The Fear of The Lord

The Fear of The Lord

The Fear of The Lord

William Stout / General

Acting out Acts

 

Great Grace was upon them all

Acts 4:32–37 NKJV

32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.

33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,

35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.

36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,

37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

  • In just a few short weeks after Jesus’ resurrection the church was born
  • Miracles were being seen – people were healed, lives were changed
  • The withstood persecution and continued to persevere, even under pressure
  • When threatened they turned to the Lord, and the place was shaken
  • Now they began to live in harmony, loving one another, and helping one another
  • No one lacked anything they needed –
  • those who possessed lands sold them and brought the money to the church
  • They were able to distribute as people had need
  • Barnabas was one of these people, who has something and gave it
  • They were starting to enjoy the blessing of the Lord, even in the to enjoy of trials and persecution
  • We can still do that today.
  • We can enjoy the Lord, even while we are threatened
  • Even in our suffering, the bible says we can rejoice in tribulation
  • When you are in Christ you are never left without something to be thankful for

 

Acts 5:1–11 NKJV

1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.

2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?

4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.

6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.

8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.”

9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”

10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.

11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

 

  • Ananias and Sapphira – very controversial subject
  • What was the issue here?
  • Was it that they didn’t give enough?
  • At the end of Chapter 4 we read about Barnabas, who had land and sold it, and gave the price to the apostles
  • So, let’s consider “giving” for a moment.
  • This was His voluntary act. He didn’t owe it, and he didn’t have to give it
  • God loves a cheerful giver.
  • We are instructed to give.
  • There is great reward in giving from Genesis to Revelation
  • But we are not to give grudgingly, or of necessity

2 Corinthians 9:6–9 NKJV

6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

9 As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”

  • So, we can see there is an expectation of giving, and a reward (reaping)
  • the instruction “as he purposes in his heart” – By faith
  • But not grudgingly
  • not forced (of necessity)
  • God loves a cheerful giver – but how could He enjoy an angry one?
  • think about this. Does God need our gifts? Is the church crippled?
  • In fact, God can accomplish His will without our giving – but that would not be good for us
  • consider the example right here – How much are we able to accomplish beyond what people give?
  • So many examples of God showing that He is able to make all grace abound
  • In fact, it is amazing that nearly all of the criticism we have ever heard about finances come from those who have never given anything
  • Fo God is able to make all grace abound toward you – you can give with confidence – you will have enough
  • And as it is written “his righteousness endures forever”
  • in other words the good that we have given will never be done (Philippines story)
  • So obviously, the problem here with Ananias and Sapphira was not that they did not give, or didn’t give enough, but rather that they lied

Acts 5:3–4 NKJV

3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?

4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

  • Peter pointed out to him that it was “his own” and even after he sold it, the money was his also. He could have just kept it
  • So why was this lie such a problem?
  • They were trying to attain the status that Barnabas achieved, yet without the works
  • works is not a dirty word – it is not profanity
  • We are not saved by works, but works matter
  • The bible promises that “our works do follow us”
  • As Christianity becomes popular there are always counterfeits
  • it is important to distinguish them from the real thing
  • They were fake – don’t be fake
  • They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
  • These people also simply had no dear of the Lord
  • Like so many people these days, they think that their actions and words are only heard and judged by men
  • They think that somehow if they can fool the preacher they have fooled God
  • I even have people that ask for prayer about matters that they are lying about
  • A person who had genuine fear of the Lord could not do that
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom
  • The term is used at least 30 times in the bible

Psalm 111:10 NKJV

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.

 

Proverbs 1:7 NKJV

7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 9:10 NKJV

10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Proverbs 14:26 NKJV

26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.

 

Proverbs 14:27 NKJV

27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.

Proverbs 15:16 NKJV

16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, Than great treasure with trouble.

Proverbs 19:23 NKJV

23 The fear of the Lord leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil.

Proverbs 22:4 NKJV

4 By humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches and honor and life.

Proverbs 23:17 NKJV

17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;

  • These are just a few of the many references
  • A genuine reverence for God is a healthy thing that we all should have.
  • without a healthy fear of the Lord there is no faith or righteousness
  • the whole of Christianity might have fizzled if this had not been corrected
  • there is a recompence
  • there is sowing and reaping
  • When people have a right attitude toward God, great things happen
  • It is also important to note that Peter did not curse them or pass judgement
  • the judgement came from God
  • It was Peter’s responsibility to speak God’s word faithfully – he was just the mouthpiece

Acts 5:11–16 NKJV

11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.

13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.

14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,

15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.

16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

  • After this event, the rest of the people had a healthy fear of the Lord
  • Through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done
  • God still does miracles through the hands of those who fear Him
  • Believers were increasingly added to the LORD
  • even multitude of both men and women were added to the Lord
  • When people have a right attitude toward God, true believers come to Him
  • The gospel has never lost its power to save
  • We don’t need to water it down with easy grace, or amp it up with name it and claim it hyper faith
  • the true Gospel of the Living Savior will never lose its power
  • So many people were inspired and coming to the Lord that they laid sick people on beds and couches in the street
  • even the shadow of Peter walking by was healing people
  • They came from all the cities around Jerusalem –
  • evil spirits came out
  • sick people came
  • people in need came –
  • they did not come to the apostles because they thought the apostles had money or things
  • they didn’t come because they thought the apostles were great doctors or lawyers, or anything
  • they came because they believed the Word
  • they believed that the apostles knew the Lord and they came expecting an encounter with God
  • they came seeking from God, and offering themselves to Him
  • Would to God that people were still coming to churches here to meet God – not people
  • What if they were expecting and encounter with Him?
  • And some are, and they find Him
  • To them, it is known that the gospel will never lose its power!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Now, when it was becoming “popular” to be a Christian, they wanted to claim the fame without the works
  • This needed to be challenged

Not much has changed in these times

  • there are many people who see the benefits and want to claim to have the same faith as those who really do
  • people may even get mad when others do good, because it makes them feel like they are holding back, or not good enough
  • sometimes it is because God may be calling them to give or do likewise, but they don’t want to
  • rather than acknowledge to themselves they are resisting God, they try to stop their peers
  • Or others, like these, just want to be seen.

 

  • The problem here was not what they ave or didn’t give
  • they saw how Barnabas was acknowledged when he gave “all”
  • They wanted the same “fame” and status so they falsely claimed to have done the same
  • they didn’t have to. It was not required
  • But lying about it was a big problem

Acts 5:11 NKJV

11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

  • great “fear” came on all the church
  • and those who heard these things
  • Then great, amazing miracles happened
  • this is when people were laid in the streets to be healed
  • multitudes came
  • they knew these men were the real deal

 

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