Sunday, March 17, 2013

All In

In Acts 2, you read about the birth of the church. It was the feast of Pentecost, and people from all over the place came to Jerusalem for this feast. Peter and the other apostles preached about Jesus and Acts 2:47 says: Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” Then in verse 47 it says:And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
So there were a lot of people in the new church. Probably a lot of those people did not go back to their homes right away. They would have stayed to learn more about Jesus and about being a Christian. Those people wanted to learn.  They needed shelter and money for food. Acts 2:44-45 says
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” The church helped each other. They made sure that everyone had what they needed. Acts 4:34-35 says again that “Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the  proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”

 Most people gave with good attitudes. They wanted to help other Christians. They were “all in” - or committed to - Jesus and His church. But there were some who did not have the right attitude.  Tonight we are going to read Acts 5:1-11. We are going to read about a couple of people whose intentions were not so good.

 First, let’s notice…

 I. Ananias and Sapphira – They Lied and Died.

Read Acts 5:1-11.  

The piece of land was theirs. he money they made from selling it was theirs. It wasn’t wrong for them to keep some of it. The problem was that they lied about it. They wanted other people to think they were better than they were. Maybe they wanted people to praise them for giving so much. That’s not why we should give. We should give because it helps the church do God’s work.

You can’t lie to God. Peter said that Ananias and Sapphira lied to God. It’s impossible to lie to God because He knows all. He knows your thoughts, your words… He knows you. (Psalm 139)

Ananias and Sapphira were not “all in” for Jesus. Something kept them back.

 [Let’s talk about what it means to be…]

II. All In 

What does it mean to be “all in” for Jesus and His church? It means to fully believe in Him and to do your best to follow Him, no matter what.  

There are lots of people in the Bible who were all in for God.

Just before the story of Ananias and Sapphira, Acts tells about Barnabas. He was all in for Jesus and the church. He sold some property and he did give all the money to the church. (Acts 4:36-37). People really liked what he did. Maybe that’s why Ananias and Sapphira decided to lie. He helped the church know that Saul wasn’t going to trick them after he first became a Christian. (Acts 9:27)
He encouraged new Christians to stay strong. (Acts 11:22-24) He also helped Paul on the first two missionary journeys. (Acts 13-14) He gave Mark a second chance even when Paul didn’t want to.
(Acts 15:39)

Peter is another one who was all in for Jesus. He made some mistakes sometimes, but when Jesus was walking on the water and called him, he didn’t wait for a life jacket or anything, he just jumped right in. (Matthew 14:29)

 Noah was all in for God (Genesis 7-9) He built a huge ark when God told him to. People probably made fun of him for it, but that did not stop him. He followed God.

 Daniel was all in for God (Daniel 6) He prayed to God three times a day when he was only supposed to pray to King Darius. That got him thrown into the lions’ den. He knew what would happen if he did, but he followed God anyways.

 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were also all in for God. (Daniel 3) They refused to bow down to a statue. They knew that they would be thrown into a fiery furnace, but they still did not bow down.

 Sometimes it’s hard to be all in for Christ today. There are things that can drive you off course. Depending on the person, things like money or friends can tempt you to walk away from God.
There are things that make it hard to talk to people about God.

At a lot of schools, kids aren’t supposed to talk about God.  I’m lucky because Ms. Megan lets me talk to her and my friends about God and about church. To be all in for Christ means that I am going to be talking about Him and inviting my friends to come to church with me with me.

 t a lot of work places, you can’t talk about God. Being all in for Christ at those places means that your thoughts and your words are good. It means that you show people that you are a good Christian by the way that you act. You can always invite people to come with you to church after work.

Are you all in for Jesus? If so, like Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:11-12 “…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…” That means that you are filling your mind with God’s word. That will bring you closer to Him
That means that you don’t give up following Him no matter what.

If you are not all in for Jesus, are you ready to be?

Jesus is the Son of God. He left heaven and came to earth and lived as a human being. He healed people and He taught them about God. Then He was killed. But it wasn’t an accident. He had to die so that He could save us from our sins. He didn’t stay dead. On the third day, He rose from the dead.
He saw His disciples and over 500 people, then He went back to heaven.

If you are not all in for Jesus, you can be. You need to follow what He says: Believe in Him. Turn away from your sins. Tell people that He is the Son of God. Be baptized and have your sins washed away. Then live a faithful Christian life.