The joy of the Church’s first few weeks of life is interrupted by two shocking deaths, as God sends a clear message to His Church about the seriousness of lying and hypocrisy.
The first word of chapter five is the word, but the idea is that what we are about to read stands in contrast to that which preceded it in this instance. The final two verses of Acts four which read joseph, a levite from Cyprus by birth, the one the apostles called Barnabas, which is translated Son of Encouragement, sold a field he owned, brought the money and laid it at the apostle's feet. In our previous study, we talked about the incredible move of God wherein the Holy Spirit stirred the hearts of believers in the new Church to sell property and give the proceeds to the apostles so they could meet the needs of the brethren, especially the large number of men and women who were relocating their whole lives to Jerusalem to be part of what God was doing. Barnabas was a man of sincerity and devotion. He was all in on following Jesus.
And so when the Holy Spirit prompted him to sell a field he owned and give all the money to the Church, he obeyed, in contrast to the actions and character of Barnabas in chapter four, chapter five tells us but a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphire, sold a piece of property. However, he kept back part of the proceeds with his wife's knowledge and brought a portion of it and laid it at the apostle's feet. The rest of the text will make it clear that Ananias presented the money to the apostles as though it were all of the money he had made by selling that piece of property. Anias and safari were likely among the wealthier demographic of the Church and they wanted to give the appearance that they were part of the most devoted group of the Church who were obeying the Holy Spirit's call to be radically generous in this special season of Church history. So write this down and we'll keep plugging away here.
But notice first Ananias and Sapphire wanted to be admired among the brethren for their devotion to Jesus. They wanted to be admired among the brethren for their devotion to Jesus. They wanted the spiritual prestige of being viewed among the Church's most devout members. But they didn't want to have to pay full price. They didn't want to be all in.
They wanted to be 70% in. And so the solution they came up with was to sell the piece of property, keep some of the proceeds for themselves, and give the rest to the apostles, along with a simple lie that they were giving all the proceeds, the full proceeds from the sale of their piece of property. After all, nobody knew how much they had sold it for. The Church would still be getting a bunch of money from them. So it's a win win.
But things began unraveling fast when the Holy Spirit supernaturally revealed to Peter what they had done. Verse three Ananias, Peter asked, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy spirit? Would you underline lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? Can you imagine the moment? You can.
If you've ever been caught in a lie for which there was no escape, you'd been completely exposed and this was happening likely in front of the whole church. As we read this, it becomes clear that Ananias and Safara and perhaps us too, did not grasp the seriousness of what they were doing. Peter tells them their plan came from Satan, and what makes it so heinous and serious is that they are lying to the Holy Spirit when we give to the Lord. I don't know if you know this, but the Lord knows what we're giving. Do you know that?
He knows what percentage of our income it is. He knows whether it's in an inconsequential amount for us, an inconvenient amount for us, or a sacrificial amount. He knows because he's God. And when we use our words and actions to present ourselves to our brothers and sisters in a way that is fraudulent, god's word says we're not only lying to them, but we're also lying to the Holy Spirit. I want to say that again because it's so important.
When we use our words and actions to present ourselves to our brothers and sisters in a way that is fraudulent, god's word says we're not only lying to them, we are lying to the Holy Spirit. The church is the bride of Christ. Therefore, sins against the church, sins against the brethren are also sins against God. If you sin against my wife, you've sinned against me. If you sinned against me, you've sinned against my wife.
Anias and Sapphire were pretending to be something they were not. They were ending to be more righteous than they really were. They were ending to be more devout when they really were. It was the sin of hypocrisy, which God hates. He hates it.
Write this down. Ananias and Safari were guilty of hypocrisy and lying to the brethren and God. They were guilty of hypocrisy and lying to the brethren and God. The one who doesn't claim to be a Jesus follower cannot be guilty of this type of hypocrisy. Only those who claim to be Jesus followers and present themselves as being more devout than they really are can be guilty of the type of hypocrisy that Jesus hates.
Jesus will never accuse a non believer of being a hypocrite. They can't be a hypocrite because they're not claiming to be a believer. They're not claiming to be a Jesus follower. God feels so strongly about this that he put it in the Ten Commandments commanding Israel do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses his name. The King James Version famously states that as thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.
Contrary to popular belief, it's not about swearing. It's not about cussing. It is about using the name of the Lord to identify yourself in our day and age.
I am a Christ follower. I'm taking the name of the Lord is my identity, but I'm taking it in vain when I don't actually allow the Lord to have authority over my life. I'm identifying myself with the name of the Lord, but I'm not actually serving him as Lord. It's hypocrisy that defames the name of the Lord. It damages the reputation of God because I take his name, but I refuse to follow and serve the One whose name I have taken.
Hypocrisy among believers defames the name of the Lord. There's a term called stolen valor that is used when people fraudulently present themselves as active or former military members. People do this because they want the admiration many people feel toward military veterans, but they didn't want to actually pay the price to be in the armed services. But there can also be degrees of stolen valor. A former Marine might pretend he was a Navy Seal.
A former infantryman might pretend he was a Ranger or a sniper or some other Special Forces contingent. The hypocrisy God hates is the spiritual equivalent of stolen valor. It happens when people take the title of Christian oh yeah, I'm a Christian, but don't honor the title by living under the authority of Christ and laying down their lives to follow and serve Him. It can happen in a case like Ananias and Sapphire where people want to be viewed as being all in on following Jesus. They want to be part of the community of people who are all in.
I want to hang out with people who are all in. I want to be part of conversations among people who are all in, but I don't actually want to pay the price to be all in. Jesus repeatedly called out the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his day because they pretended to be devoted to God, but they were not actually submitted to Him as God. They were abusing God's law and twisting it to create power and wealth for themselves. And Jesus' warnings included that hell would be populated by hypocrites.
God hates hypocrisy because, as I just mentioned, it defames Him. It misrepresents Him and his character to the world. Another tragic side effect of hypocrisy - write this down - is that it resists the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Hypocrisy resists the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Once you turn your life over to God, are spiritually regenerated, and become part of his family, part of his kingdom, his primary goal for your life becomes your sanctification.
That's the theological term for the work the Holy Spirit is always doing in the lives of believers, with one goal in mind to make us more like Jesus. That's the Holy Spirit's agenda in our lives. He's doing it twenty-four seven, and it's sanctification. That's what God wants for you. That's what God wants for me.
It's the best thing for us because it's the most fulfilling version of yourself. You can be the version that's most like Jesus, and it's the version of us that will benefit us for all eternity because it will gain us the most possible eternal rewards and greater trust and assignments in the ages to come as we serve with Jesus. But when we adopt a posture of hypocrisy, we pretend to be more sanctified than we really are, and we quickly convince ourselves that we're more sanctified than we really are. We delude ourselves. And so, when the Holy Spirit calls us to be sanctified through the Scriptures, through the teaching of God's Word, through our brothers and sisters, we dismiss those invitations and tell ourselves that's for someone else, that's not for me, I'm past that.
I don't struggle with that. I don't need to change in that area. I should tell so and so about that because they need to hear that. They really need to take it to heart. We grow and mature much faster when we are willing to be honest about the areas where we need to grow and mature because we'll recognize our need to receive help, instruction, and correction in those areas.
Make a note of that. It's so important. I wanted to say it again. We grow and mature much faster when we're willing to be honest about the areas where we need to grow and mature because we will recognize our need to receive help, instruction, and correction in those areas. Hypocrisy misrepresents God.
It resists the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and it also harms the church it produces men and women who aren't all in on following Jesus, but publicly present themselves as though they are. And this is incredibly harmful and confusing to new believers and those who are young in the faith because they're supposed to be surrounded in the church by examples of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. But instead, hypocrisy causes them to encounter supposedly mature Christians, supposedly mature believers who still skip church because they're feeling down, or skip church when they get a more attractive social offer. They're surrounded by supposedly mature believers who don't surf faithfully. Let me be really specific with this one, who skip home groups, not because they're busy, not because they're at work, they just have no interest in investing in anybody else.
It's confusing when new and young believers come to church and encounter supposedly mature Christians who don't give biblically, don't refuse to honor God sorry, refuse to honor God in the area of sexual purity, and are basically lukewarm about coveting Jesus. That's confusing to people in the church who are doing their best to learn what it means to obey Jesus. Hypocrisy harms the church. Write this down hypocrisy harms the church by misrepresenting what it looks like to follow and obey Jesus, misrepresenting what it looks like to follow and obey Jesus. Lukewarm Christianity.
Begets Lukewarm Christianity. Please understand. I know we're all in different places in our journey of sanctification. We're all in process. None of us are perfect.
And it's not being imperfect that makes someone a hypocrite. What makes someone a hypocrite is presenting yourself as being more devout than you really are, presenting yourself as being more sanctified than you really are. Being devout is about obeying Jesus as best you know how. Where you are right now. That's what it means to be devout.
Being a hypocrite is knowing what Jesus wants you to do, refusing to obey him, but wanting people to view you as though you are faithfully obeying him. I want to be perceived as an all in Jesus follower, but I know I'm not that's hypocrisy. Hypocrisy misrepresents. God resists the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and harms the church. Suffice to say, it's a big deal and Jesus does not want it in his church.
This text also reminds us that the Holy Spirit is nothing like the force from Star Wars. The Holy Spirit is not an energy or a force at all. The Holy Spirit is a person. The Holy Spirit is not an it. The Holy Spirit is a he that's his preferred pronoun.
Peter tells Anonias that he's lied to the Holy Spirit, and according to Ephesians 420, we can grieve the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, whose form is Spirit. He does not have a material body, and he indwells every believer, including you and me. He is a person, the third person of the Trinity. Peter tells Ananias that Satan has filled his heart and motivated him to lie.
This is not to say that Ananias has become possessed by Satan, for such a thing is impossible for any believer. The heart referred to here was considered by those at the time to be the seat of one's emotions, where emotions flow from, where they're processed, where they're stirred up, and even when we're saved, it's possible for Satan to gain control over our emotions. I won't ask you to raise your hand if you know from experience this is true. How many of us, I wonder, I could go for a drive with, and it would become quickly evident that Satan can gain control over our emotions. Preaching to myself too here.
This is why Ephesians 1215 tells us to make sure that no root of bitterness springs up among the members of the church. It's why Jesus taught, if you're offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar first. Go and be reconciled with your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. It's why Paul told the Ephesians, don't let the sun go down on your anger, and don't give the devil an opportunity. The point in all those verses is that Satan can stir up something in our emotions like bitterness, and if we don't deal with it biblically, it can take root and produce bad fruit in the form of bad actions.
Satan tempted Ananias and Safara with a plan. They chose to linger on that idea rather than dismiss it. Then it took root in their hearts, ending them to embrace the idea, which then produced the bad fruit of hypocrisy and deceit in their lives. This is why temptations, bitterness, anger, et cetera must be dealt with in a timely manner by the believer. The more time we spend in the dark, the more comfortable we become in it.
The more time we spend in the dark, the more comfortable we become in it. When speaking about the money, the proceeds of the land, peter asks Ananias three rhetorical questions. Verse four wasn't it yours while you possessed it? And after it was sold, wasn't it at your disposal? Now, don't miss what Peter says here, because his words make it clear that even at this time the church believed in the private ownership of property and wealth.
Peter says, Wasn't it yours while you possessed it? It's a rhetorical question, implying, yes, it was yours while you possessed it. It didn't belong to the church. And then Peter says, and after it was sold, wasn't it at your disposal? In other words, after you sold the field, Ananias, the money was still yours.
It belonged to you. If Ananias and Sapphire had not sold their property, they would not have been in sin. If they had sold it, but given only a portion of the money, they would not have been in sin. The Holy Spirit sometimes prompts us with an opportunity to do a good work, and if we don't accept that opportunity, we're not necessarily in sin. We just miss out on the opportunity.
We miss out on the joy of being used by the Lord. We miss out on the chance to grow in our faith, and we miss out on an opportunity to store up treasure in heaven. That seems to be the idea that Peter is alluding to with these rhetorical questions to Ananias. I also want us to notice that Peter's questions make it clear again. The church was not practicing some form of communism or hypersocialism.
All financial giving in the early Church, as it is in the Church today, was voluntary. Men and women were stirred to radical generosity by the Holy Spirit, and they obeyed them. They obeyed him. Their sin was not that they didn't give all the money. Paul would later write in two Corinthians nine seven each person should do as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver.
Peter saying, Nobody made you give anything, Ananias. You could have kept all the money if the truth is that you didn't really want to give it. Or you could have said, here's half the money. That would have been fine too. But instead you chose to lie to the Holy Spirit.
That's the issue. Why is it that you plan this thing in your heart underline this? What a line. You have not lied to people, but to God. You've lied to God.
They willfully and intentionally tried to deceive the apostles and the Church body and therefore the Holy Spirit. Sins against the body of Christ are sins against Christ. Make a note of this. When we sin against God's, people, we sin against God. When we sin against God's, people, we sin against God.
This is the root theology and logic behind the New Testament's exhortations toward us to honor one another. This is the idea. When we're honoring one another, we are honoring Jesus. The way that we treat one another is the way we are treating Jesus. That's the heart behind these New Testament commands to love one another as we treat one another.
Jesus says, "That's the way you're treating me. When you mislead your brothers and sisters, you're trying to mislead me. You're trying to deceive me." In verse three, Peter told Ananias he had lied to the Holy Spirit. And then here in verse four, he tells Ananias you've not lied to people, but to God.
It's a clear statement that the Holy Spirit is who God. Peter's statements in verses three and verse four make it clear the Holy Spirit is God. Verse five when he that's Ananias heard these words, Ananias dropped dead, and a great fear came on all who heard. The young man got up, wrapped his body, carried him out, and buried him. About 3 hours later, his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
Tell me, Peter asked her, did you sell the land for this price? In other words, Saphira, is this all the money from the sale of the piece of property? Peter gives her one last chance to repent and tell the truth. Yes, she said, for that price. Then Peter said to her, why did you agree 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. Instantly, she dropped dead at his feet. When the young men came in, they found her dead, carried her out, and buried her beside her husband. Early on, as the Church was in her infancy, the Lord wanted to impress upon them the seriousness of deception, lying and hypocrisy. This was Jesus telling His Church we are not playing games here.
We are not playing games here. His message was understood by the Church. As verse eleven tells us, then great fear would you underline fear came on the whole Church and on all who heard these things. Both David and his son Solomon wrote that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fear tells us how to treat and interact with objects, with nature, with animals, with people, and yes, even with God.
For example, a healthy fear based on reality and understanding tells us how we should interact with guns, the ocean, bears, the police and God. You don't interact with a real gun the way you interact with a Nerf gun. You don't interact with the ocean when it has pounding ten-foot waves and an undertow the same way you interact with a six-inch deep river. You don't interact with a bear the same way you interact with a domesticated cat. I trust the bear more, though.
You don't interact with the police the same way you inerrant with one of your bros. And you don't interact with God the way you interact with a life coach or somebody who's running a community social group. The incarnate Jesus coming to the Earth as a man did not reduce the glory of Jesus one iota. If anything, he is somehow even more powerful and more glorious after the resurrection. And this incident with Ananias and Sapphire sent a message to the whole church that they should not forget who the head of the church is.
The head of the church is Jesus, and he is God. He is the living and almighty God, and he's holy. The blood of Jesus has given us access to God by making us righteous, not by reducing his righteousness or bringing his glory down to our level or his power to our level. He has raised us up to be seated with Him in heavenly places. He has not diminished at all.
When we're casual about obeying Jesus, when we know what God wants but we say no, I'll think about it when we treat sin as though it's not a big deal, we reveal that we do not fear the Lord, and we lack understanding, we lack wisdom. When we fail to display a healthy fear of the Lord, it reveals that we do not understand who he really is or what he's done. If any part of you is thinking, "Calm down, Jeff." let me lovingly remind us why Jesus was and is so serious about sin in his church. Jesus is so serious about sin in his church because he suffered and died to pay for the sins of his church. He has every right to take it seriously and demand that we do so.
And I know that when we fall into sin, or let's just be honest, willingly walk straight into sin, we think we need a loving arm around the shoulder and a gentle word of correction or encouragement. And much of the time that's true. But sometimes we walk into sin with such a cavalier attitude, with seemingly no appreciation of what it cost Jesus to pay for our sins, no appreciation of the seriousness of sin. And in those moments, what we sometimes need is a brother or sister to look us in the eye and say, don't you fear God? Don't you fear God.
Paul said as much when he wrote to the Galatians giving them this exhortation do not be deceived. God is not mocked for whatever a person sows, he will also reap because the one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh. But the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. Then great fear came on the whole church and all who heard these things. And it was a good thing, because a church that fears the Lord is a healthy church.
A church that fears the Lord is a wise church. And when we get to Acts Nine, we'll read this the church throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria had peace and was strengthened living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit. It increased in numbers. That's the goal to live in the fear of the Lord and live encouraged by the Holy Spirit. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, may the Lord grip us with a right and healthy fear of Him, that we might interact with Him as we should, that we might keep ourselves from sin and yield to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Having a right fear of the Lord, not taking him lightly. Were Ananias and sapphirea believers. I think they were grammatically. Acts 432 includes them among the entire group of those who believed. Peter implies they had a relationship with the Holy Spirit and shouldn't have lied to him.
If they weren't believers, it wouldn't have served as a lesson to the church the way it did. Based on Scripture, God will sometimes end the life of a believer prematurely if their witness becomes too damaging to the church and the reputation of Jesus. We see that here with Ananias and Safari and we see Paul writing about it in one Corinthians Eleven where he explains to the corinthians that some of their brethren have died because they were treating communion with contempt by taking it in an unworthy manner.
Sometimes Jesus will look down at a believer who is giving the name of Jesus such a bad reputation and doing so much harm among the brethren. And Jesus will say, I'm doing you a solid and I'm just bringing you home right now. Bringing you home right now. He will do it. A study worth looking into is the parallels between Ananias and Sapphire here in Acts chapter five.
And the sin of Aiken in Joshua, chapter seven. In Joshua, God's in the process of building the nation of Israel, a people set apart for him in Acts, Jesus is in the process of building his church, a people set apart for him in Joshua, aiken is part of Israel in Acts and in Israel and safari are part of the church. In Joshua, Aiken lied to the Lord and kept some gold and silver for himself in Acts and in ISIS. And the safari lied to the Lord and kept some of the money for themselves. In Joshua Amen is killed by Israel at God's command.
In acts and injury safari are killed by God himself. I believe both Aiken and Ananias and Safari were believers, but their sin was so serious and so damaging to the community of faith that God had to deal with it to send a message to everyone else about how serious it was and is to be part of the family of God. I also think that God intervened so dramatically during the decades of the early church because sickness and disease are much more dangerous early in life. They can alter the trajectory of a child's development significantly. And if deceit and hypocrisy have been allowed to fester in the church during the first few weeks of her life, the consequences would have been devastating for her spiritual health.
Some of us may be guilty of wanting to be perceived as more devout than we truly are. And some of us might say, well, that's not me. I'm not looking for any spiritual glory or prestige or admiration. But there's a form of hypocrisy that isn't marked by deceitful claims or words. It's marked by silence.
And I think this form of hypocrisy is far more prevalent than the other. Sometimes we stay silent about a struggle we're having or a sin we're battling, or we simply share nothing with anyone about how we're really doing. We know full well that by doing so, by withholding that information, they will assume we're doing far better than we really are. It's easy to use our silence to present a version of ourselves to our brothers and sisters that is not remotely truthful. As I said, I think far more of us struggle with this form of hypocrisy than the other.
And so I want to exhort us. I want to encourage us to not walk in silent hypocrisy. There are a few practical ways we can instead move toward honesty and authenticity in our lives and as the brothers and sisters of Christ. Some ideas I want to share with you. Number one is that we all need to be in the habit of confessing our sins to the Lord.
Do you know this? We need to be in the habit of confessing our sins to the Lord. One John One Nine tells us if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We should in reality, do it daily. Daily we have a chance to do it every time we take communion here at church.
And confessing our sins is so important because it reminds us how much we need the forgiveness of Jesus, how lost we would be without it confessing our sins. It also keeps us humble because it keeps us from developing a view of ourselves that is not in line with reality. It stops us from taking our sin lightly. Secondly, we can ask for prayer when we're struggling with. Something, just a difficult burden or a sin, any weight that we're carrying.
How many of us come to church with a burden weighing on us? Smile, tell everybody we're doing fine, and then leave without ever mentioning anything to anyone.
Can I suggest to you that's a form of hypocrisy? It's a form of hypocrisy. Instead, grab me or BJ or any mature believer here. Ask them to pray with you after the service. I'm having a hard time with something.
I'm having a hard time with this. Would you pray for me? I'm having a hard time with this sin issue. Would you pray for me? Third idea when we're in home groups and we're sharing about how our week went, when we're taking prayer requests, it's a little out there, but be honest.
Be honest. If you've had a rough week, share that. You don't have to share every detail. I probably don't want to hear every detail, but you can share something. You can share something if you have a prayer need, how about you share it as though prayer actually does something?
Don't use silence to pretend that you're fine. When we do that, we're misleading our brothers and sisters, and we know it. We know it. We're doing it on purpose with our silence. Fourth idea.
Perhaps the most radical step is found in James 516, where he writes, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. When you study the context of that verse, what you find is that James is telling his readers that there's sometimes a healing the Lord wants to do, a deliverance he wants to provide that will be hindered by our unconfessed sin. And so James says, confess your sins to one another so that you can be healed. There's healing, there's deliverance, catharsis rest.
Rejuvenation that the Lord desires to give some of us, but we refuse to confess our need and we refuse to confess our sin, and so we miss out. Having people think that you're doing fine when you're really not is not worth more than the help and the hope that the Holy Spirit can provide. We say it again having people think you're fine when you're not is not worth more than the hope and hope that the Holy Spirit can provide. Some of us need to make a decision to choose the Spirit right now, because we're currently choosing the mask instead. I'm fine.
I'm good. Thanks for asking.
Lest we judge Ananias and Sapphire too harshly. I was talking with Kyle about this before the service that the more time you spend in the words more years I have following the Lord, the less often I read people in Scripture doing stupid stuff and go, what an idiot, the more I find myself going, that's relatable. Very relatable. Imagine if God was still in the habit of striking dead believers who were hypocritical. I think our worship times would be awfully quiet because we'd be afraid to sing most of the song lyrics.
Somebody would be singing. All I want is all you are. Bam, dead god's like. I can list 37 other things that you really, really want. There's that jet ski.
There's that new SUV. I can Go on. Why are you lying to me? Why are you doing that?
We should be very grateful for the grace of God toward us, but the presence of God's grace doesn't make sin any less serious. It doesn't make it any less devastating. So let's ask the Lord to help us not be hypocrites. Let's ask the Holy Spirit to shine a light on any area of our lives where we're currently walking in hypocrisy. And then let's repent and do whatever we need to do to start walking in truth and integrity in that area instead of hypocrisy.
But when I pray for that in a couple of minutes, don't pray with me and agree with me if you don't mean it. Don't amen my prayer if you don't actually want to obey Jesus in every area of your life, because if you're agreeing with me in amening but you don't really want to do it, then you're just being a hypocrite. You're just being a hypocrite. Take communion at some point in the coming time of worship and as you do, confess your sins to the Lord. Be specific, be specific.
Pray. Lord, I should not have done those things. They are sins and I don't want to do them. Please help me not to do them. And thank you for forgiving me.
And if you realize there's someone you need to apologize to or go ask forgiveness from, do it ASAP. Don't be a hypocrite. Do it ASAP. I'm going to ask the worship team to come up. If you're carrying a burden, ask someone to pray with you.
BJ and Jess are going to be at the front over there worshipping, and you can just walk up to them. If they're worshiping, just put a hand on their shoulder. It's okay. And ask one of them to pray for you. Or ask someone after the service.
But listen, don't do this, don't do this. Don't say, I'll ask someone after the service knowing full well when we get to the end of the service, you're going to go, well, it seems like everyone's busy. I guess I'll just not do it now. If you're going to do it after the service, you do not leave till you keep your word to God and you find someone and you say, I need you to pray with me. I need you to pray with me.
Resolve to be honest in your home group or pipeline group this fall. Don't show up every Wednesday and lie to your brothers and sisters. Don't be a hypocrite. And lastly, if you're carrying a burden but you know in your spirit right now, the Holy Spirit is telling you that there's a sin in the way of the Holy Spirit bringing healing to your life, and you need to confess that sin to someone. Again, BJ and Jess will be in the front.
They'll be available after the service. So will I. Come and talk to us. It's always in confidence. We're not here to embarrass you or anything like that.
We're just here to listen, here to pray with you and believe with you in faith that the Lord has a healing he wants to do in your life. Honesty begets honesty. Authenticity begets authenticity. I pray that the Lord would help us to grow in this area, that we might become a church that regularly experiences the healing and delivering power of the Holy Spirit in even greater ways, that our sin and our hypocrisy would not hinder the great things that the Holy Spirit wants to do and the freedom he wants to bring to our lives. I'm committed to doing my part to help that happen.
I pray that you're committed to doing your part too, because if you are and if we are, collectively, we will see the hand of God move in such a mighty way in our lives, in our marriages, in our families, and in our churches. But hypocrisy will hinder that. It will hinder that. So let's resolve to leave it behind. Let's resolve to leave it behind.
When you pray with Me, by your head and close your eyes, lord, thank you for Your word, and thank you for revealing to us clearly just how serious the sins of deception and hypocrisy are. And Lord, Lord, you know us you know our issues. You know our insecurities. You know that many of us are scared to let somebody know we're not doing well, to confess where we've fallen or just willingly walked into sin and are now ensnared. Lord, help us not to be hypocrites.
Holy Spirit, I pray that you would shine a light right now on everyone who sincerely desires to follow you. And if there's any area of our lives where we're walking in hypocrisy, Lord, reveal it to us that we might repent, that we might confess it, that we might be healed of it, delivered from it, and set free from it to walk in truth after You, Jesus and Lord, we ask again, would you fill us with a healthy fear of you? Might we be wise in the truest sense of the word. Understanding just a little bit of who you are. How awesome and worthy and mighty you are.
And how incredible it is that we are a people in Your presence. In Your midst. That we're able to sing about you and to you. To approach you as a father. Not because your glory has been diminished in any way by the work of Jesus on the cross.
But because You've robed us in the righteousness of Your Son. Jesus. That we might be in your presence. You've raised us up in Christ to be seated with him in heavenly places. You have not diminished.
You are an awesome and a holy God. More than we could possibly understand this side of eternity.