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Lying to the Holy Spirit

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Acts 5:1-11

Lying to the Holy Spirit

A man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?  While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own?  And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal?  Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart?  You have not lied to men but to God.”  When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last.  And great fear came upon all who heard of it.  The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.

After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.”  And she said, “Yes, for so much.”  But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord?  Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”  Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last.  When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.[1]

D

oes God expect the same standard of holiness from modern Christians as He did of saints during the days of the apostolic church?  God is holy, and He demands holiness of those who profess His Name.  What if every time a Christian lied, God killed the liar?  Would any professing Christians escape judgement if God so judged us?  Undoubtedly, it is only because of His mercies that we are not consumed.

Focus on an incident that made an incredible impact among the early Christians.  The event was of such significance, that among all the occurrences happening simultaneously during the formative days of the Jerusalem congregation, this one was included in the written account of the first church.

Paul, recounting for the Corinthian Christians events from the days of Israel’s wanderings in the desert, says that these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction [see 1 Corinthians 10:11].  Similarly, the stunning event we will examine today happened within that early church as an example, but it was written down for our instruction.  What happened?

Ananias, a member of the First Baptist Church of Jerusalem, with the full knowledge of his wife, Sapphira, sold a piece of property—a rather innocuous, if not a mundane, act.  Together, this couple decided to give a portion of the profits they had realised to the church.  I believe all of us would agree that this is a commendable act.  However, they agreed to represent their gift as though they were giving everything from the proceeds of the sale to the work of Christ.  They sought to present themselves as more generous then they actually were.  Their actions brought swift condemnation from the Spirit of God.  In fact, their decision to lie cost them their lives, and they never were permitted to enjoy their wealth.  Let’s analyze this event and learn from it.

Would a Christian Actually Lie to God?  I suppose we can imagine multiple reasons to explain why a Christian would attempt to lie to God.  Perhaps the individual is so obtuse that she actually believes that God does not know her heart.  Perhaps one lies because he is actually deluded.  Again, it is entirely possible that the Christian knows he is lying to God, but he actually believes that the esteem obtained fraudulently from fellow saints is worth the risk.  That appears to have been the case for Ananias and Sapphira.

To understand the motivation for their lie, it will be necessary to examine several previous verses.  Turn back to Acts 4:32-37 and read what was taking place in the church.  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.  And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.  There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.  Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

God was blessing the outreach of the congregation and the church was growing.  There was a spirit of unity evident among the members of the fellowship.  Among the members was a beautiful expression of compassion for their fellow believers in need.  Consequently, there was a spontaneous expression of love as many of the landowning members sold properties and brought the proceeds to the Apostles.  Those giving the gifts wished the moneys distributed to fellow saints who had proven need.

One of the members who brought a generous gift for the relief of the needy was a man named Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus.  In fact, the text leads me to think that this was not the only act of compassion Joseph had performed, because the Apostles had given him the name Barnabas.  Barnabas is less a name than it is a title.  Barnabas, translated into English, means “Son of Encouragement.”

Notice that the generosity was not organised; it was spontaneous.  This was genuinely a movement produced by the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of His people.  He touched the hearts of men and women who had the ability to give, and they responded to His initiative.  There is no indication that either the congregation or the Apostles requested the funds.  There was a general recognition of need, but there were no resolutions, no appeals, no organisational efforts to relieve need.

This is important because it demonstrates that the most effective response to need is that prompted by God’s Spirit working in the lives of His people.  In saying this, I am not disparaging efforts to mobilise relief efforts, nor am I unsympathetic to efforts to inform the congregation of a need.  In fact, I hold to the philosophy of informing the people and then trusting the people.  God’s Spirit is always at work among Christ’s people.  It is the role of the leaders to inform people of needs and then trust the people to respond as the Spirit directs them.  There can be no coercion if we will honour God.

The funds donated were delivered to the Apostles for distribution as they thought necessary.  The moneys were not tithes, but they were designated for a particular cause, and those bringing the funds trusted their leadership to administer the funds wisely and fairly.  The principle I would draw attention to is that once the funds were entrusted to the church, there was no further claim on it by those giving.

Perhaps you think this point is so obvious that it does not need to be mentioned.  However, I have observed over the years of my service to the Lord’s people that there is a distressing tendency among the people to God to continue to lay claim to what they give.  This is not to deny the need for accountability in distribution of funds, but it is to caution that once we have given the funds, we have no further claim on the moneys.

At one time, I served a congregation that had previously been “run” by one man.  That man eventually created such trouble that it was necessary to remove him first from leadership and eventually from membership.  He was a wealthy man and he had donated numerous items to the congregation.  As I, together with a fellow servant of the church, dealt with him during our final discussions, he truculently asserted that he alone supported the church.  He was especially belligerent in insisting that he paid my salary.  To that, I applied Acts 8:20 to him, using Eugene Peterson’s translation, The Message.

One would think that such a stinging rebuke would sober a Christian, but that same individual then insisted that upon leaving he would take the overhead projector, the hand dryer from the washroom, the CD player—every item he had donated to the church.  I told him to take it all, since we would not permit ourselves to be held hostage to money.

It may be true in the world of government that as goes government money so goes government control, but in the realm of the Faith, we hold no power over the church after we have delivered our gifts for the use of the congregation.  We have opportunity to participate in the budgetary process.  We have opportunity to make our desires known as the congregation decides how to distribute the donated goods.  We have freedom to decide what to give and even whether to give.  However, once we have given our gifts, we relinquish any further control.  This was a sin against the community of Faith; it was sin against the fellowship.  Literally, Peter asks Ananias why he “falsified the Spirit.”[2]  What a powerful statement to affirm the holy nature of Christ’s Church!  We must realise that to sin against the church is to sin against God!

The funds given by those generous church members were employed to assist those who had demonstrable need.  There was no thought of promoting laziness or of relieving self-imposed hardship.  The gifts were intended to provide assistance, and the clear intent of the assistance was that it would be temporary.  Christian welfare is not intended to become permanent support, but rather Christian charity is meant to express compassion, enabling the needy to respond to the condition that has created an unanticipated need.

Ananias and Sapphira witnessed these events as they happened in that church.  They noticed the respect Barnabas received when he donated his wealth to the work of the church.  The implication conveyed through our text is that this couple wished to receive the same respect Joseph had received.  Perhaps they were envious.  Perhaps they simply wanted to be noticed.  I suspect that they were motivated more by envy then any other motive, however, since Peter specifically states that Satan had filled Ananias’ heart.

Satan is not merely a liar, but he seeks to displace God as ruler of all creation.  According to Scripture, pride, the ever-present companion of envy, caused his downfall.  When Satan has filled the heart of an individual, that individual becomes proud, and the proud person cannot tolerate others failing to recognise their importance.  Ananias and Sapphira wanted recognition from the leadership of the congregation, just as they had given recognition to Joseph.  Perhaps they imagined that they would even be called “Father of Generosity” and “Mother of Generosity.”

It was all so simple.  All they needed to do was to sell their property and give a portion of the proceeds to the church, representing what they gave as consisting of all they had received.  They would gain the respect of their fellow worshippers, the gratitude of the Apostles, and a reputation as “real” Christians.  They only had to tell a little lie!  They would need only to deceive a few of the leaders and the rest would care for itself.

Ananias and Sapphira were indeed Christians.  Certainly, they were recognised as members of the Body.  Despite the privilege of being called by the Name of the Son of God, they chose to attempt deceiving Him.  They thought, as we are prone to think, that their lie would be but a little sin.  You and I have each minimised our actions at one time or another.  “It doesn’t matter,” we consoled ourselves, “God will forgive me.”  In doing this, we commit sin that the Psalmist identified as presumptuous sin [see Psalm 19:13].  Such sin is also identified as highhanded sin in the Old Testament [see Numbers 15:30].  We seem to think that what we do is unimportant.  Ultimately, we make a choice, but we must always know that our choices have consequences.

C. S. Lewis addressed this issue many years ago.  He wrote:

Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before.  And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war with and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself.  To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power.  To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness.[3]

James Boice said it well, when he wrote:

Men and women are eternal beings.  If we are only creatures of this life—if we live now, die, and that is the end of it—then it does not really matter a whole lot what we do.  You can be as evil as Dorian Gray, but at the end of life it is all over.  All you have to deal with is the disposal of a disgusting portrait.  But if we are eternal beings, then the choices we make matter eternally.  They matter to God.[4]

Why Does God Judge this Sin so Harshly?  The sin of these two early church members was particularly wicked.  Perhaps you wonder how their sin can be considered so awful, and the answer lies in the knowledge that we consider their lie to be harmless.  This is, however, a sin within and against the fellowship.  There are perils from outside the congregation, but they will almost never destroy a church.  Sin from within the fellowship, however, is insidious and injurious, dangerous and destructive.

I remind you that theirs was not a sin of failure to contribute—they brought a part of their receipt.  Neither was it wrong that they brought but a portion—God has never required all that one has to be brought as an offering.  Neither was this a violation of church law—the action of the several members of the church was spontaneous.

Merrill Unger, a long-time professor at Dallas Seminary, says of their sin:

The offence of Ananias and Sapphira, according to the average standard of human morality, was not a heinous one.  They had devoted a large sum to charity; they had defrauded no one but had simply retained their own and then denied the fact…  The divine Spirit being present with unparalleled power in the Church, the sin … is directly against Him…  This couple were deliberate, positive, conceited, and intentionally permanent hypocrites.  Their death was God’s declaration to all future ages of the true deserts of all deliberate hypocrites in the Church of Christ.[5]

The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was the sin of hypocrisy—attempting to make others believe that they were what they were not and of making others believe that they were doing what they had no intention of doing.  They were acting to deceive the people of God, pretending that they were motivated by the love of God.  They “falsified” the Holy Spirit.  They used the fellowship of believers to promote themselves.  Ananias and Sapphira pretended to be godly when they were anything but godly.  In effect, they lied about God and they lied to the Holy Spirit who indwells the church.

This is the sin of Ananias and Sapphira.  It is the sin Christians commit when we come into His house and sing, “Here I am to Worship,” though all the while we are consumed with our own interest.  It is when we sing, “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God,” though we are seeking to fulfil our own desires.  We thus sin when we declare, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” when in fact we serve what delights us.  It is singing, “I Surrender All,” when in fact we surrender nothing.

What changes would be made in our approach to God if we refused to sing, refused to say prayers, until we first dealt with our own spirit?  Better still, what changes would be witnessed in our worship if we first dealt with our spirit and then worshipped?  The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was attempting to make themselves appear to be something they were not.  This awful sin threatened the fellowship.

In Acts 4:31 and I read of the membership of first congregation that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and that they all continued to speak the Word of God with boldness.  Of Ananias, I read that Satan filled his heart and that he lied.  Likewise, Sapphira, his wife, agreed with this deceit, demonstrating that she was also full of devilish deceit.

God hates hypocrisy, and there is no greater hypocrisy than hypocrisy that seeks to deceive God’s holy people.  Anything threatening the fellowship is an assault against Holy God.  Achan sinned against the fellowship of Israel and against Israel’s God, when filled with greed he stole the items that God said were to be devoted to destruction [Joshua 7:10-26].  Korah led many of the congregation in rebellion, only to discover that God hates pretension [Numbers 16:16-35].  His sin was the same sin as that of Nadab and Abihu, who thought God could be treated in a cavalier manner [Leviticus 10:1-3].

If in the midst of pain I question God, as did Job, He will be patient and gentle with me, and He will lead me into the light.  If, on the other hand, I sing of acceptance of His permission for that sorrow smiting my life when I seethe inwardly, I invite His judgement.  God will not permit me to long deceive His holy people; neither will He be dethroned by my strong reaction when I am wounded.  God seeks reality in His people.

The deadly sin of Ananias and Sapphira was the exaltation of “self” instead of consideration for God’s holiness and the good of His people.  Love had motivated some members of that church to sell their belongings in order to provide for the need of others.  Love had moved some members of that church to designate their goods for relief.  However, this couple sought, not to help the needy, but to promote themselves instead.  They sought short-term gain at the expense of long-term benefit to the cause of Christ.  Selfishness, not love, moved them to act as they did.

Had God not judged this sin as harshly and as quickly as He did, it would have introduced deceit into the fellowship.  It would ultimately have destroyed the unity of the church.  It would have exalted darkness instead of encouraging walking in the light.  Sin left undisciplined destroys fellowship.  Tolerance of that which is false destroys unity.  Walking in darkness while professing to be in the light confuses the lost, damning their souls, even as it destroys respect for all that is holy.

There is an aspect of this divine judgement that merits further exploration.  The nature of our association as Christians is voluntary—the church is a voluntary entity.  Those who unite with the congregation do so willingly—not through coercion or under compulsion.  The gifts we bring to advance the cause of Christ are voluntary, and not offered out of obligation.  It is a principle of the Faith that though drawn by the Spirit of God, we willingly unite as Christians and freely provide our offerings for God’s work.

When we play the hypocrite, it is not the responsibility of the congregation, nor even the responsibility of the leadership, either to discover that deceit or to judge it.  When such deceit does become known, and it will become known, the church must act swiftly and deliberately to maintain purity.  However, because deceit tears at the fabric of spiritual unity, be aware that ultimately such deceit is always against God.  Therefore, be assured that God will judge all such hypocrisy.  Whether immediately or whether afterwards, know that God will not permit such perfidy threaten His holy Bride.

How Does One Lie to God?  It is possible to lie to God and say but few words.  Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit through intimation, relying upon implication.  Ananias represented the money he brought as the total proceeds of the sale of his property.  The action was the lie and it cost him his life.  When Sapphira later came into Peter’s presence, she was perhaps thinking that she would be commended for her generosity.  We can only imagine her surprise when Peter questioned her instead.

Peter asked, Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?  She was given the opportunity to either expose her husband as a liar or to corroborate his account of the gift said to be designated for the work of the Faith.  Instead of speaking the truth, without hesitation she agreed with the lie her husband had told earlier.  Thus, the text states that she replied, Yes, for so much.  Her partnership with the lie was at the expense of her life.

The lie was their attempt to represent themselves as something they were not.  Their lie sought to deceive the church into thinking more highly of them then was merited by their character.  As previously stated, the lie was a lie against the fellowship.  Paul wrote the Corinthian saints, warning them of the danger arising from precisely such dishonesty.  Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him.  For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple [1 Corinthians 3:16,17].  Dear people, I tremble at the thought that any of us should sin against the fellowship of the Body, for to do so is to lie to the Spirit of God.

This lie was a violation of the third commandment: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain [Exodus 20:7].  The sin of lying to the Holy Spirit is a sin of Christians who play fast and loose with truth.  It is an awesome thought that there should be Christians, even members of this congregation, who have played the hypocrite.  They pretend to be what they are not.  Gossips and backbiters, shirking responsibility as saints, yet all the while presenting themselves as children of Light.  I fear for them.  I know that there is a sin that leads to death [1 John 5:16].  We who are Christians are cautioned not to pray for those who presume against God and act in such a highhanded manner [1 John 5:16b].

During the Babylonian exile, God exposed the hearts of religious and civic leaders to His prophet Ezekiel.  They were saying, The Lord does not see [Ezekiel 8:12; 9:9].  Through such statements, they demonstrated disrespect toward the holiness of God and dishonoured Him.  Yet, God does see, God does know.  Moreover, the Lord does act.  Though He seems sometimes to delay, judgement does come at last.  Of these men, who though religious leaders, yet refused to honour God through their actions, the Lord said, My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; I will bring their deeds upon their heads [Ezekiel 9:10].  Indeed, It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God [Hebrews 10:31]![6]

Examine your heart.  Have you falsified the Holy Spirit?  Does your life belie the Spirit of God who lives among His holy people?  Are you seeking to deceive the fellowship of believers, acting as though you are holy when you are unrighteous?  Ask yourself, is the fellowship stronger because of your presence, or has it been weakened through who you have really become?  Are you walking humbly before the Lord your God, rejoicing in the privilege of having sin forgiven, though knowing that you are a sinful being?  I am not asking people to wallow in their sin, but I am calling upon those who name the Name to Christ to confess their utter dependence upon Him.

Have you made a vow to God and have yet to fulfil that vow?  Have you privately called on God, asking for deliverance from some condition or freedom from some besetting sin, vowing that if He gave you freedom and His protection that you would honour Him in some particular manner?  How many people plead with God for safety, pledging loyalty to Him and to His cause, only to ignore the vow once the danger is past?  How many have pledged gifts to the work of the Faith, only to fail to fulfil the vow?  How often have we promised obedience, only to neglect Him when we are safe?

I remind you of the ancient warnings against failure to fulfil vows made to God.  If you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin [Deuteronomy 23:21].  This charge was iterated: If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word.  He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth [Numbers 30:2].  When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools.  Pay what you vow [Ecclesiastes 5:4].  This, too, is lying to the Holy Spirit.

There is one aspect of this account that is exceptional.  In fact, I find it so unusual that I feel compelled take the extra time to point it out to you.  It has to do with divine discipline of sin.  Notice in particular the latter part of verse five and all of verse six.  When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last.  And great fear came upon all who heard of it.  The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.

The burial was hasty.  Those burying Ananias did not even wait to notify his wife.  They wrapped up the body, carried him out and buried him.  That swift action is meant to convey an expression of their horror—not horror at the thought that someone had died in their presence, or even horror that discipline had been administered.  It is horror at the thought that an individual who had previously shared their fellowship had become the object of God’s wrath.  Did you see those words—great fear came upon all who heard of it?  Later, Doctor Luke, the one writing this account of the early church, appends this commentary, great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

Who would not hold in awe a God who demands holiness?  Consider that Jesus promised that the forces of Hades would not overpower His church [Matthew 16:18 hcsb].  Look about and ask yourself whether the forces of Hades now overpower His church.  Sodomites marry, and modern churches cannot decide whether to participate in their sin or denounce what is happening.  We kill more infants in utero than are brought to term, and we cannot determine whether this is murder or merely an act of convenience.  Government demands that we keep our Faith to ourselves, and we quietly comply.  Ask yourself, have the forces of Hades overpowered the church of this day—our church?

If the forces of Hades have overpowered the contemporary church, either Christ has lied, or this is not the church of which He spoke.  If this is not the church of which He spoke, then we are responsible to become the church to which He gave His great promise.  If this is not that church, it can only be because we have ceased to be a holy people.  Consequently, I fear that there is scant evidence of holy fear represented in the society that observes us in this day.  I can think of few events more likely to make us eager to be a holy people than some divinely mandated deaths among the professed people of God who are intent on making a mockery of their membership in the Body of Christ.

This message concludes with a simple call to the people of the Faith.  Have you belied the Spirit of Grace?  Are you lying to Him?  Do you fear Him?  Do you hold Him in holy awe?  Perhaps it is time that we, the people called by the Holy Name of Christ the Lord, were again a powerful presence in this darkened world.  I do not wish a closing hymn, but I do wish that those who are willing to cease playing church will kneel at an old-fashioned altar and there confess their sin before God.  I do call on those willing to confess that they will seek His holy presence to come, kneel before Him and ask that He again bless His people as He has in the past.

If you consider this call overly dramatic, it can only be because you have forgotten the character of our God.  Together with the Apostle Peter, I plead with God’s holy people to Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world [1 Peter 5:6-9].

Outsiders should heed this particular call to life in the Risen Son of God.  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” [Romans 10:9-13].  Amen.


C. S. Lewis addressed this issue many years ago.  He wrote:

Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before.  And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war with and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself.  To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power.  To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness.[7]

James Boice said it well, when he wrote:

Men and women are eternal beings.  If we are only creatures of this life—if we live now, die, and that is the end of it—then it does not really matter a whole lot what we do.  You can be as evil as Dorian Gray, but at the end of life it is all over.  All you have to deal with is the disposal of a disgusting portrait.  But if we are eternal beings, then the choices we make matter eternally.  They matter to God.[8]

Merrill Unger, a long-time professor at Dallas Seminary, says of their sin:

The offence of Ananias and Sapphira, according to the average standard of human morality, was not a heinous one.  They had devoted a large sum to charity; they had defrauded no one but had simply retained their own and then denied the fact…  The divine Spirit being present with unparalleled power in the Church, the sin … is directly against Him…  This couple were deliberate, positive, conceited, and intentionally permanent hypocrites.  Their death was God’s declaration to all future ages of the true deserts of all deliberate hypocrites in the Church of Christ.[9]

This is the sin of Ananias and Sapphira.  It is the sin we commit when we come into this house and sing, “Here I am to Worship,” though all the while we are consumed with our own interest.  It is when we sing, “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God,” though we are seeking to fulfil our own desires.  We thus sin when we declare, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” when in fact we serve what delights us.  It is singing, “I Surrender All,” when in fact we surrender nothing.


----

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version.  Wheaton: Good News Publishers, 2001.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

[2] John B. Polhill, The New American Commentary: Acts, Volume 26 (Broadman, Nashville, TN 1992) 157

[3] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Macmillan, New York, NY, 1958) 72

[4] James Montgomery Boice, Acts: An Expositional Commentary (Baker, Grand Rapids, MI 1997) 100

[5] Merrill F. Unger, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, R. K. Harrison (ed.), (Moody Press, Chicago, IL 1988) 1128-9

[6] Holman Christian Standard Bible (Broadman & Holman, Nashville, TN 2004), hereafter hcsb

[7] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Macmillan, New York, NY, 1958) 72

[8] James Montgomery Boice, Acts: An Expositional Commentary (Baker, Grand Rapids, MI 1997) 100

[9] Merrill F. Unger, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, R. K. Harrison (ed.), (Moody Press, Chicago, IL 1988) 1128-9

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