ROOTED & RENEGADE | Week 8 | Acts 4:32 – 5:11

Join us as we continue our journey through the book of Acts as we look at the warning story of Ananias and Sapphira to see how the destruction of the church doesn’t come from persecution outside the church but rather from division within the church!

It’s all about Jesus!

Date: October 31, 2021
Series: Rooted & Renegade

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Sermon Extras

Pastor’s Comment

Thank you so much for listening in here at West Side. We often say that we love the word of God because it points us to the son of God. We hope these messages encourage you and equip you to love Jesus more. We also want you to be apart of a local church, we believe these messages are only supplemental, being apart of a local church is essential. Blessings.

Jason G Jordan

Lead Pastor, West Side Church


Rooted and Renegade: Acts 4:32-5:11 “Great Grace and Great Fear”


        • The early church delivers and apostles are proclaiming the gospel in the face of persecution. 
        • Boldness is acting, by the power of the Holy Spirit, on a deep conviction in the face of danger. 
        • The power for boldness is given through prayer. 

*ILL> This week, Luke shows us something very specific and maybe this will help set us up. I have recently been reading Ian Murray’s biography of the great founder of Methodism, John Wesley and the men who followed him.” Wesley was kicked out of the Church of England for preaching to people on the streets which intern sparked a movement much like in the book of Acts. Wesley began to become very weary of all the division that was happening amongst Christians. Being much concerned about the rise of denominations in the church, John Wesley tells of a dream he had. In the dream, he was ushered to the gates of Hell. There he asked, “Are there any Presbyterians here?” “Yes!”, came the answer. Then he asked, “Are there any Baptists? Any Episcopalians? Any Methodists?” The answer was Yes! each time. Much distressed, Wesley was then ushered to the gates of Heaven. There he asked the same question, and the answer was No! “No?” To this, Wesley asked, “Who then is inside?” The answer came back, “There are only Christians here.”

CONTEXT> Luke, is being VERY intentional with the words that he is writing ignorer to communicate something to us. 

        • “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” Acts 4:32
        • “But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira…” Acts 5:1 
        • “… and great grace was upon them all…” Acts 4:33
        • “And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.” Acts 5:11 
        • In this verse, it’s the first time in the book that the word ‘church” is used. Its the greek word ekklesia. It means “a called out gathering of people” 

APP> Are you starting to see it? With the word church, with Wesleys dream… the thrust of our passage today is this: 

Big Idea > The greatest threat to the Church of Jesus Christ is not external persecution but internal division. 

CONTEXT> But Luke wants to get even more specific with us. He doesn’t leave us in the dark. He is gives us two character studies to show how this division can either live or die. 

  1. Division dies where generosity grows: Barnabas.
        • We are introduced to Barnabas. This dude is awesome. He is mentioned a few times in the Bible. He vouches for Paul after his conversion in Acts 9. Paul mentions him again in 1 Corinthians for giving financially to his ministry, him and Paul get into about Mark. Acts 11:23-24
  1. Generosity is Supernatural v32 no one said that any of the things belonged to him was his own” This is worth noting again. This is incredible. I mean this has to be a supernatural act of God! *ILL> Small babies, yelling “mine!” Sin= selfishness 
  2. Generosity is Sacrificial -“v34 there was not a needy person among them..” …. There is a lot going on in this verse. First, notice NEED. We have no idea how to distinguish between NEED and WANTS. Need means that it is necessary to live. Second notice that it was within the church first… “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:20 “v37 sold the field that he owned and brought the money” Barnabas teaches use an important lesson, APP> God uses what you have. APP> Tithe is great to start, “Jesus didn’t tithe his blood” – Tim Keller 
  3. Generosity is Sincere – “laid it at the apostles feet” used 2x. What is this repressing? APP> This reveals trust right? Barnabas trusted God with his money and trusted the leadership of the church. APP> This is something that we strive for here at West Side, I’ve been a part of some churches that were not. 

*ILL> I ran out of gas this week, I know, I am just as ashamed as you are. I kept thinking that my gas gauge had more in it than it really did. APP> There is a gauge for us who have received Grace. APP> Giving is the gauge of gratitude. 

2) Division thrives where hypocrisy hides: Ananias and Sapphira. 

      • This text permits me to say something. This seems harsh doesn’t it? I mean this is post cross, post pentecost , the text has the words “mega grace” in it. What’ the deal here. “We don’t like these stories… but we can’t have it both ways. If we watch with excited fascination as the early church does wonderful healings, stands up to the bullying authorities, makes converts right and left, and live lives of astonishing property-sharing, we may have to face the fact that if you want to be a community which seems to be taking the place of the Temple of the living God you mustn’t be surprised if the living God takes you seriously, seriously enough to make it clear that there i snow such tings as cheap grace. If you invoke the power of the holy one, the one who will eventually right all wrongs an sort out all cheating and lying, he may just decide to do some of that work in advance. God is not mocked.” NT Wright
  1. Hypocrisy Steals v2 “he kept back for himself” Luke uses a very specific word here, a word that we would know means, “to embezzle”  the only other time this word is used in the NT is in the context of stealing in Titus 2:10 You see that’s the problem, notice Peter says twice to him, “it was YOUR field”. They are also being deceitful, they said they sold the field but only brought part of it, why? What where they really stealing? *“They wanted the credit and prestige for sacrificial generosity, without the inconvenience of it. So in order to gain a reputation to which they had no right, they told a brazen lie. Their motive in giving was not to relive the poor, but to fatten their own ego.” – John Stott 
  2. Hypocrisy is Satanic – v3 “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie..” Peter is real sensitive here isn’t he? But he is truthful, because he must be! Jesus called people sons of the devil, APP> Do you see how their heart was revealed, through how they used money, Peter mentions the word “heart” 2x 2 Corinthians 9:7 
  3. Hypocrisy Spreads – v1 “with his wife knowledge.” v8 “agreed together” Sin spreads, that’s fact. APP> Here is what’s so scary about this, if they can harden their heart to God and the Apostles about this…. what else can they harden their hearts to? 

Big Idea > The greatest threat to the Church of Jesus Christ is not external persecution but internal division. 

APP> Do you know what Ananias name means? “Jehovah has been gracious” That breaks my heart, the amount of Grace that they were both shown, even at the very last second when Peter said his name, Ananias, he was reminded of God’s grace to him! 

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 

When it comes to Barnabas or Ananias and Sapphira it is as if Luke is asking this question, “Which one are you?”