Sometimes the stories of God are confusing.
AUGUST 30, 2021
Sometimes the stories of God are confusing. Let’s talk on Key Life.
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace, grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now, but if you’re hungry for the truth, that’ll make you free. Welcome to Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great weekend and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re in the middle. Well, we’re sort of in the middle of a study of the book of Acts. And we’re taking our time and we’re going to be there for weeks, probably months, before we finish. I am, of course your tour guide. And we will be stopping at various places through this book, to examine what God has told us for our benefit. Listen, it’s our practice to pray on Mondays before we study. So, let’s do that. Father, we come into your presence rejoicing. Not because we’re good, because we’re not. Not because we know so much, because we don’t. Not because we have been a obedient, we haven’t. But because we are yours and you made that decision. Father, you made up your mind about us long before we were born. And you decided that you would love us. And we are so grateful. You are an awesome God. And if you had never loved us, you would still be awesome and worthy of our worship, but the love draws us near. And when we come into your presence, we recognize, this is it, we were created for this, Father, you know the people who are listening to this broadcast and the hard places and the soft ones, the good and the bad, the laughter and the tears. Remind us that you’re a sovereign God, that you’re good all the time and that you’re involved in every circumstances and they all work for your glory and our benefit. And then Father. as always, we pray for the one who teaches, that you would forgive him his sins, because there are many, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Alright, if you’ve been with us, you know, that over the last few days we’ve been looking at what is kind of a funny story. It’s the cripple who was begging at the temple gate. And, the disciples gave him his legs back and they got into trouble, because they did, but the religious leaders, the establishment. You know, they, they, they were like a cat who gets his tail in a crack and wants to get it out without hurting. They didn’t like what Peter and John had done, but they had this cripple and that was a problem, who had been crippled from birth. And he was standing there in front of them, so it was hard to yell too loud. So, they gave them a mild slap on the wrist and Peter and John go back to the other disciples and they have a prayer meeting. That’s what’s happened in the last two chapters and it’s been fun to be there and look at that story, cause it’s ironic and it’s fun. And it’s filled with some laughter, that was intended by God who himself often laughs in Scripture. And then we move into the fifth chapter and everything goes south. You know, the book of Acts is a book of stories. My friend, Richard Pratt, a number of years ago, he’s an Old Testament scholar with a PhD from Harvard, whose ministry, Third Mill, you ought to Google it, will blow you away. And the ministry that Third Millennium has in this world, training thousands and thousands of pastors to serve the people of God is an amazing, amazing ministry. So Google Third Millennium, and then you can see for yourself. At any rate, my friend, Richard, wrote a book a number of years ago, it was on the Old Testament and it was titled, and it was a great book, but it had a wonderful title, he Gave Us Stories. And as we studied the book of Acts, that’s exactly what we see. He gave us stories, some of them are funny, like the one we just looked at. Some of them are instructive. Some of them cause us to cry. Some of them convict us. And some of them, if I had been God, I would have left out, frankly. Later on, we’re going to study about how Paul and Barnabas got into a fight, I’d have left that out. I mean, we don’t need dirty laundry, we need heroes. And I told God that, but he never listens to me and he never gives me a vote. And once you begin to look deeply into that story, you see some important things and we’ll see that when we get to that place, but there’s another one here too, in the first part of the fifth chapter of Acts. And this story has given me more problems than you can imagine. We get thousands of questions here at Key Life. And Pete comes in on Friday and we spend the entire broadcast answering questions. And, as a matter of fact, I spend considerable portion of vine time, and a lot of the staff people here answering the questions that you ask. And one of the main questions that we get. Well, I wouldn’t say main, but one that we get often is about this fifth chapter of the book of Acts. It’s just a story. It tells us what happened and it’s frankly kind of scary. Ananias and Sapphira lied, and apparently God killed them off. Now I’m going to read it to you in a minute, then we’re going to talk about it. But my pastor at the church that I serve, we’ve just established some new buildings, that we’re going to be moving into them before Christmas. But we had four weeks of preparation for raising the money that we needed for that. And my pastor, God bless him, used the fifth chapter of Acts as a text for one of those Sunday mornings. Seemed inappropriate to me and he made a joke out of it. And he said, I’m not saying that God will kill you off, if you don’t give some money to this project, but you ought to get a little bit of caution from this story. At any rate, let me read this story to you, and in the time that’s left today, we’ll comment on it. Look at it more in detail tomorrow, but this is what Luke writes.
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back some of the proceeds and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. And Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back 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? How 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 he died. And great fear,
great fear came upon all who heard 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 tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Hark, the feet of these who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out too.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. 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 up on the whole church and upon all who heard of these things, Now many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dare join in, but the people held them in high honor. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and pallets, and Peter came by and at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
Oh my. I know I was laughing when I was reading that and it’s not a laughing matter. It’s a serious matter. We’re going to see that. We’re also going to see some other things, but let me leave you with one thing. God does not kill off his people when they don’t tithe. Okay. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, continuing to guide us through Acts today, reading Acts 5:1-16, and that fascinating story of Ananias and Sapphira, what in the world is that about? Well, if you’re like me and have some questions, make sure you join us again tomorrow. By the way, if you’ve missed any episodes in our series on Acts, you can access those episodes at keylife.org with our new layout on the site, it has never been easier to find what you’re looking for and to discover new content that you’re going to love from Steve and our other Key Life voices. Also on keylife.org you’ll find transcripts for this radio program. That means everything you hear Steve teach, you also have it in print. That’s pretty cool. Also at keylife.org you’ll find our brand new digital magazine, sermons, video versions of Steve Brown Etc, Key Life Connection, even a link to our new Key Life app. And all of it is still free, thanks to the generous support of listeners, just like you. If you’d like to donate, just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. Or you can mail your donation to
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