Growth Through Purity

Dustin Folden January 27, 2019 Acts 5:1-16
Outline

3 truths about purity that help us grow

I. Purity is a Matter of the Heart

A. The heart is your control center

B. The heart affects your actions 

Mark 7:14-15 - After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.”

Luke 6:45 - The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

C. Christ’s heart is the pure heart

II. Purity Requires Discipline

A. In community

1 Corinthians 5:6-7 - Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

B. Individually

Hebrews 12:3-10 - For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

C. Discipline for the purpose of purity is an act of love

III. Purity Impacts Others

A. Christ’s purity gives us a position of purity

Mark 1:40-42 - And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

B. A group of believers, who love God, genuinely help others do the same

1 Timothy 1:5 - But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

I need to ask you a personal question…how much garbage do you like in your water…are you like a 2 tablespoons of trash kinda person, or do you just like it to be pretty much half water half trash?

Just think about taking a nice refreshing swim in this. [show picture of river full of trash]

Doesn’t that look like a fun, weekend get away? Not so much…even though there is plenty of water in that river, it barely resembles a river doesn’t it.

Here is what a beautiful river looks like [show picture of beautiful river] – think about how useful a clean river is….you can use the water for drinking, you can setup irrigation, you can use the waterway for transportation…wherever there is a good source of water, cities and towns and people flourish…it is life giving, it leads to vibrancy and growth as opposed to a stagnant river of trash.

Think about how that ties into our annual theme of Growing What God Has Given as well as our series in the book of Acts…The Exciting Growth of Christ's Church…what we are going to see over and over again is that growth and purity go together.

When we talk about purity we are talking about being focused, being concentrated on the mission, focused on living for our Lord and savior…and not distracted or impure with all sorts of garbage that does not help us exalt the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Now when we compare these two pictures, you can see pretty easily which river is pure and which one is polluted…but when it comes to people, it is not as easy to see…but the Lord sees, and he desires us to grow based on our relationship with him…He says in ….

John 7:38 — 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ”

You see the Lord is going to remove the trash, the pollution in our lives collectedly and individually, which is not good for us, and that does not bring Him glory…so that we can function how he desired us to….as life giving springs of living water.

So this morning as we look at Growth through Purity

What we are going to see is we can’t just push the trash down below the surface of the water…it must be eradicated, refined, removed through purification so that individually and collectively we can grow.

With that in mind please turn in your bible to Acts chapter 5 verse 1…that is on Page 95 in the back section of the bible in the chair under the seat in front of you.

Acts 5:1–18 — 1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he 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 some of the price of the land? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. 6 The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. 7 Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” 10 And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things. 12 At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. 13 But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. 14 And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, 15 to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. 16 Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.

Now with the rest of our time together lets look at 3 Truths about Purity that help us grow

I.                   Purity is a matter of the Heart

A.     The Heart is your control center

                                                             ii.      Just to reiterate the terms we are using…Purity is another term that I want to make really clear (pun intended)…Purity in the bible is used in a lot of different ways…to define innocence, ceremonially clean, genuine or true

                                                           iii.      So the issue here in Acts 5 is that the church is brand new, and they have been brought together because of the person and work of Jesus Christ, and they love Him and they believe in His great love for them because He died for them…this impacts them in the inner man, at the heart level and also how they acted.

You see…

B.      The Heart affects your actions 

Mark 7:14–15 — 14 After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.

Luke 6:45 — 45 “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

So many people in the early church valued what Christ had done for them, they treasured Christ so then they would share their treasure with each other.

But it doesn’t take long for sinful humans to pollute the body of Christ. The power and penalty of sin was dealt with at the cross, but the presence of sin remains even in the body of Christ until Christ returns and completely does away with sin and death.

So we see this couple, Ananias and Sapphira (you don’t hear people naming their kids these names, and there is a reason)

Their heart, their control center wanted to look good on the surface, but under the surface they treasured themselves.

You see Barnabas was just highlighted in the text as selling a tract of land and laying it at the apostles feet to disperse amongst the needy.

Ananias and Saphira wanted to do something good publicly, but under the surface devise a way to keep some of the money.

  • Note that the issue was not that they sold the land and kept some of the money, the issue was not that they had to sell the land and give the money,
  • the issue was that they planned together to deceive so that they got the praise of man, and also the pleasure of man..i.e. keeping some of the money for themselves.

Notice How Peter says, “Why has Satan filled your heart”.

Satan’s calling card is you should get to determine for yourself what good and evil is, it goes right back to the Garden of Eden. Here is a husband and Wife, not bearing the image of their God and savior in how they give and serve, but really coming to God on their own terms…terms marked by greed and deceit.

What was good to them was to look good, and selfless, but actually be self focused…that was their version of being of one heart and soul, their version of giving like Christ gave…style but not substance.

Ananias means Yahweh is gracious and Sapphira comes from the word beautiful…they did not portray the generous graciousness of the Lord, or the beauty of His love at the heart level that goes beyond lip service.

The couple knew the price of the land, and I am sure the person who bought it did…but the price of the land was not widely know, and so they conceived this deed in their heart, and sought to lie…but the issue is that God sees the heart and Peter says you were not lying to men but to God…

*[ highlight here that they had a heart that wanted Praise of Man and compare with Barnabas]

They had concealed this, hidden this, and God busted it open, made it public, that all might know that God is dwelling among His people, and when God is among His people there is Holiness, and where there is Holiness, sin is exposed…

Christ died, was buried, resurrected and ascended…but the Holy Spirit is indwelling believers, God is amongst His people, and when God is at work, sin is brought to the surface and addressed.

The problem with greed and deceit is that it is eventually revealed…we all have it…the important thing is to admit it and repent and change and grow rather than conceal it and pretend we are better than we really are…this reminds us of the gospel as…

Our impurity reminds us of our need…because ….

C.      Christ’s Heart is the Pure Heart

                                                           vi.      2 Cor 5:21 – He became sin, the one who knew no sin…the one who was perfectly pure, took on impurity, our sin, so that we can be the righteousness of God…

                                                          vii.      So please don’t hear this sermon, and just think well, I need to be more pure, gotta not complain as much…

                                                        viii.      …it is really about comparing yourself to the perfect one, recognizing that only He is perfect, and that you need to be honest about your impurity, your sinfulness, your need for His perfect purity….

                                                            ix.      how you needed Him to take on your sin, so you can be pure in the eyes of God because of your relationship with him, and because you are clothes in His righteousness based on what He did on the cross…

Now as good as that sounds, it doesn’t just happen…you see…

II.                Purity requires Discipline

A.     In Community

Notice the community focus in the text…The couple came to look good publicly and God addressed this publicly. Notice the impact it has on the congregation and even those who are not believers.

There was a reverence that God was in their midst, and they could not live in a way that did not respect the fact that the Holy Spirit was among them and sees to the heart.

1 Corinthians 5:6–7 — 6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? 7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

This is exactly why Jesus had to come and die…these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me…

How unloving would it be to allow this heart mentality to spread through the congregation.

It is like as a parent having a known drug dealer coming to your house asking really nicely if your kids can come out and play, sure kids you can go hang out with drug dealers as long as they are polite.

We must understand that the presence of God was no longer in the temple…the presence of God was the Holy Spirit indwelling the body of Christ.

So just like you could not just walk into the temple in the presence of God and live, so you could not lie to holy spirit, treat him as common and it be no big deal.

The Lord was dwelling among His people, and as a result everyone had a reverence, a fear of God.

How can we read this text and have a healthy fear of God a reverence for God

One of the ways you can apply this passage to your life is to appreciate when someone else helps you grow in holiness, even and especially if it rubs you the wrong way.

If your spouse, says honey, I don’t think what we are planning to do honors the Lord, or I don’t think what you just said was Christ-like

This must impact us corporately and in our families, but we must also understand that God disciplines us ….

B.      Individually

Whether collectively or individually…

C.      Discipline for the purpose of purity is an act of love

Our third truth is that…

III.             Purity impacts others

A.     Christ’s Purity gives us a position of purity

One of many visual examples of this is Jesus healing lepers…

Mark 1:40–42 — 40 And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

2 Corinthians 5:21 — 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

John 7:38 — 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’

Christ’s purity impacted us, and so our purity because of our relationship with Jesus, our holiness is to have an impact on others so that the body grows…you see….

B.      A group of believers who love God genuinely help others do the same

1 Timothy 1:5 — 5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

The Lord will build His church as we devote ourselves purely to Him.

 

Dustin Folden

Roles

Pastor of Discipleship & Extension Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.