You can’t Outwit the Omniscience of God — The Story of Superficial Saints Exposed!

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Sometimes when you’re reading through God’s Word you come across something and it makes you wonder… “Why did God want this in here? Why did I need to read this? What was the point of that passage?” And it makes you stop and think about the passage and ponder exactly why it’s there.
Then, there are other times when you read a passage and you’re like… “Yikes, I know exactly why that’s there! Don’t let me make that mistake!” Right?
Well the passage before us this morning is of the latter sort. There is no denying why it’s here and the meaning behind it.
I mean the scripture we are about to study could have it’s own front page in the Smithville review!
***“Superficial Saints Exposed!”***
I can just see it now!
The reality is, there’s no denying why the passage before us this morning is here.
It’s here for us to learn from and the dire warning that’s contained therein!
As we work our way through the passage this morning there are some lessons I hope we can all take away from it.
There’s a lesson in pride vs. humility.
There’s the lesson of a genuine heart vs. a superficial heart.
There’s a lesson to be learned about seeking status in our society vs. seeking to satisfy the Holy Spirit.
This morning we are going to look at the story of some superficial Saints, and we are going to see the severity of choosing status among men over the satisfaction of God.
The overwhelming theme behind this passage is clearly seen in another passage of scripture from the Old Testament in the Book of Jeremiah and I’d like to use these verses as a springboard into our message today.
Jeremiah 17:5–10 KJV 1900
5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. 6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. 7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
This morning I don’t know your hearts. All I can see is what you allow me to…what’s on the outside.
But there is One, who sits high and looks low, His name is Jehovah and He can see to the very core of every person sitting here this morning.
He knows your heart. He knows your mind; your motives; what stirs the spirit lying deep inside of you.
He knows if you’re relationship with Him is sincere or whether it’s only a superficial relationship.
He knows whether or not you have truly trusted in His Son or if you are superficially serving Him.
This morning we’re going to look at the story of a couple of superficial saints who thought they were going to pull one over on God’s people…what they left out of the equation was God Himself.
Please don’t make the same mistake!
The title of today’s message… “You can’t Outwit the Omniscience of God.”
Acts 5 Verse 1 if you have it would you say…Amen.

The Characters of our Story(Vs. 1a)

The first thing I want us to take a look at this morning are the characters of our story.
Notice how the chapter opens… “But”.
Now, keep in mind that in the original scroll or manuscript written by Dr. Luke would not have been split up into chapters like we have today.
Paragraphs possibly but not chapters. So, this section would have more than likely simply been a continuation of Chapter four’s ending.
And in order to make sure we don’t miss anything and to understand why the “But”, we must back up and quickly recap where we left off last week.
If you will remember, the disciples had just gotten off with a warning from the Sanhedrin council for preaching about Jesus.
And when they were set free, they went home and began to tell all the other followers of Christ what exactly had happened.
And if you will remember, they all began to pray in one accord and the place began to shake and the Bible says they were filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak the word of God with boldness and the Bible says in...
Acts 4:32 KJV 1900
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
God was moving in a mighty way amongst the newly formed Church and people were of one heart and one soul!
They were focused on the Kingdom and that was the only thing on their mind!
So much so, that some of the believers who owned land or houses went and sold their possessions and brought the money to be distributed amongst the Saints and the Bible says that “not a single person lacked anything and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”
Then, the Bible uses one of these believers “as an example” to show us what was taking place.
His name was Joses but his nickname was Barnabas which means “Son of Encouragement.”
This man Barnabas had been “an example” to others. He was an encouragement to the people trusting God with all that he had.
He was genuine in his dealings.
He was sincere in his desire to serve the Lord.
Ans He demonstrated humility in his actions towards God.
Barnabas set the stage if you will for all who followed his lead.
Now, this sets the stage for where we pick up this morning.
Barnabas set the bar pretty high, right?
There it is!
Anytime you see the word “but” it’s there to contrast something, right?
John Phillips said — The “buts” in the Bible are the hinges on which great doors swing. They always mark a decisive change in the story.
***But…there was a certain man named Ananias with Sapphira his wife.***
Now, let’s just stop right here for a few brief moments and I really want you to get your mind wrapped around the situation at hand.
The Church of God is in full force now!
The Saints of God are on fire for God and the Spirit of God is moving in a mighty way!
People are getting saved and coming to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
Miracles are taking place.
Great gatherings are happening!
The Church is marching forward against the gates of hell and there was nothing anyone or anything could do to stop it!
I mean this is where you want to be, Amen!
But…it wouldn’t stop someone from trying!
John Phillips — Thus far the church triumphant had been marching forward in victory. Satan was unable to conquer it, so next he tried to corrupt it.
Which brings us to the couple before us here…Ananias and Sapphira.
And listen, on the outside this couple seemed to have it going on!
I’ve told you all how here lately I’ve had this thing about looking up people in the Bible’s names and how it can sometimes give you some insight into just exactly who you’re reading about, right?
Well let’s see if we can’t get a little deeper insight into just exactly who these folks…Ananias and Sapphira...are.
The name Ananias means… “whom Jehovah has graciously given.”
Now, when I read that I see a man whose parents may have had trouble having children or parents who were sincere in their walk with the Lord and knew that this child was a blessing from God above.
They were jumping for joy over this little baby boy.
They understood they didn’t deserve him but more than likely thanked God every day for him.
Then we have Sapphira.
Anyone want to guess what her name had to do with?
If you guessed a Sapphire you would be correct.
Anyone ever seen a Sapphire?
They are mainly this beautiful blue color but can actually be many different colors but the thought behind the name is simply “beautiful.”
So, her we are, we have this man who was a blessing to his parents and we have his wife who apparently is a beautiful woman if her name tells us anything about her but other than this, the Bible doesn’t tell us a whole lot about this couple at all.
We don’t know if they were young or old; whether or not they had any kids; or like were they part of the up and coming society?
We don’t know a whole lot about them other than simply they were believers and that they had a parcel of land and sold it.
But when you think about what we do know…Ananias, if his name held true…was a man who was a believer; he was a blessing from God to his parents; he married up and got him a beautiful wife; and they have done well enough for themselves to somewhere along the way acquire some land!
Listen, it seems like what we have before us here are some up and coming members of the newly formed First Baptist Church of Jerusalem, doesn’t it?
“But”....don’t forget what came before we got to know these folks… “but”.
Look on down with me at the crux of the story so we can get a little clearer picture of what’s happening here.

The Crux of the Story(Vs. 1b-2)

Ananias and Sapphira had hatched a plan to gain popularity with the people.
Explain in detail
Their actions were noble but their motives were self seeking.
They had seen the notoriety that Barnabas and others had garnered when they sold their possessions and brought the money and gave it for the betterment of the Church and they wanted the same thing for themselves!
They were seeking fame, fortune and status instead of seeking the Spirit of God to move in a mighty way!
The problem with their plan was their pursuit of pride.
In all their seeking of fame and notoriety they were exuding a sense of pride and forgot who they were supposed to be seeking to begin with!
John Phillips — The serpent had once again entered the Garden of Eden, and Ananias and Sapphira had eaten of the forbidden fruit.
Can I tell you this morning friend when you start seeking for self, you forget who you are supposed to be seeking to begin with, Amen!
In a brief moment of weakness, Ananias and Sapphira had fallen victim to Satan and his schemes.
These same schemes have been working for him since the dawn of mankind.
Genesis 3:1–6 KJV 1900
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
1 Peter 5:8 KJV 1900
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
1 John 2:15–17 KJV 1900
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
The crux of the story was that Ananias and Sapphira had allowed the schemes of Satan to blind them from real reason behind what was taking place in the Church.
God was moving, the Church was marching, and the Kingdom of God was growing in a mighty way and this was the real, genuine, sincere reason that others were donating what they keep the Church of the living God moving forward!
Sadly, Ananias and Sapphira had ulterior motives instigated by a moment of weakness and the great adversary of God…Satan himself.
Now, look at what happens next...

The Conspiring against the Holy Spirit(Vs. 3-4, 7-8)

Remember that “But” we started the chapter out with?
Well this is why it was there!
In the previous chapter they were filled with the Holy Ghost but Ananias heart here was filled by who? By Satan!
Acts 5:3–4 KJV 1900
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
It was yours to do with what you will but you lied about it and you didn’t lie to men Ananias, you lied to God!
Look over at Verses 8-9.
“Tell me Sapphira, did you an Ananias sell the land for so much?”
Peter gave Sapphira a chance to confess her fault right here but instead of telling the truth when the truth suits best as the old saying goes, she chose to stick to her lie.
“Yes sir, that’s exactly how much we sold it for!”
“How is it that you two have conspired together to tempt the Lord like this?”
***Explain how they lied against the Holy Ghost***
And listen friend, do you know what the Bible says about lying?
John 8:44 KJV 1900
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Satan is the father of lies and listen to me this morning, when you lie, you’re acting just like the devil!
I came across a story while I was studying for this and there was this woman in San Diego. She was sitting out in front of the supermarket, the windows on her car rolled up, a very hot day, the engine off.
She's sitting there with her car doors locked, her hands behind her head like this, sitting there. Her eyes closed. Somebody looked at her and thought, well, perhaps she is meditating, relaxing, but she's sitting there for an inordinately long time. They thought, maybe she's in trouble.
Somebody pecked on the window and said, "Madam, do you need any help?" She nodded her head. Said, "Are you in trouble?" She nodded her head. They said, "Would you unlock the doors?" She said, "No." No, shook her head this way. "Do you want us to break in?" She nodded her head.
They got an ax, broke the window and said, "What's wrong?" She said, "I have been shot." I'm holding my hands behind my head to keep my brains in." They got to investigating and she had bought a can of Pillsbury biscuits, put them in the back of the car and the heat caused them to explode.
It sounded like a gun shot and a wad of biscuit dough had hit her in the back of the head. She had her hands around a biscuit, holding her brains in.
Listen, if you think you can lie to God and get away it, you've got biscuits for brains. — Adrian Rogers
Ananias and Sapphira had lied to God and dear friend what you need to know this morning is you can’t lie to God and get away with it!
We’ve seen the Characters…up and coming members Ananias and Sapphira.
We’ve seen the Crux of the story…PRIDE!
We’ve seen the Conspiring against the Holy Spirit.
And lastly I want us to see the Consequences of their Sin.

The Consequences of their Sin(Vs. 5-6, 9-11)

Adrian Rogers — The root of their sin was pride. The fruit of their sin was hypocrisy.
Listen this morning friend, you can fool Bro. Bobby; you can fool the person sitting next to you in the pew, you can fool your family members and friends…but…but…you can’t outwit the omniscience of God!
God knows your heart.
God knows your mind.
God knows your motives.
And one day the Bible says that He will bring our darkest secrets to light and He will reveal the counsels (the motives) of our hearts.
Luke 12:2–3 KJV 1900
2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. 3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.


As we come to a close this morning I want to share with you what Adrian Rogers said about this passage in closing.
The way he brought this out was just amazing and I wanted to share it with you in closing.
Adrian Rogers — Now, question: were Ananias and Sapphira saved?
I believe they were. Will God judge His own children? Certainly. I believe I'll meet Ananias and Sapphira in heaven. I told you before there are three kinds of judgment.
There is our judgment as a sinner. The is our judgment as a servant. And there is our judgment as a son.
Our judgment as a sinner takes place at Calvary. When Jesus Christ died, He took the judgment for our sins. That is the judicial judgment and we'll never face that again. Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation, no judgment, to those who are in Christ Jesus." Thank God we have settled out of court. Amen?
But there's also our judgment as a servant. That's the judgment seat of Christ where we're going to receive the rewards for the things that we've done. And He's going to say, "Well done good and faithful servant" if you've been a good and faithful servant. That's our judgment as servant. Now that takes place at the judgment seat of Christ after the rapture.
But there's a third judgment and that's our judgment as sons and that takes place day by day. Do you think that if you get saved that you can sin and get away with it? No. If you get saved that means if you sin, you won't get away with it.
An unsaved sinner, God does not deal with him in this life like He does one of His own children. The Bible says, "whom the Lord loves he chastens." God loved Ananias and Sapphira.
Put down Hebrews 12:5—7. And the writer of Hebrews says, "... have ye forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son..." now listen, this is sons, "... despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"
You said, "But they died." Yes. This judgment is a severe judgment, especially when you challenge God. When it is premeditated. When it is a conspiracy. When it is a confrontation between that which Satan has put in your heart and that which the Holy Spirit of God has warned you against.
Paul warned the church at Corinth about the way they were taking the Lord's Supper.
I Corinthians 11:29, 30, "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself,... " the word "damnation" means judgment "... not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and some sleep."
Some have died like Ananias and Sapphira in the Corinthian church because of the judgment of God upon them. They were children of God and they died prematurely.
Again, the Bible says in I John 5:16. "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death he shall ask and he shall give them and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death."
What is a sin not unto death? It is not premeditated. It is not tempting God. It is not challenging God. And then he goes on to say, "There is a sin unto death. I do not say you should pray for it."
There comes a time when you as a child of God can so challenge God that you sign your own death warrant. It does not mean that you're not going to heaven. It means you're going to heaven sooner than you should.
Now it was a severe judgment. I believe I've seen this in my years in the ministry. I have seen, I believe I have seen people who have challenged God living hypocritical, superficially, yet with a name in the lamb's book of life who check out and go to heaven too soon like Ananias and Sapphira did. Which, incidentally, like Moses did. When Moses died, his eye was not dim nor his strength abated. Moses died prematurely because he challenged God.
Now listen, not only was it a severe judgment, but it was a saving judgment. You say, "God is cruel. God is vindictive."
No, God is loving and God is kind. Number one, it was to save Ananias and Sapphira from further sin. God did this, I believe, in mercy.
There was a man in the church at Corinth who was living in open sin, a brother. 1 Corinthians 5:5. This man was living in sexual immorality. He had been warned. He would not repent. Paul said, "Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
You see, God is far more interested in your spirit than He is your body. "Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ."
Now could it be that God in mercy brought Ananias and Sapphira home to keep them from further sin? Now not only was it saving to Ananias and Sapphira, it was to save the early church from pollution.
God doesn't want hypocrites in the church so God took them out because there was such a holiness there, such a fire, such a revival, God would not let them spoil it. And the Bible says in this same chapter in verse 11, "... and great fear came upon all the church and upon as many as heard these things." Therefore, this was a blessing to the church.
Number three it was a blessing because it saved lost people from hell. The worst thing could happen to a church would be for the church to be so filled with hypocrites and superficiality that unsaved people can see no difference.
It's good when God brings judgment like this upon a church. The Bible says in Acts 5:14, "And believers were more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women." The home going of Ananias and Sapphira brought fear to the church and it brought salvation to many people. And where Satan ruled, God overruled.
And I'll tell you another reason God may have done it. To save succeeding generations from hypocrisy. Now there's a big question right here.
If God took Ananias and Sapphira to heaven early, why doesn't God do that today? I mean, why doesn't God go through the congregation and say, "You're one of them, you're outta' here. You're one, you're outta' here. You're one, you're outta' here."
One preacher said, "If God were to kill all the people who did that where would I be?" They all laughed. He said, "I'd be preaching to an empty house."
Why doesn't God do that today? You're going to find there's a principle in the Bible, God will do certain things as an example in the physical world about how He feels in the spiritual world.
For example, Sodom and Gomorrah. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone. Well, why doesn't God destroy cities today that are given over to sodomy with fire and brimstone?
Answer: Jude 1:7, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
When God eradicated Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone and let their smoky ruins, God said that is an example. That's an example. You want to know how I feel about it, there's an example.
Let me give you a principle again. In the wilderness when the children of Israel were coming out of Egypt and going to Canaan, they lived in sin, they fell into idolatry and God destroyed many of them.
Now listen, the second, I Corinthians 10:10-11. "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensample: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
God does certain things as examples. God says, "Look, you want to know how I feel about sodomy—there's an example. You want to know how I feel about murmuring—there's an example." God says, "You want to know how I feel about hypocrisy and superficiality in the church—there is an example." God does these things sometimes as examples.
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