Acts Series: Acts 5:1-11

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Acts 5:1–11 KJV 1900
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. 5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. 7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. 8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. 9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. 10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. 11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

Ananias and Sapphira

A contrast in motive

Acts 5:1–2 KJV 1900
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Remembering that the division of books of the bible into chapters and verses is for our reading and referencing. When Luke was writing the book of Acts there was no break between Acts chapter 4 vs 37 and Acts chapter 5 vs. 1.
In Acts 4 vs. 34 and 35 share with us the giving culture that was present within the church. They would sell their land or their houses and they would bring the money and lay it at the Apostles feet.
This practice had not been commanded, but had become the common practice. they brought money from the sale and laid it at the Apostles feet and allowed them to distribute the money to ensure that the needs within the church community were being met.
And within this giving culture that has become common place in the church, Acts chapter 4 vs. 36 through Acts 5 verse 2 provide us two contrasts of giving.
Last week we looked at Acts 4:32 through 37, and we saw the church at its best....The church was unified and the Apostles were powerful. The Apostles were powerful and the church was unified.
Whenever you get a church that is at its best, be sure that the devil is at his worst.
The devil hates a unified church and he hates powerful ministry!!
You get a mediocre church…that’s half divided…half way on board…half the leadership showing up for prayer revival…half the church showing up for Bible study…Weak ministry in the pulpit that isn’t standing for anything…The devil isn’t even worried about that church…He already has that church.
But you get a church that has all things in common…that is of one heart and one soul....and a pulpit that is unfettered and ministering with GREAT power…A church that is at its best!!
You can be sure that the devil is at his worst!!
and so it is within this climate of a church that is at its best, we see this contrast between Barnabas and Ananias and his wife Sapphira.
Last week we looked at the example of Barnabas. While the context reveals that this was the culture within the church, it expressly points out Barnabas…A Levite. A man that by custom and Old Testament Law, should have owned no land…But he does, and motivated by gratitude, he sells the property and brings them money and lays it at the Apostles feet.
It must have been an act that was celebrated…there must have been much conversation regarding Barnabas gift from the sale of his property.
Because Ananias and Sapphira see the fanfare surrounding the generosity of Barnabas, And as Peter says in vs. 4, “they conceived a plan in their heart”.
It was a plan motivated, not out of generosity, but out of jealousy.
It was a plan not generated by hospitality but by hypocrisy.
Barnabas giving was Spirit-led
While Peter identified the giving of Ananias and Sapphira as Satan Inspired (vs. 3 Why hath Satan filled thine heart)

The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not that they sold their possession and kept some for themselves.

Peter’s probing questions found in vs. 4 reveal that this was not the sin.
Acts 5:2–4 NLT
2 He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4 The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!”
As stated, when the church is up to its best, Satan is up to his worst.
this deceptive work of Satan through Ananias and Sapphira, sheds light on the strategy of Satan.
Several commentators have suggested a parallel between Ananias and Achan—the Achan who stole money and clothing after the destruction of Jericho.
Commentary by John Bengel states: ‘the sin of Achan and that of Ananias were in many respects similar, at the beginning of the churches of the Old and New Testament respectively’.
Another commentary written by Frederich Bruce sees a further analogy: ‘The story of Ananias is to the book of Acts what the story of Achan is to the book of Joshua. In both narratives an act of deceit interrupts the victorious progress of the people of God.’5
John Stott’s Bible commentary further states:
The apostle’s complaint was not that they lacked honesty (bringing only a part of the sale price) but that they lacked integrity (bringing only a part, while pretending to bring the whole). They were not so much misers as thieves and—above all—liars. They wanted the credit and the prestige for sacrificial generosity, without the inconvenience of it. So, in order to gain a reputation to which they had no right, they told a brazen lie. Their motive in giving was not to relieve the poor, but to fatten their own ego.
This should provide a warning to the church, that our goal is not to appear to be more spiritual than we are.
Some might reason that the answer then is to give no appearance of spirituality. Just live down to your carnality. Make no spiritual airs…don’t pretend to be spiritual and just be real and authentic in your carnality.
However, the solution is not carnality, as that advances the church no more than does hypocrisy…the answer is the spirit of Barnabas. The church is advanced by the likes of Barnabas. Those that desire to bless the Kingdom and strive to be spiritual and to be honest.

Ananias lie was not to the man of God but to God himself.

We cannot be church saved
Just living a certain way around the church
We cannot be preacher saved
its amazing how people will act when the pastor leaves the party.
Again…I’ll back to the previous…because some will run the wrong direction with that. Well then, I’ll just do my thing in front of the pastor…after all I don’t want to be a hypocrite..
As if there are is a different hell for hypocrites than there are for the unrighteous. The solution is get sanctified!

No sooner had Ananias heard the words of the Apostle, he gave up the ghost.

It was immediate that he died
The Apostolic Study Bible emphasizes, Not all the signs and wonders performed by the apostles were of healing and deliverance, for here the Holy Spirit brought immediate judgment on the guilty party.
It also to note that Peter did not curse nor even request that God bring judgment upon Ananias and Sapphira…he simply confronted the sin. Their judgment was in God’s hand alone!
Three hours later, when his wife walked into church, Ananias was done buried.
They made quick work of burying this voice of deception.
By the time Sapphira shows up there is no evidence that Ananias had even been there to begin with.
Love people, but don’t coddle spirits that desire to destroy the church.
Well, pastor that poor misunderstood person…they just don’t like authority. They just didn’t like this, they didn’t like that.
Ananias was influenced by a deceptive spirit that was commissioned by Satan to destroy the unity that was in the church and the power of the ministry.
Then of course, Sapphira walks in and doubles down on the lie. She was the only person in the room that wasn’t aware her story was already uncovered.
There was no pause in response. Without even stuttering…without even blushing, she lied to the man of God!
She simply repeated the lie of her already buried husband and soon thereafter, joined him.
Reverence for spiritual authority
What God is able to do in your life through spiritual authority is directly connected to reverence for the authority.
Going to get a little ahead of ourselves tonight...
But look at the connection between Acts 5:11 and the following verses
Acts 5:11 NASB95
11 And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.
Acts 5:12–13 NASB95
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.
When the people held the Apostle in high asteem, many signs and wonders took place at their hands...
It was just a few verses later that people brought the sick into the streets and laid them, believing that if the shadows of the apostles would fall on them, they would be healed.
I am just a man. No question…I am not trying to elevate myself to some status that is super-human or even supernatural...
But the office of the pastor is not just a man…it is a divine appointment. God established.
I know to some I may just be Jason…I was just a kid in the church a few years ago…I was your friend in the youth group 30 years ago…but a reverence for spiritual authority will enable the hands of the ministry to be a strength and a help in your life!
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