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Jan 19, 2020

Warts and All

Warts and All

Speaker: Dennis Gallaher

Category: Sunday Morning

Hypocrisy is dangerous but God has the power to heal.

Oliver Cromwell was known as a politician, a general, and a preacher of righteousness. His face was disfigured but a painter painted him without warts. He didn't accept that painting and wanted himself painted "warts and all." He didn't want to hide the real self. 

Joshua 6 - Joshua and Israelites crossed into the promised land and came to the battle at Jericho. The walls of Jericho came tumbling down at the shout of the people. The fall of Jericho concludes with this statement in verse 27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land. Jericho was the first city conquered and was dedicated to God - everything in it.

Continuing to Joshua 7:1 But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. Joshua tells the people not to take anything, but Achan takes 3 things (verse 24) and hides them in his tent. 

Then the next battle comes against the small town of Ai, yet Joshua's army was defeated and 36 men lost their lives. Joshua goes to God to ask why. God gives an answer in verses 10-15. In that answer, God gives us a principle: God doesn't look at us as individuals but as parts of the same body - suffering and rejoicing together. Therefore, individual choices matter to the whole body of Christ. 

Achan is forced to confess and is sentenced to death. The execution was in a valley along with all his family and possessions. Are you in a valley of trouble? God's plan is to move us from where we are to where we can be. Make a choice to trust God to lead us from this valley. 

The Lord doesn't drop these stories for dramatic effect. These stories have a lesson and a purpose in them. Three lessons:

  • Sin will take you further than you ever expected to go.
  • Sin will keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay.
  • Sin will cost you more than you ever intended to pay. 

God never changes. People paid a terrible price in the Old and it's still the same today. The problem was not that Achan was a thief, but the problem was hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is not being the same on the inside as on the outside. God's wrath was always extended to the hypocrites. Hypocrisy is the most dangerous thing in the Bible. 

Achan, on the outside, was a dedicated warrior of Israel; dedicated to authority; was happy to serve. Achan, on the inside, was a thief out for personal gain; had no authority except self; pride of privilege and power.

Did the punishment fit the crime? Or the better question: What do I need to understand about the holiness of God that results in this kind of cleansing and warning and the love of God that results in this kind of cleansing and warning? God is holy and loving and cleansed Israel. When dealing with these over the top issues, it's not my job to understand but to reflect on our holy and loving God that cleansed Israel and brought salvation all the way.

This same lesson in the New Testament: Acts 4:32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. Persecution, revival, healing, etc. was happening all over. Catch the same rhythm in Joshua's time. Trusting in God, believing in the unity in the body was more important than self and great victories happened- walls fell, lives were saved. Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.

In Acts 4:36, Joseph, a Levite, sells his property and lays it all at the feet of the apostles. Chapter 5:1-2 But (a change is coming) a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 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. 

The same thing takes place here as in Joshua. This is not about money but about the heart. The inside did not match the outside. Do you see the hypocrisy? Both husband and wife died. Verse 11 And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things. It's a story that begins with destruction but ends with healing. Verse 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. 

Today, we stand between a Jordan crossed and a promised land ahead. In about a month, our church will recognize Pastor James as the senior pastor of Freedom Fellowship. Beyond lies the greatest potential that we've ever seen. But first, let's deal with the spirit of Achan, of Ananias, of Sapphira, that infects our heart and testimony and the future of our ministry. The same holy and fearsome might that brought judgment to sin and hypocrisy was the same holy power that brought healing to the multitude. It is when the church is cleansed and pure that she is ready to be an instrument of healing - whether body, soul or spirit. 

  • The church pure is the church powerful.
  • The church Spirit-filled is the church pure.
  • The church obedient is the church Spirit-filled.

Achan buried under a pile of stones, just short of his inheritance in the Promised Land. Hypocrisy was in his heart and his life ended long before the promise of his inheritance. If some part of a person's heart refuses to bow to a Holy and loving God, as a result, they never move into the promises of God. But God can redeem even the worst.

Hosea 2:14-15 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness And speak kindly to her. Then I will give her her vineyards from there, And the valley of Achor as a door of hope. 

God always provides when we submit to Him. We need to deal with the hypocrisy of our own lives. Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

Get right with God. God will give the power to change. We can become a different person than who we are - He will make all things new. 

Do you want to be a follower of Jesus? Here is a simple prayer: 

Dear Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I believe that on that cross You took my guilt, my sin, and my shame and You died for it. You faced hell for me, so I wouldn't have to. And You rose again to give me a place in Heaven, a purpose on Earth, and a relationship with Your Father. Today, Lord Jesus, I turn from my sins to be born again. And now, God is my Father, Jesus is my Savior, The Holy Spirit is my helper. And Heaven is my home. Amen.

Am I right with God or not? Am I moving into the promises of God? 

Is there a Spirit of Achan that I need to confess? a valley of trouble?

Explain hypocrisy. Is there some hypocrisy in my life? Will I let God make it right?