11th September 2016 Psalm 30 Acts 5 pt 1
I am sure that we have all heard the phrase ‘honesty is the best policy’. Over the years I have seen a little lie turn into a mountain of trouble I am sure that many of us have also witnessed this sort of thing.
How easy is it to maintain honesty and integrity? The dishonesty of many leaves us as cynics and causes us to no to trust. Over the years we have seen many in positions of honour and responsibility get undone by their dishonesty and greed.
There is also an atmosphere in the world that says it’s OK to lie steel and cheat as long as you don’t get caught. Many years ago, a Federal politician whom I was acquainted with was caught doing the wrong thing, he lost is portfolio, rightly so- his complain over the media was that someone in his party dobbed him in! There was no remorse or contrition, or an apology.
It is interesting that history is often rewritten to suit the truth of those who are in power. There are two principles in life that I firmly believe.
1. The truth will always come out in one form or another.
2. The Person who truly seeks reformation should never be afraid of the truth.
Years ago when I was young and an inexperienced pastor, I found myself in a very difficult situation. [I am sure that I may have told some of you this story before] Leonie and I were appointed to a joint parish in the Far North Coast; this was a Methodist Presbyterian venture. The year was 1977 and the congregation that we were appointed to was in turmoil. I was naive and young, I was only 24, I was idealistic and inexperienced and I was bound to make mistakes. I lacked maturity and the wisdom that comes with age and experience. Bible College and education does not equip us with wisdom and maturity these things we have to learn the hard way.
God had blessed the ministry and the congregations under our care were growing, people had come to faith and lives and families had been changed, it was exciting times.
To cut a long story short, I found myself in the situation where the supervising minister who lived in Lismore had spoken to me about a complaint from the other denomination, something that I had done; this caused great difficulty between the two denominations.
“If this is true, said he, I will have to ask you to resign.” I was told. Being young and idealistic, I did not know what to do. So I went to the guy who was in charge of the other denomination. He asked me what I wanted, I said; “the truth, and if the whole truth condemns me so be it,” I knew that I was inexperienced and I also knew that I was not perfect, mistakes do happen. I will never forget the look on his face as he said: “I cannot do that”. I was devastated. I went back to my boss’s home in Lismore; it was a short drive from this guy’s place. When I arrived I was called into the office. Obviously I expected the worse, “Con you went and saw so an so, I just got off the phone with him, I do not know what you did or said, I would like to apologies for what I said to you, all is well.”
Today’s Bible readings are about TRUTH. God’s Mercy is bigger than any mistake that you’ve made.
• The truth of God’s love and forgiveness.
• The truth about sin and its consequences.
In our Psalm reading, the psalmist shares his heart and some great truths about God and His Love and restoration.
6 When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” 7 LORD, when you favoured me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. 8 To you, LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy:
The psalmist moves from a position of self-sufficiency to that of total reliance on God.
In Acts 5 the early church is experiencing growth, there are signs and wonders being performed, the apostles are able to speak with boldness.
There is a beautiful attitude of love for one another, even to the point of becoming self-sufficient. They held all things in common, they helped each other.
The church was an Island in a hostile world, a safe haven for the faithful.
Many had left the security of the Temple and Temple religion, to follow the Messiah.
They were exciting and frightening times!
Barnabas had taken the proceeds of the sale of his property and gave it to the apostles to use for ministry and others had followed suit.
Acts 5 tells of the story of one couple who sold a piece of land, and held back a portion.
This passage is not about giving, nor should it be used to speak about giving, there is a far great theme here.
You have lied to God.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
Six helpful thoughts:
1. A challenge to be honest to God
2. Sin is God directed
3. When the dust settles down and the crisis is over, God will restore- For His Love Endures Forever.
4. Sin cannot keep us away from God.
5. The end result of this situation was that the church continued to grow.
6. Nothing is hid from God.