This wasn't joy for Peter, and it was unprofitable for Zephyr and Ananias. So the lessons, they're all over the place. You hear a sermon like this, this is what it says, and then I make other comments, and then the person goes back and reviews this and sorts it out. And that's how theology is built. That's how we know what we believe. Not just someone says, here, the Trinity, believe this.
Okay. No, I need to see it in scripture myself. This is Cross Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Acts.
Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Acts, Chapter 5, as he continues his message, Lying to God. Judas Iscariot was chosen to be on the staff of Jesus Christ because Christ saw in him the potential to be like the other apostles. It was Judas' choice to become the traitor. Before Satan filled the heart of Judas, Judas was already embezzling from the money box. So it wasn't that night that he betrayed the Lord that suddenly this happened.
He was already up to no good. And there are other cases in scripture. And we need it from scripture. I don't want to give you my opinion unless the scripture can back it up, or the scripture is always in the lead. So I don't want to make it sound like it's secondary to my opinion. My opinion is secondary to scripture, and so is yours. So this judgment of Peter, it's not man's jurisprudence. It's not man's court of law, where the best litigator wins regardless of the facts.
This is the king's court. And he doesn't have to say, well, we know you did this, and here's why. He's actually saying, you did it.
We're not asking you if you did it. Psalm 98, verse 9, for he is coming to judge the earth with righteousness. He shall judge the world and the peoples with equity, unlike the court of men. I mean, there are some good judges, but there are great many foul people who should be nowhere near a courthouse.
They should be in jail. And they are loose, and they are out there. Continues here in verse 5. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. Well, again, no surprise. At this point, only a handful heard these things within three hours. This would have been suppressed or twisted by the evening news. If the evening news got hold of us, what? The church is able to do this to people?
We ain't telling anybody that. Or those butcher Christians took out machetes, and they would twist it or suppress it, but they would not uphold it. The word spread around Jerusalem with sobering results.
Imagine you go home. How was church today? Well, you do like you do every Sunday. The sermon was the best I've ever heard. And then, if you come to this church, other churches, you know, the sermons were the second best I've ever heard. You should hear Calvary Shabbat of Kansas. Okay, if you're visiting, you have to know I'm serious.
Okay, just kidding. But, so you go home. How was the sermon? It was good.
All right, you go home from this. What happened in church today? Two people were struck dead by the pastor. Whoa.
So, that's sobriety. Just like with Achan and Judas Iscariot, they did not live to profit from their gain. Achan did not get to spend any of the spoils he had taken. Judas did not get to spend the thirty pieces of silver. Sapphire and Ananias, the wages of sin is death. It's very serious.
And again, I have to preface that because we all struggle. And that's not what is meant by that. It's the one that is bold-faced. When Ezekiel in chapter 18 talks about the one that sins will die, he's talking about idolaters that are amongst the Jews. He's not talking about every little thing. He said, if you're into idolatry, you're done. And if you come out, if you're a good person and you go into idolatry, you're going to be judged for that sin of the first commandment. Peter did not throw a stone at him, did not smote him with his hand.
He exercised the gift of discernment in the office and power of a prophet twice within three hours with the same result. If God slew religious deceivers today, there'd be nothing, there would be what is called, there would be no what is called the prosperity movement. As though, we're the ones, God wants us to prosper. God wants everybody to prosper in their service to him. And men and women have gone to their graves doing that, not trying to amass material wealth in this world. Verse six, and the young men arose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. It's kind of cute almost how that's said.
Like they were sitting outside, you know, just waiting and they arose and went and got him and buried him. And of course, that's just Luke reducing the story down, just getting to the point. We have no record of Jesus Christ slaying anyone at his first coming. But at his second coming, he will slay entire armies. The world needs to be told these things.
They shall go ahead and mock now. I wouldn't if I were in your place. Make no mistake, he is the lion and the lamb. Which one do you want him to be towards you? It's totally your choice. To the righteous, of course, he is the lamb who was slain and who lives forever.
And to the world, he will come as a lion. Verse seven, now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Now, I'm not trying to be funny when I say she's probably out shopping because they got this money. I mean, they got all this money.
What else you got? They're burning a hole in her pocket. And she's maybe looking for a new house, who knows? But that's my first thought. I can't, well, I can back it up.
No, I can't. Anyway, wherever she was, she now comes to the church and when she's invited to go see Peter, she's probably thinking I'm going to his office to receive accolades. He's going to tell me. He's going to give us a nickname like Barnabas. He's going to tell everybody how wonderful.
That's where she's probably going to the office thinking. How many people leave this world thinking, well, you know, I wasn't so bad of a guy. Yeah, but you rejected Christ. Yeah, he'll figure it out. He's already figured it out.
You're the one. Again, the severity of our message, the cross is an emblem of death or life, your choice. But verse eight goes on to tell us, but Peter answered, his response to her, tell me whether you sold the land for so much and she said yes for so much. So Peter gives her a chance to confess. He doesn't even bring up, oh, by the way, your husband's dead, which to me is, this is how the Holy Spirit wants us to examine this verse.
Basically, you can't read into it. She's in his office or before him because the first church didn't have a church building. And he gives her this chance. By omitting the fact that he's dead, the Holy Spirit is saying lying to the Holy Spirit comes before condolences. God is first. And it is sobering to read this story with thinking it through like this in verse nine, at least to me. 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. Well, the collusion that has brought this conclusion for her, Jesus gave his pastors authority to make field decisions. Now, I'm not saying he's given the, you know, this is how pastors, this is not what anybody would want. Peter certainly wouldn't have wanted this, but John's Gospel chapter 20. This is Jesus speaking to the apostles after he's risen. This is the chapter where he said, you know, tend my sheep and feed my lambs. And this is where Jesus was ordaining Peter and the apostles to care for the flock. We call them the apostles, but they were pastors. They were the ones that shepherded the flock. And James in Hebrews gets into this is a serious calling. So in John 20, Jesus said, if you forgive sins of any, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained. That's pretty big. He's saying, I'm giving you authority based on your knowledge of the Gospel and my imparting to you the knowledge of the Gospel, to move with it with authority in the flock.
And we're seeing it in its most extreme example. I saw they were lesser ones, but they were have the power now to say, yeah, you are saved. You've asked Christ into your life to be your Lord.
You've repented. And if they said that that's salvation, then who could argue with that? They have that authority. And then here when Peter says you lie to God and we have the evidence here, that is authority. And it can be difficult submitting to authority. All of us can struggle with that.
I'll open that up a little bit more. Verse 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. Again, it is contrary to the heart of a pastor to administer such extreme judgment. But dereliction of duty is far worse.
Peter knew that this is what he had to do. Again, back to this authority, because again, it's not always easy to submit to authority, but it helps a great deal when you have confidence in that authority. This is probably some of the differences between a little toddler who has the confidence in the parent and then the teenager who might get to the age where they now think they know more.
They're losing some of that confidence and then they grow and they find out the hard way and then they come back and say, you know what, I didn't know as much as I thought I knew. Hebrews chapter 13, three times in this chapter, Paul emphasizes those who rule over you. Now we hear that as Americans loving our freedom, we wait and what do you mean rule over me? What we mean in the house of God in the context of the scripture, not your lives. In fact, there's a name for it among some Christians. If you go to a church and the pastors are trying to dominate your life, tell you who you can marry, what car you can buy, what house and where you can live, that's called shepherding and it is abusive and it should not ever be tolerated. But that's not what's meant when Paul writes Hebrews 13 verse 7, obey those who rule over you and be submissive for they watch out for your souls as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief for that would be unprofitable for you. Well we see this in chapter 5 here.
Act it out completely. Peter rules over the church in this event and there's to be submission. He's watching out for souls. There are other people than Sapphira and Ananias. They're not the only players in this whole thing. He says let them do it with joy and not with grief.
This wasn't joy for Peter and it was unprofitable for Sapphira and Ananias. So the lessons, they're all over the place. You hear a sermon like this, this is what it says and then I make other comments and then the person goes back and reviews this and sorts it out and that's how theology is built. That's how we know what we believe. Not just someone says, here, the Trinity, believe this.
Okay. No, I need to see it in scripture myself. That's how our understanding of God is gained and matured. That's why you come to church with your Bibles and please don't point out, you said Moses' ark. I mean, you're going to misspeak from the pulpit.
You're going to say words, pronounce words wrong. It's just going to happen but the mature audience understands. Anyway, back to this. Mature or not, they understood that Peter had this authority. As with Moses, they knew that it was best to side with God and not with the people. Adam, Adam chose peace with his wife over peace with God. But that peace that he thought he was preserving in the home collapsed on both of them.
These are lessons for us. False notions of peace. Spurgeon says this, grace which does not make us hate sin is false grace. Their sin was religious pretense which grace could not cure. Grace could not fix this because they had long ago not paid attention. And the young men came in and found her dead. Well, they probably heard the thud.
Seriously, I mean, what was that? I don't know. Did these two suppose the church was unimportant to God?
Because untold multitudes, they do. Acts chapter 20, I've been quoting it or referencing it and I'll quote it. Therefore, Paul writing, Paul speaking to the leadership, the pastors of the church in Ephesus at a place called Miletus. He called them out.
He didn't want everybody to come. He just wanted the overseers of the church. He says in his preaching to them, therefore take heed to yourselves and to the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to shepherd the church of God which he purchased with his own blood.
The Latin word, we get the word pastor from the Latin word shepherd and that's where it is. That Acts chapter 20, how many of you don't answer, but how many of you are familiar with Acts chapter? It's one of the great chapters of the Bible. And how many Christians don't know what's in there? Paul said, I have not shunned or declared to you the entire council of God.
It is a powerful chapter and will probably take us two years to get through it. But anyway, when pastors implement church discipline or say no to some popular church goer, out from the woodwork come the blind advocates sometimes in support of things they don't even know what they're talking about. How could you do this?
And why would you do that? And here they come knowing little about the facts, the rights, the entitlements and the scripture. They did not do that to Peter. None of the church goers said, Peter, what are you thinking? How are we going to grow the church?
You keep killing people like this. Verse 11, so great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things and nobody apologized. Listen, when a church gets to a place where it's existing to recruit people to the church, it doesn't understand who she is. We're not looking to recruit anybody to the church.
We're looking to reach people with Christ. Where they go to church and worship, that belongs to God unless God brings it to us and say a person is going to, you know, a Mormon thinking a Mormon church is Christian. Then we have the right to say, you need to get out of there. That is not a church.
Then what establishes the church is who they say Christ is. So this has everyone's attention. Proverbs 13, 15, the way of the transgressor is hard.
And everybody's thinking about that. Where are those who would say, Peter, how dare you judge anyone? You denied Christ three times. Nobody stands up and says that to Peter. Would you after what he just did? Or what about those, well, God knows my heart.
Who are you to judge me? Well, evidently, he is God's man. Again, the church, the ecclesia, this word has a Gentile and a Jewish ancestry that belongs to the word. It means something. And I cringe when I hear somebody refer to the church as a campus.
I know I've said this before. Or the sanctuary as an auditorium. No, schools have auditoriums.
Churches have sanctuaries. Schools have lecterns. Churches have pulpits. They have one pulpit. There's not a pulpit for people who are left-handed and one for those who are right-handed. There's one pulpit. There's one's thus saith the Lord point of contact as appointed by the Lord. And a lot of Christians, they have a big problem with this.
And I don't know why. It is the church. It is special to God.
There's nothing like it on earth. And all of these little upshoot paraministries and stuff, they take away from the church. They don't build it up.
They do damage to it. Instead of rallying together and saying, we have got your back. We are in this with you. No, they want this stuff on the side, and they want to take from the church the resources. Paul says, I don't build on another man's foundation. I don't do it.
And nor should we. And that's not the only place. Yeah, Absalom at the gate. What did Absalom at the gate do?
He stole the hearts of the people. I'm a little excited about this because over 30 years, I've been dealing with this stuff. Not so bad in Virginia. There have been some.
In New York, it was a lot. Well, anyway, guys would go to church and steal congregations to build their own. Absalom stole the hearts of the people. Why? Because they don't understand the church. I don't think they're always up to snow good. I think they just don't know. They don't know what their Bible says.
That's why the Lord has given some to be pastor-teachers of the flock. Anyway, the ecclesia, the Greek for the Gentiles, the non-believing Gentiles, they used this word to describe a city of Rome. And we'll get to that in chapter 19, verse 32. It was the citizens, the ecclesia. It was nothing to do with believers. They were unbelievers. In the Septuagint, which is the Jewish translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew into the Greek, there, the assembly of the Lord, the ecclesia of the Lord, the righteous Jewish people. So this word is a special word when it finds its way to the church. The world has its meaning for those who are called out. The righteous Jews had their meaning, which we have embraced, and we are the separated ones. How it got the word church from ecclesia is kyrios, lordship, the Lord Jesus Christ. The word church means the Lord. It is His. And you and I should be very particular about this thing. How about if somebody just started walking up to you and calling you, say, whatever your name is, and just gave you a name.
Alatunje. Just calling you that. If you didn't like the name, you'd be pretty upset with it, because the name means something. And the church, the church should be the same way.
Don't you go slapping on us some name. These names, the ecclesia, the kyrios, they are blood bought by Christ and His martyrs. Upon all who heard these things, it says, we citizens of the kingdom, upon all those who heard these things, this separated the curious people from the serious people. Look at verse 13 of Acts chapter 5.
Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly after this event. Luke throws that in later, because we get to healing after we get to this slaying. We get to the healing in the next part. But this filtered the, you know, we get people that say, I'm a believer. Pardon me, but don't convict me. Well, that's not Christianity. If you're in blatant sin, there's going to be conviction. And anyone listening who supposes that the church must appease, you don't understand. The church does not appease. The church heralds, it announces, it does it in love and kindness, but it's very firm. This we have from Jesus Christ.
Don't be afraid of it. Don't think we're going to go mad on you and start violating your, and disrespecting. When someone says, okay, I'm leaving the church, we respect them for that. Not necessarily for that, but we respect their choice. We don't run in back of the, no, come back, wait, we've changed everything.
Okay, we'll fix that. No, we respect their choice as adults. And some of them go, they never even called me.
Well, why should they? You made the choice as an adult. You just wanted a chance to let them have it.
That's what that was. Let me give you a piece of my mind. No, you need the piece you have. Anyway, it is, again, the responsibility of a visitor, of one who invites. We have responsibilities. And don't just take it lightly. Oh, I invited everybody to church.
Okay. If you invite them to this church, you might want to prep them first. They're not going to come, they may not have come in touch with a church like this before. Listen, when he gets to sin, he's not going to pull punches.
Should he? Do you want a pastor like this? Ooh, there's a bad word. Let's not use that one. Let's downsize it.
Anyway, I'm about out of time. But Satan agitates. He stirs up attendees.
He did this with Sapphire and Ananias. And if he can, he will do it with you and with me. And may I, your pastor, never budge from what God has instructed me to do to what you tell me to do as far as the house of God.
I get my orders from him. This is not dictatorship. This is pastoring. This is leading the flock. If you're leading the flock, then you're the pastor.
You have it upside down. This is God-ordained. I wanted Chuck Smith to be Chuck Smith. I did not want to go to him, for those of you who don't know, he's the pastor of us Calvary pastors. We didn't go to him and say, Chuck, you know, you need to change this, and you need to do this. And I think it is like when I would go to the conferences and see him, I'd just shake his hand and say, thank you, sir. I would not have known this type of pastoring had it not been for him.
This church is modeled after the old-schooled Costa Mesa Calvary Chapel, not the present one. I like it. I think it's right. I can refer you to Hebrews 13, 7, Hebrews 13, 14, and Hebrews 13, 17, to get a better understanding that we are not dictators, but we don't appease. And it doesn't work well that way. Anyhow, in closing this up, God makes his point in a way no one forgets it. Matthew chapter 15, verse 18, Jesus said, these people, quoting Isaiah the prophet, draw near me with their mouth, honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Well, that's my cue to not be those people. That's your cue to not be the hypocrite, the actor, but to be myself. Christianity is a skill.
You've got to work it to learn it. Let's pray. Our Father, from the days of Nadab and Abihu, through the prophet Elijah, you have made it clear that the authority belongs to you and that there are those moments when it comes down to severe or extreme discipline. And these things are avoidable.
They're very avoidable. We thank you that they're very much so. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at crossreferenceradio.com or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Acts, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
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