quit trying to change each other We’re trying to change each other And give your spouse to God You know who changes people God does Every person I tried to change and every person I tried to fix It never worked.
It’s like the old preacher who became a funeral director. You heard about that Didn’t you the old preacher became a funeral director and one of his parishioners said what’s the difference? He said well When I would try to fix people in the church, they just went right back to the way they were But when I try to fix people here, their bodies are dead.
It stays right where it is And I’m just telling you that you can’t fix people but only Jesus can fix people and Jesus can save people and Jesus Can change people and what if instead of criticizing your spouse and what if instead of finding fault with your spouse and what if instead of?
interrogating your spouse you got on your knees and prayed for your spouse and You asked the Lord to work effectively in their heart and what if you had a burden for their heart? And what if you desired that they would not only know the Lord but they would grow in the Lord What kind of change would that be?
God Would change you from having a critical spirit and blaming others and finding faults And it would change your heart to honoring and giving praise to God it’s the same thing with parents you’re working hard on your child and you’re drilling down on them and What you really need to do is get on your knees and pray for your children and ask God to change your children’s hearts I’ll tell you another way that we lie is stretching the truth We stretch the truth we call it a little white lie But you see these white lies add up and they become big lies.
And we can’t follow through on them, we can’t remember who we told what, and therefore our life is a mess, and everything that we say ends up being a lie. So I want you to understand that the Apostle Peter confronts this.
And in this exposure, we come to verses 3 and 4, in this exposure of hypocrisy, he reminds us that the hypocrisy in our hearts is of satanic origin. Did you see that? Did you note that? That he said in verse 3, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart?
Why has Satan filled your heart? You know, it’s most likely, that I’m a firm believer, You cannot be demon-possessed, and you cannot be taken over by the devil or his demons as a believer because the spirit of God and the demonic forces cannot reside in the same house.
Jesus taught us that. So we have an issue here that perhaps even in the massive growth of the church an unbelieving family infiltrated the church. Did you know that that can happen? No matter how many barriers you put up to make sure that unbelievers don’t get into the church apparently Ananias and Sapphira had gotten into the church and they were not even believers and they had the pride of life and they coveted and lusted in their hearts and they wanted the praise of men and they wanted to be acknowledged as these generous people.
They lied and conspired about it, about their giving. And Peter says, Satan has filled your heart. The Bible teaches us that Jesus himself said you are of your father, the devil. Meaning that the Pharisees, the religious leaders and he says the desires of your father you want to do.
He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources for he is a liar and the father of it. Satan is the author of all deception in our lives.
Satan is the influencer of all lying in our hearts. We remember in Genesis 3 that the devil used the serpent to influence Eve. To believe a lie and to embrace a lie. all hypocrites were immediately struck by God and were drugged out of the church because they had died.
Wow, I think it would really shake the church, but that’s exactly what happened in Acts chapter five. God dealt very sternly with this couple who wanted to brag about something that was not true, and they wanted to impress others about their wealth and tried to present themselves as something that they were not, and God deals with it.
But it sets an example for us first to make sure that there are no areas in our life that we’re being hypocritical, but also to know that God’s calling us to live among a community of believers that are striving for holiness and righteousness and longing to be more like Christ each and every day.
I hope this message has been a blessing to you. You can learn more on YouTube. If you go to youtube.com, check us out. You can see all of this entire message and the whole series in the Book of Acts.
And so take advantage of that. Just type in, hope worth having, and you can subscribe to our channel. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having. you