AND GREAT FEAR CAME UPON ALL THE CHURCH, AND UPON AS MANY AS HEARD THESE THINGS.
Just how can this verse be taught? Let’s begin by recapping a few things. Just a few days ago, as far as these people are concerned; they seen 120 people come out of a room, all speaking in other tongues. They’ve heard the Apostle Peter preach with a power they have never experienced before and, because of the message felt great conviction. They also felt the power, of the Holy Ghost of God. They’ve seen such great love for Jesus Christ that people that had possessions sold them, gave the money to the Apostles, completely yielding their lives to the Holy Ghost they now possessed. They’ve seen a man and his wife caught lying to the Holy Ghost and die because of that lie. They’ve seen themselves with a power they could not even dream of just a while ago. A power to stand, look at the religious leaders of that time and tell them, we will not do less than God, by his spirit tells us to do, we don’t need your leadership any more.
They have even seen the Apostle Peter, simply speak to a man that was cripple, take that man by the hand and, that man, crippled from birth, stood up and walked, praising God. Something has changed in the world they live in. Even they are doing things they never dreamed they would do.
FEAR! Can I tell you what ( I believe ) these people feared? ( I believe ) they even give us this answer. This is what they said; ( Acts 4:18-20 ) And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. ( 19 ) But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, Judge ye. ( 20 ) For we cannot but speak the things which ye have seen and heard.
These people feared, not being pleasing to the Spirit that lived within them. I want you to see something in these verses ( I believe we are missing. These people are filled with God’s Spirit. Why? Because they have ( believed the report ) as they have heard it and seen it. Notice what the Apostle Peter says to the leaders. ( Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than God, Judge ye. )
The leaders were saying what they thought God wanted but, they were not filled with God’s Spirit. Now. let me asked you? Are you filled with God’s Spirit? If your answer to that question is ( yes ) then tell me; how can you prove that your spiritual leader is filled with that same spirit? You can’t! We far too often listen to people that we know nothing about what truly drives them. That’s what we should fear. If we know that God lives within our hearts then we need to be obedient to that spirit above all. These people might have been seen as completely ignorant but, they had wisdom to hear God speak above any man and. that my friend is wise, even for us today.
Sine I am born again I have no need to fear hell or the wrath of God. What I do need to fear is not yielding to the will of God for my life. If we were to paint a picture here; this would be it. For a long time the religious leaders of Israel had been leading Israel, but actually leading them in the wrong direction or, in their own religion as defined.
Now, since the ( Day of Pentecost ) God has filled those that believe with himself, his own Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Each person has the ability to hear God and move in the direction God leads that one person.
Think on this, there is not but one Spirit. Therefore, no matter what each person done or, where they went, the same Spirit led what they all done and, said. I think I’ve made this point before but, as we speak of fear I can see a need to make it again. At this time; not one word of the New Testament has been written. All they knew was what they has seen and experienced. Everything was seen as brand new. I relate it to a child and how a good parent would discipline that child. The Church is a new born babe and, God is disciplining it to be how he would have it mature.
Let’s make a few statements about this new born Church and, ( the fear ) they have as we call it. First of all, let’s consider Ananias and Sapphira. We don’t know whether they actually had the Spirit of God within them or not. All we know is that they both died for not being honest. Can you see how a child would see that act. If a man and his wife had three children and, one was disobedient to the point of harsh punishment, how would the other two see that as it unfolded? How would they react to what they seen? ( In fear ) that is; of what might happen to them if they are not obedient.
Second; they had no building. It wasn’t a situation where the people ( loved ) the building they ( worshipped ) in. We see in ( Acts 5:42 ) that they were in the temple daily but, they didn’t own it and they will soon find that out. They also went into ( every house ). If you consider that picture. These people were overflowed with the Spirit of God. Where ever they went, that was the subject to be discussed and shared. There was nothing else on their mind and, it was a continual preaching service and Sunday School lesson. If they were in the temple, they talked about Jesus Christ, if you came to my house, we talked about Jesus Christ, if I came to your house, we talked about Jesus Christ, if you and I visited a stranger, we shared Jesus Christ. And we wonder why our homes, Churches are so dead and dried up spiritually today!
Are you in a spiritually dead Church? Or, would you know it if you were? What would be a good way to tell if the Church you are in is spiritually dead? One of the first things we could point to is; what are people, members of your Church, including you standing around before and after Church talking about? What is the main subject at your house?
I pointed out something a minute ago. I made the statement that not one word of the New Testament had been written. Do you realize that what these people were doing is now part of God’s Holy Word? There’s a saying that I can see how we need to poin it out here. ( YOU, YOUR LIFE MIGHT BE THE ONLY BIBLE SOME PEOPLE WILL EVER READ ). Therefore, if your life, your voice; is scripture;what are people reading, hearing? So, let’s take this a step farther. We have the ability to read the actions of these people; we call it the word of God. Do people see you as more like Ananias and Sapphira or the other people mentioned here? Forget about their personal actions as far as the lie they told; what lie does people around you see in you? Does your actions represent what you say?
There’s another saying we hear often: ( I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT ME ). Well, these people ( FEARED ) what was seen and heard, how people looked at them. ( I FEAR ) leaving this world, not being pleasing to my Lord, the one that gave his all for me. I’m going to say something about my personal life here. Even as a believer; I haven’t always walk as I should. I’ll even say this: ( I LOST MY FIRST LOVE ) the joy of walking and talking with my Lord above all. A babe in Christ, a young man, much younger, spiritually and physically than I said this to me. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:22 ) Abstain from all appearance of evil ). At the time I was being seen in a way that did not bring honor to my Lord. The young man came to me in love, not in a judgemental way. I have never forgotten that, even now the Lord brings it to my mind accasionally.
What did I lose? I didn’t lose my salvation, I lost my ( FEAR ) ( MY FIRST LOVE ). Maybe I need to define those two terms as it relates to what I’m saying. ( THE FEAR ) of not obeying God’s Spirit. ( MY FIRST LOVE ). Gaining and using all the wisdom God gives and my walk with him. The people in the early Church and, even I didn’t realize that ( SATAN NEVER GIVES UP ). Let’s end this by simply making a statement. If the believers in the early Church, the people that feared; were members of our average Church today. Then they would look at the leadership and say, just as they did to the religious leaders of that day. ( FOR WE CANNOT BUT THE THINGS WHICH WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD ).
At that time, they could have said the same thing to me and, this young man pointed that out to me with one simple verse.
What is our fear today? What do you fear? Do you realize that the members of the average Church today fear ( DYING AND GOING TO HELL )? Is that one of your fears? Most don’t even have enough confidence in Jesus Christ to say ( THEY KNOW ) they are saved. They don’t have enough confidence ( TO WITNESS ) in his name, most never speak of him in Church or out. Most Church members don’t even consider hearing him or seeking his will. We are being motivated by the wrong fear.
I’ve mentioned in this study the need to grow from a babe to a mature believer. I also said that ( the Church ) in which we see here has to grow to maturity. Many people refuse to look at ( God our Father ) as being toward us just as a good earthly father is toward his own children. However, the Bible teaches us that he does. ( Hebrews 12:8-11 ) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. ( 9 ) Futhermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? ( 10 ) For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. ( 11 ) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Let’s start with ( verse 8 ). We often see Church members basically live as they please without any thought of how God might feel about how they live. This verse might tell us why they can live like they live. Hove you ever been in a store and witnessed a child being very unruly to his or her parent, maybe using bad language to someone or, just not showing general respect? If you have, more than likely you probably thought, if that was my child, this is what I would do. However, it is not your child therefore, you don’t correct them.
Many people in our Churches can live and be like they are because ( God is not their father ). Satan is their father and, they are well pleasing to him. We see in ( 9-10 ) that our father’s in the flesh corrected us ( at their their own pleasure ). That means that they wanted us to represent ( how they thought ) well. However, God chastens us ( for our own profit ). Why? That we might be partakers of his holiness. Would you agree that it is actually the same reason? Just as you father desired for you to look well and represent him well; each child of God, if they are ( partakers of his holiness ) will represent him well.( Verse 11 ) says that being chastised is never something we enjoy but, what it yields is fruitful for us.
Now, as we go back to ( Acts ), looking at fear and, Ananias and Sapphira. Let’s understand first that God is setting a precedence. This to a body called the Church. In other words, It has little to do with Ananias or Sapphira and, more to do with the body of Christ ( the new born Church ). You might ask; was this act toward Ananias and Sapphira profitable to them, even in their death? To that, I would answer; didn’t they make their own choice? Can you tell me the exact minute you are going to die? Each minute you live; aren’t you making your own choice to whether you will give yourself to Christ or, do your own will?
My point is that ( the act ) carried out upon Ananias and Sapphira ( brought great fear upon the new Church ). God, by his Spirit is showing them the importance of what they are doing through chastisement of his children. Even as I write this, my heart yearns to show our Churches today just how blind we have become to God’s will and how he truly desires for us to be. Not as Churches but, as individual, born again believers, that are suppose to make up our local Churches.
Let me share two seperate verses in two different books with you, ( 2 Peter 1: 9-11 ) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Now, look at the next verse: ( 10 ) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: ( 11 ) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
What is he saying here? What he is actually saying is that if you say you are saved and, lack these things, then you should check up on yourself to make sure. He’s saying that if these are not in you, something is wrong. I want to play on some words here. In 2 Peter 1:9 ) he make this statement: ( hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins ). With this in mind; I’m going to show you the other verse. ( Hebrews 6:4-6 ) For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, ( 5 ) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, ( 6 ) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to open shame.
I can see how these things tie together. First, when Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary, ( every sin of every person that will ever live ) was ( purged ). Every sin was forgiven. Now, if we tie ( Hebrews 6:4-6 ) to this same mindset, what do we see? Any person that has the priviledge of standing in the presence of a preacher, preaching under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is blessed to learn these things. These people gain the knowledge that ( their sins have been forgiven ). We can also say this, they have been ( enlightened and tasted ) of the heavenly gift. They have stood right in the presence of the Holy Ghost of God. They have been ( partakers ) of the Holy Ghost. However, that doesn’t mean that they actually received Jesus Christ as their savior, although they had every opporunity to do so. They might have gone to the alter, said they believed, got baptize and, joined Church but, They never allowed the Holy Spirit of God to come into their hearts and be born into the family of God.
Let’s look at this. ( Hebrews 6:6 ) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance. I”ll do this one section at a time. What is being said is this. Once a person gains knowledge and, rejects that knowledge then he cannot say he didn’t know, He can’t ( repent ) from knowing is the way it’s said here.The Bible says ( seeing they ( crucify to themselves ) the Son of God afresh, and put him to open shame).
When any person learns these things. He learns he is a sinner. He learns that without Jesus Christ as his savior, he’ll spend eternity in hell, he learns or feels the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. However, for what ever reason; he rejects these thing. At that, they ( crucify to themselves ). It’s like saying ( I don’t care what he did, makes no difference to me, at that, they walk away.
I want you to consider a common mistake we all make. The Bible says ( judge not that ye be not judged )( Matthew 7:1 ) You can see this phrase some other places as well but, consider this: If I look at you and say you are saved, didn’t I just judge you? If I look at you and say: I don’t believe you are saved; didn’t I just judge you? We very often see people go down to an alter, make a profession of faith, get baptized and join Church. At that we say they are saved but, only God can see a the heart of man.
Basically, we, in our Churches today are not taught the true meanig os salvation or, what it is to be sanctified. Our Churches today claim to give us spiritual birth then, they leave us to spiritually die. That is because of the lack of teaching the lessons that the new born Church after the day of Pentacost. The average Church doesn’t even teach what true salvation is. In other words ( although many have the knowledge of Jesus Christ; they have never been purged from their old sin ). What the difference in ( old sin ) and ( new sin ) or, is there any?
This might be splitting hairs but, there is a difference. ( Ye must be born again ). Jesus Christ paid the price for every sin you will ever commit. However, you must have a starting point. That starting point is asking Jesus Christ to come into your heart that you might be saved. Now, look at this: ( old things are passed away ). When you are born again, who you use to be is gone. ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold; all things are become new. Does that mean you will never sin again or, commit the old sins? No it doesn’t. It means that your life is not governed by those things now. Look at this verse of scripture: ( 1 John 1:9 ) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
You cannot simply confess your sin before you are born again and expect them to go away or, God to forgive them. However, once you are born again and, began to be lead by God’s Spirit then, when you do fall short all he expects is for you to confess that sin. What does it do when you, as a believer confesses your sin? It shows God the Father that you are not happy with that lifestyle. I shows him you are truly seeking his guidance and will, not your own.
I make this point because of what we see in ( 2 Peter ) ( forgotten they were purged ) and, also what we read in ( Hebrews 6 ) ( once enlightened ) ( have tasted )( made partakers of the Holy Ghost ). Far too often we judge a man to be saved and, our judgement is wrong. We can also judge a man to be lost and be wrong.
( FEAR ) is a powerful thing when it is understood and used in a Godly way. While we often are seen, by God as ( playing Church ) God is not ( playing ) with us. These scriptures bear that out and, we will be very wise to learn, just as they did in the early Church ( TO FEAR ) Move because of that fear. The fear here is ( showing respect ) understanding every possibility of how God Works or, at least paying attention to what happens around you.
I’ll show you one other point and we’ll close the segment. We see this in ( 1 Corinthians 11:30 ) For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. I’ll point out another verse to support this one before we make a comment. ( Hebrews 12:8 ) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and nor sons. We’ve already looked at that verse but, it’s revelant to see here as well.
The word ( sleep ) here is used in place of what we would call dying. We see in in other places as well. However, here he is saying that because of the way some people live after they are born again causes them to be sick or, even die. In our flesh we always look at the death of people the same way. We never even consider the fact that, as believers, living an ungodly life, God possibly said, that’s enough, you’re coming home. You won’t listen to me there so, I’ll bring you home. It also says ( many are sick ) because of the life they live.
Here, in ( 1 Corinthians 11 we are speaking about the Lord’s supper. In these verse he is saying that many partake of it unworthly. What that means is that the life they are living does not reflect Jesus Christ. There’s a lot that could be said here but, it all has to do with fearing or respecting God’s ability to have his will carried out.
Just to make a point here. Many Churches, when they offer communion will offer a few minutes before you partake of the communion for you to pray, supposedly to confess any sin that you might have. Actually, that is not what it’s about. Confessing sin is on thing, repenting from a life style is a completely different thing. For any person to sit, just before they take communion and pray; does not reflect who they truly are. In reality, any person that takes communion should already be doing all they can for Christ, sold out to his will. When and, if you pray before communion; your prayer should be: ( Lord help me to do more of you will ).
Communion is just like baptism in this sense. You are saying, by your action that you are taking the very body of Christ within you. Since you have been baptized, you have already stated that you have died to your own will.
We do these things, both baptism and communion without any fear of God of all. We act as though God pays little attention to what we do or say and, we are sadly mistakened.
Do you realize that about every person that dies today goes to heaven? And that according to message preached at their funeral? Do you believe that? I’ll stand on the fact that even the Bible teaches contrary to that. Look at this verse: ( Matthew 7:14 ) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it. So, let’s talk about the death of people. I want to share some things with that possibly; you have never considered.
We’ll start with children. This is something ( I believe ) that means you don’t have to. The reason I say that is because I really can’t scripturally prove this. God looks after children, they are protected under his hand until they reach ( the age of accountablity ) What age is that? ( In my opinion ) it’s when you realize you are a sinner, you know right from wrong and, you know what you do is wrong or sin. We could take this a step farther and add this . ( John 3:36 ) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.
When we are children and, have not the knowledge of Christ or, know nothing of the need of salvation then, that’s one thing. God speaks to our hearts, he call us by his spirit to be born again. If we reject that call, from that point on in our lives, if we die then, hell will be our home. That doesn’t mean he won’t speak to us again. That is the grace he shows to each of us. If I use myself as an axample. I first felt the Spirit of God when I was about thirteen, I rejected that call and left Church just as I went in. From that moment on, if I would have died it would have been apart from God for eternity. His grace continued though. In about tweve years I answered his call for salvation. I also believe that if a person rejects him too long then he will stop that conviction and you will never be saved.
The whole point is that when we reject God, as lost people, we can die at any time. With that being said; when we receive Christ then we are again protected by God. If you can relate to this , consider; a child grows under the protection of God. Once that child feels conviction, realizes their need for a savior, they asked Christ into their heart. That means they are always under the protection of God. It’s when we reject him that should cause us to fear.
Now, let’s look at believers. What does it mean to be a believer in Christ? If we go back to the early Church. Remember, them saying: ( you do as you will ) we can not do less than what we see and know. Look at this verse: ( Romans 8:28 ) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.
Can you see how that; if we are born again then our lives are for his purpose? Not our own? How much do you love God? That is; since you say you are saved? If we are walking with Christ, are we willing to be used for his purpose, even die or lose a love one if necessary for his purpose? Just because we love God does not mean we will have long life. It doesn’t mean we will keep our loved ones safe with long life. If we say ( we love God ) then ( we are called according to his purpose ) not our own.
We can read in scripture where Godly people suffered, even died for God’s glory. To me, that is the way to leave this world ( all for God’s glory ).
Then, it’s one other aspect of dying. What if you are carnel, you say you are saved but don’t even consider walking in Christ. Remember chastisement? Remember; many are sick and some even sleep? I believe there are people that do not know Christ. They; all by God’s grace, live long lives but, when they die; they spend eternity in hell. There are people that are born again that live in open sin, never consider hearing God’s Spirit. If that is the case then you can expect chastisement. It’s very possible that you will be sickly even die.
Look at the Church you attend. As I say these things, I am not a judge. I cannot decide who is lost and who is saved. However, we all can judge righteous judgement. ( John 7:24 ) Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement. If we see people that say they are saved but, they never seem to change anything in their lives, are they saved? We cannot say. However, if they continue as they are and, never seem to have any difficulty them they must not be children of God.
FEAR, causes us to change our direction. We all must stand before God. Knowing that we will face him, knowing he will return brings about sanctifcation in our lives. ( 1 John 3:3 ) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
There’s a lot to teach. We can’t do it all here but, you look at yourself. Do you fear God to the place that you seek to hear his voice and, do his will? What is your life about? Is it all about you or, pleasing Jesus Christ? How well do you know him? And, are you seeking to know him better through study?
If we look at what the members of the newly formed Church said. ( We can only do what we know and what we see ). Are we as babes in Christ the very same way? Day by day we learn and hear. The secret is to yield to what we see and hear! What we learn.
THE NEXT SEGMENT ( ACT 5:12 ) THE POWER!
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