EVIDENCES OF DISGRACE
Acts 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. 5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. 7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. 8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. 9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. 10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. 11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
We must take note of the beginning word of this chapter. It is a word of contradiction from the previous subject. Therefore to know what we are dealing with in these eleven verses in chapter five, we must consider those verses thirty one through thirty seven in chapter four of Acts.
The key is in verse 31, where it states, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Then we have the reoccurring word, “and” listed some five times to show the Evidences of Grace. (Refer to GBC messages under this title as preached on 8/22 & 8/26/12 on our website GBCga.com). For each time that word, “and” appears, there is a specific evidence, or result of what it means to be filled with the Spirit! Here is a listing of them:
– and they spake the word with boldness.
– And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul:
– And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection
– And laid them down at the apostles’ feet:
– And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas … brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Those were the results of the filling of the Holy Spirit. Now therefore we come to this word of contradiction, which informs us that we are now to see the works of the flesh, and of Satan’s filling some with the unholy spirit! (See verse three in chapter five, listed above.)
For we notice that while the true disciples of the Lord Christ were being filled with the Holy Spirit, those who refused to bow to Him are said to be filled with indignation! (5:17). The Jews are later said to be filled with envy (13:45), while, at that time, the true disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost. (13:52). Make no mistake about it dear soul, those who do not wind up in eternal glory, filled with the Spirit of God, shall themselves be filled with the spirit of Satan in eternal damnation! Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
And that filling of the Holy Spirit shall be most clearly evidenced by such results as are listed behind those five “ands” in chapter four. And according to that we really don’t have that many true believers among us today!
Let us now turn our attention to the Evidences of Disgrace. We are confronted with the same pattern in our passage regarding Ananias as we were with Judas in chapter one, verses fifteen through twenty. Here are some similarities:
Both Judas and Ananias appeared with their crimes at a time when a glorious example was present who lay down his life! For with Judas it was the immaculate, glorious Son of God Himself! What a glorious teaching of spiritual conduct! To watch the very Incarnate God relate to life and its problems each day was a marvelous opportunity after which to pattern one’s own character!
And we read of the Lord Jesus, John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
Then of Ananias’ presented example of selfless sacrifice we read of Barnabas, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 4:37). The Lord Jesus laid down his life for Judas’ example, and the Levite Barnabas laid down his livelihood as an example and contrast to Ananias!
And do you know what Ananias’ name means? It means, “Jehovah has favored!” But what a disgrace he was to the meaning of his name! He was like the church at Sardis! Rev. 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Just as Ananias, Judas was said to be numbered with us! (Acts 117). The tares were sown among the wheat. (Matt. 13:25). And the same sun, rain and soil that grew the wheat, also grew the tares. In fact, the householder’s instructions were to Let both grow together! Both are maturing at the same rate in the same field.
For the same spiritual environment that grows true believers to maturity also grows the counterfeit professors! The Apostle John speaks of the antichrists as going out from us! (1 John 2:19). They sat on the same pews, heard the same gospel, sang the same hymns, made the same professions, but they were not of us, he states! That is, they were not of the same saving faith and godly sorrow which leads unto true repentance!
The Apostle Paul also speaks of this in Hebrews chapter six. For after he has written of the impossibility to renew one once enlightened back to a place of true repentance, he gives example of this by the earth receiving rain to bring forth vegetables but also beareth thorns and briars! (Heb. 6:4-8).
And he again instructs that the gospel preached is not only a sweet aroma of life to believers, but that it is, at the same time, an aroma of death to unbelievers! (2 Cor. 2:14-16).
Next we see that Judas lied to Christ and the apostles in order to obtain money, by which a field was purchased. Acts 1:18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit after he had sold a field in order to obtain money.
We must remember that The field is the world; (Matt. 13:38). And we must use the world and the things therein, but not abuse it! 1Cor. 7:31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 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. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
And we must never forget, especially in this greedy society of ours, that the love of money is highly detrimental to faith! 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
We also find that both Judas and Ananias conceived these matters that resulted in soul damnation while under the truth of the gospel! God warned Ezekiel that those whom he thought to be faithful listeners of his preaching were but being entertained by him! Ezek. 33:31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. 32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
And the Lord himself clearly stated that even some of those who voiced religious rhetoric under his preaching were not those who should enter his spiritual kingdom! For it is not those whose mouth’s speak religion, but those who lives reveal the living Christ within who truly are the Lord’s sheep! Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Judas had been a thief all along! And the straw that finally broke the camel’s back was an incident when Christ defended Mary for anointing him with costly ointment, and thus prevented him from getting his hands on the money! Notice the word, “then” in Matthew 26:14 immediately after this account in his gospel. John 12:4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. Matt. 26:14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
The growth of these tares under the influence of a gospel witness developed them both to the point of their being filled by Satan! In John 13:27 we are instructed that Satan entered into Judas. And in Acts 5:3, listed above, we see that Satan filled Ananias’ heart to lie to the Holy Spirit. It is a very dangerous thing to sit under a gospel witness and refuse to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ! The Apostle Paul informs us that this is how Satan gains access to blind the minds of gospel refusers so that they can never savingly hear the gospel again! 2 Corin. 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
For these souls are now not “lost” like those of Luke 19:10 whom the Lord Jesus came to seek and to save! But these gospel rejectors are now “lost” like those previously mentioned who can never be renewed to repentance again! (Heb. 6:4-8). Peter also addresses these doomed souls. 2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. May God have mercy on gospel hardened Americans!
Then just what does God want? He does not seek for a donation! Luke 21:1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
These men could afford their god! If you can afford your god, you are not involved in true, spiritual Christianity! And God said that the accumulation of all that they cast in did not come up to that which the widow gave! For it is not the money! The scriptures do not state, “for God loveth a large donation!” But they teach us that “God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7).
God has no need! But we need to give to him to show our love and thanksgiving! Psalm 50:9 I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. 10 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. 11 I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
When Zacchaeus said that he was giving half his goods to the poor, the Lord Jesus said, This day is salvation come to this house! (Luke 19:8-9). He, like Ananias gave a part of his goods, and the Lord accepted it as an Evidence of Grace! But Ananias didn’t openly state that he was giving half! He said that he was giving all, but secretly kept back a part, thus lying to the Holy Spirit! And that is an Evidence of Disgrace!
And even if all my goods were given to the poor, without the regenerating love of God within our hearts, it would profit me nothing! 1 Corin. 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. The Lord Jesus tells us exactly what God wants. Matt. 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Pastor Gene Breed