Avoiding the Consequences of Deceipt

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Avoiding the Consequences of Deceit

Introduction: In life we will face difficulties and choices. Many of our difficulties will be unavoidable and we must face them with complete confidence in the saving hand of God. But what about those difficulties we can avoid by making the right choices and placing priority in honoring God.
Our text deals with a couple who faced difficulty that led to their demise because of the choice they made. This choice was the choice of deception and dishonor towards God. How many places in our lives have we too made this mistake for our own selfish gain and appearance? Today I wish to address the fatality of deception.
DT: Attempting to Deceive God is never a good idea

1. We Must Resist the Temptation of Deceit ~ ()

Acts 5:1–3 ESV
1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it 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 to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?
Explanation: Ananias and Sapphira are married and owners of property. The sell the land but decide together to deceive the church community by withholding a portion of the proceeds.
We muse resist temptation of deception because, God knows our heart - Peter reminds Ananias that his heart was not right but filled by satan with lies towards the Holy Spirit
We must resist temptation of deception because, God sees our actions - Though Ananias gave portion of the proceeds. He gave it as though he had given all of it. Peter lets him know that God saw all of it.
Illustration: As a child growing up, when I was in junior high school, I would walk home after school. I found myself wanting to be included with the popular kids. As a result of the challenge of being a part of this group, I learned to be deceptive. I began lying to my parents and doing things I shouldn’t because I wanted only what I deemed significant to me. Soon, after many obstacles and hard lessons I learned that this pattern of deception hurt not only those around me and those who cared for me but also hurt me.
Transition: Deception also deceives the deceiver. We may believe we are getting away with things when in fact we are causing pain to ourselves.
Application: Resist the temptation of dishonesty. Do not build your relationship on the foundation of deception. Don’t be afraid to be the only one in the crowd to say no.
Transition: Even as these were afforded the opportunity to repent, the first opportunity came to Ananias.

2. We Must Repent (Ananias) ()

Acts 5:4–6 ESV
4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
Even as Ananias brought the proceeds there was still an opportunity to give what was right or explain that he made a decision to keep a portion of the proceeds. The scripture reads, “he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet”
Explanation: Peter directs three questions to Ananias.
was it not yours?
was is not at your disposal?
Why have you contrived this deed in your heart?
Ananias failed to repent.
We must repent because God affords us opportunities to repent - 3 questions giving Ananias and opportunity to reflect and search his heart. Yet he still did not repent.
We must repent because, unrepentance does not go unpunished- verse 5 says, “When Ananias heard these words he fell down and breathed his last”. There is a certain arrogance revealed by those who refuse to come to terms with their sins and continue as though God must accept it. , reminds us that God hates a “proud look”
Application: How do you respond to exposed sin in your life? When we have sinned, we must be honest and repent.
Transition: Repentance is necessary to avoid the traps of deception. When we refuse to do so we will find ourselves living a life of perpetual deceit.

3. We Must Live to Honor God (Sapphira) ()

Acts 5:7–11 ESV
7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
Explanation: Funerals occurred almost immediate rather than the general period of waiting of our day. Sapphira wasn’t present for neither the death or burial of her husband.
She was afforded the opportunity to tell the truth but she chose to support the deceptiveness of Ananias. She failed at this moment of confrontation to do what would honor God. Dishonesty never brings God honor.
Illustration: My father helped me to realize that I could have avoided a painful moment had I been honest with him and my mother regarding my whereabouts on one occasion. Had I not continued to deceive them they both could have aided me. My parents were hurt that I would jeopardize myself and dishonor them because of my deception.
Transition: When we fail at being honest, we bring great harm to ourselves. God is not ever glorified nor honored when we live a life of deception.
Application: Don’t continue with deception regardless of your loyalties. Make your highest loyalty to honor God.
Deception is never honorable. Deception can only lead to destruction of one’s relationships, one’s community and one’s self.
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