March 5, 2017 sermon
By Dwayne Milioni: Open Door Church Lead Pastor, Southeastern Seminary professor and Pillar Network board member
A glory seeker may be a Christian believer, but their heart is divided between seeking their own glory and that of God. We all are tempted to seek our own glory, but as His followers we continually turn away from this & seek the glory of God: forgiven by Jesus’ death and resurrection, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to spread the Gospel.
Barnabas (Acts 4:36,37) modeled seeking the glory of God as he “sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet”. However, Ananias and Sapphira, (Acts 5:1-10), negatively modeled seeking their own glory as Ananias “kept back part of the money for himself” (embezzled funds already pledged to God) as he laid the money at the disciples’ feet. The consequences were deadly.
The Spirit of God works to bring glory in His Church as He empowers our witness and as He corrects our pride.
- God’s grace is given those who seek Christ’s glory. If this church is to start well, we must seek the glory of Christ, and not ourselves. To do this we must lay down our “preferences” as well as be generous with our possessions. As we continually give control of our will to the Spirit, we are filled by Its presence to guide and empower us as individuals and as a church.
- God’s anger is revealed to those who seek their own glory. As Christians, the Cross of Jesus is at the center of all that we believe and do. Have we identified with the cost of the Cross so that we can truly follow Jesus? May we not, like Ananias and Sapphira, overlook the cost and reach for our own glory. May the Spirit empower our church leaders to help us face the reality and consequences of our sin. May we live in awe, reverence, and holy fear of our living God (Acts 5:5).
- God’s mercy is shown to those who have experienced Christ’s glory. If we continually choose to seek the glory of God instead of our own ways, which test God’s patience and tolerance, we will experience His mercy and be filled with the power of the Spirit. The number of believers around us will increase (Acts 5:14) because the Holy Spirit will be working in others and through us witnessing to the Gospel, to bring receptive folks into the presence of God.
- What kind of “preferences” in church could we have, which might reflect our own desires rather than seek God’s glory?
- In this imperfect world, can we really get past our pride?
- Why was it so important for Peter to confront Ananias?
- Does our church have the unity and humility to bring God glory with Gospel productivity?
- Why is Acts 5 so important for a new church such as ours?