Title: Internal Affairs
Text: Acts 5:1-11
Introduction: Law enforcement bureaus are designed to organize systems to protect and serve the people in its jurisdictions. Even though this system is set up to be a moral and ethical organization, corruption can occur from within and destroy it ruining its reputation and negating its purpose; to the end losing the trust of those it is suppose to protect. Therefore; in order to protect the law enforcement agencies standing, a special unit called the internal affairs is set up to deal with problems that occur within the “house” to insure all those employed act with integrity. With internal affairs, the police are policed. This parallels what happen in the church of Jesus Christ. The Church is both an organization and organism that is created to spread the message of love and redemption of Jesus Christ. However, corruption can take place from within its structure. God has set up a unit, a special agent, the Holy Spirit to handle its internal affairs to keep the integrity that God intended for the church to have. The church has to be churched. God thru the Holy Spirit will send his judgment upon the believers when we attempt to deceive God due to our lustful pride. You can’t act anyway you want in God house and get away with it. The Holy Ghost will eventually expose you and deal with you. God tells us to today to do right or deal with the Holy Spirit.
Our story opens up after the apostles were persecuted for doing the works of the Lord by spreading the gospel and the healing of a lame at the Beautiful gate of the temple at Jerusalem. Peter and John were persecuted by the religious leaders for preaching the resurrection of Jesus. They even tried to forbidden them of even saying the name of Jesus. But the apostle denied the powers that be because they had a case of the “I can’t help its”. They said in verse 4:19, “for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard”. They had an experience with Jesus and they wanted the world to know! That should be the attitude of the church. We have to have a case of the “I can’t help its”. We have keep spreading the good news of Jesus! But like Peter and John, we will be persecuted. Satan tried to stop them by using the religious leaders but it did not work. Despite the suffering and the jail they kept speaking the name of Jesus. That is what we have to do as a church. Despite how the enemy tries to hinder us, we have to proclaim the name of Jesus. But persecution from outside of the church is not the only way that Satan tries to destroy the church. He also tries to infiltrate the church by deception amongst the believers on the inside. This is what our story is about today. After finding nothing on the apostles due to fact that the people glorified God for the healed man, the Sanhedrin had no choice but to let them go. So then Peter and John went joined the other believers for a prayer service. The early church prayed! That was there weapon and empowerment! In verse 4:31, they prayed so much that the foundation shook and they all were filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke the word of God with boldness. This is where we enter the circumference of our text verse 4:32. The multitude of believers were together with one heart and one soul (psookhe breath of life) and had all things in common. They had power to witness boldly the resurrection of Jesus and God’s grace or favor was upon them. No one lacked anything because the people did what they had to make sure everybody was taking care of to the point they sold possessions and land and laid them at the apostle feet so they can distributed it to those who had need. Satan has a really problem when the church is being the church. He don’t like when believers are spirited filled. He don’t like when the believers speak Jesus with boldness. He does not like it when favor is upon God’s children. He doesn’t like it when the church is operating with Kingdom principles making sure all the needs are met for all God’s children. Satan gets mad. So don’t be surprised when he raising his head. That is the sign that God hand is on you and you got favor. Satan may be defeated but that does not stop him from trying to distract you from your promise. One of Satan tactics is that if you can’t get you he will get somebody close to you. He will use somebody in your house (husband, wife, kids) to divide your household to slow you down from receiving your promise. He uses our flawed humanity to do his work. That is what he did to Adam and Eve. That is what he did with Achan to distract Joshua. That is what he with King Saul. Satan is a snake that uses our weaknesses to hurt us. He will use your attitude, anger, etc. Tell your neighbor don’t let him use you!
But he does his best work when He works in church. Look at how it happens in church in verse 4:36. The text says that Joses, but the apostles called him Barnabas, son of encouragement, a Levite, a priest who sold his land and laid their money at the apostles’ feet. This was a Jewish leader who was now a spirit filled believers devoted to the ministry of Jesus. This had to be a significant act because the writer Luke would not have mentioned it. Therefore, it must have meant something major for this band of believers. It had to because it created somewhat of a problem. A married couple witnessed this act of generosity and the recognition that came with it and wanted a piece of the action. The text says, “but a certain man named Ananias and wife Sapphira also sold a possession”. They wanted to be like Mike. They wanted be just like Barnabas. They saw the appreciation. They heard the cheers. Their pride wanted the spotlight. They were caught up in the moment and wanted a piece that action to satisfy their ego. So they had to keep up with the Jones. But they only did it for show. Because the text says that they kept back part of the proceeds and laid the rest at the apostles’ feet. Their pride took them to a place that there character could not keep them. Their want for recognition shows us that they were hypocrites. The word hypocrite means to wear a mask as in acting. They were playing church. They were in it for the fame. They wanted to appear more holy than they really were. They sold the church a false bill of goods. But the sad part is that they were believers in the early church. This proves that all churches have their problems. Ananias and Sapphira had the wrong motives. They gave to be seen and not out of love. They wanted to show people that they were important as anybody else. This problem is not isolated to the early church. We have believers today that unfortunately act in the same way because they have the same motivator i.e. pride and want recognize. They don’t know they are hypocrites like Ananias and Sapphira. They are just as phony, deceitful, slick, sneaky and mean spirited. They will do whatever to have reputation that others admire. But the Lord knows. However, in today’s church we take it to a new level. We don’t try to hide our stuff. We are just blatant and have the nerve to call our behavior godly. We put on performances and act like it is ok to treat God’s children any kind of way. The devil is a liar and God will not be mocked nor will His church. Look what happens to this corrupt and deceitful couple. In verse 3, Peter calls Ananias out and tell him why has Satan filled his heart to lie to the Holy Ghost and you keep back part of the price of the land? But how did Peter know? It was revealed to him by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will give you discernment and always guides you into truth. You will be able to see beyond what it there. Then Peter questions Ananias because he did have to give it. It was his. He lied not to man or the church but to God, the Holy Spirit. Ananias had an issue. He had a heart problem. His heart was not right and Satan now was controlling him. My beloved, when your heart is not right Satan will get you! That is why we have to protect our heart. The Bible in Prov. 4:23 tell us to keep your heart with all diligence; for out it are the issues of life. That is why as believer you got to dress yourself with the amour of God: gird your loins with truth, put on the breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit; the word of God! But Ananias did not do that. He let his lustful pride get ahead of him and it cause him to be deceitful. He should have read Prov 16:18; pride comes before destruction. And here it comes. Then after Ananias heard what Peter had to say, he fell down and took his last breathed and died. God killed him. My beloved, you can’t deceive God and get away with it. He is omniscience. It was the deception against God and his Church that cause him to die. The Lord will not let you get away with offending his church. You may not die physically. But things will die in your life if you are not right. And you will be judged by God Himself. When Ananias died, fear came upon those who witness this. It is going to take the wrath of God to come thru this church in order for some of you to reverence and get right!
Next, they picked Ananias and took his body out to be buried. About three hour later his wife comes in. Unbeknownst to her husband is died. Peter then asked her how much did they sell the land? She said, yes for so much. Then Peter calls her out in verse 9 and says to her since you agreed with your husband to test the Spirit of the Lord those who took him out to be buried are waiting for you. And immediately, she fell down and died! They took here out to be buried with husband. Church, when you are deceitful to God, people connected to you will also suffer. The text goes on to say those who heard this were in awe. Church, you can’t deceive God! The Holy Ghost will get you! Believers, God deals with us more harshly because we know better. God wants His church to be pure and will remove anything that will hinder her. Most of us feel uneasy when we hear this text. We are uncomfortable because many of us have done worse. We have some stuff going on inside of us worth of an internals affairs investigation. Our hearts are not right and Satan had filled them. But I can praise God because he has not dealt me like this! But this should encourage us to get right with the Lord and confess our sin. When you confess it internal affairs comes not to bring us down but to build us up. The Holy Spirit starts to work to renew and restore and you will be changed! Instead of hurting the church with deceit you will help make the church even stronger! You don’t have to go out like that! The Spirit has to have its way in your life!