Fighting God or Men?
How do we get an Acts church?
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them.
Do we even want an Acts church?
Seems you can’t have the signs, wonders, miracles, and radical selflessness without the holiness, the picking up your cross… the Holy Spirit.
Ananias and Sapphira…
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?
1. There is greed even among the people of God.
And he (Jesus) said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15
Application: “Generosity breaks the back of greed in your life.”
Ananias and Sapphira paid for it with their lives…
12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.
Really counting the cost of following Jesus.
Apparently ‘joining them’ was not the same as being ‘added to their number’.
Do we want an Acts church?
Yet for all God’s goodwill toward us, He is unable to grant for us our heart’s desires till all our desires have been reduced to one. When we have dealt with our carnal ambitions; when we have trodden upon the lion and adder of the flesh, have trampled the dragon of self-love under our feet and have truly reckoned ourselves to have died unto sin, then and only then can God raise us to newness of life and fill us with His blessed Holy Spirit.
It is easy to learn the doctrine of personal revival and victorious living; it is quite another thing to take our cross and plod on to the dark and bitter hill of self-renunciation. Here many are called but few are chosen. For every one that actually crosses over into the Promised Land, there are many who stand for a while and look longingly across the river and then turn sadly back to the comparative safety of the sandy wastes of the old life.
Born after Midnight ~ A.W.Tozer
Signs and wonders appeal to everyone.
Salvation appeals to almost everyone.
Dying to self appeals to almost no one.
2. A gospel without the cross is not the Gospel.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Only what has died can be resurrected.
The disciples were locked up for preaching the gospel.
19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”
21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.
Obedience to God, not man…
28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood…”
No one wants to be confronted about their own sin.
3. Every heart wants to be its own god.
“Better first in hell than second in heaven.”
Question: What’s the difference between religions of new age crystals, worshipping the environment, or atheism vs. the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Answer: No self-denial or submission to anyone in the first ones.
“You are determined to make us guilty…”
in other words, ‘We did nothing wrong!’
29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” 33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.
Please God or please man?
4. Pleasing both God and man is impossible.
We will never be completely honest with our hearers until we tell them the blunt truth that as members of a race of moral rebels, they are in a serious jam, and one they will not get out of easily. If they refuse to repent and believe on Christ, they will most surely perish; if they do turn to Him, the same enemies that crucified Him will try to crucify them.”
Born after Midnight ~ A.W.Tozer
Don’t be afraid to put your leaders to a point of decision.
34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing.
37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
In the culture where we hear and obey the voice of God, it’s common to hear someone say, “God told me to do this!”
If the person is wrong, and they came up with the idea inside their own head, they are breaking the 3rd commandment: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain". It might seem wrong or crazy, but Gamaliel’s philosophy was a good one.
There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
that can succeed against the Lord.
5. Nothing can stop the plan of God.
Application: If you have the word of the Lord on something and no one else believes you, take comfort in knowing that God will vindicate you.
Application: If your opponents seem to have favor and blessing despite evil, take comfort in the truth that God uses even the wicked for his own end.
Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.