A Study in Acts...Chapter 5

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Ananias and Sapphira

In chapter 5 we come across a husband and wife that will make the worst possible mistake they could make. They would lie to the Father and it’ll cost them everything.
Acts Ananias and Sapphira / 5:1–11

tells of internal and external problems facing the early church. Inside, there were dishonesty (5:1–11) and administrative headaches (6:1–7); outside, the church was being pressured by persecution. While church leaders were careful and sensitive in dealing with the internal problems, there was not much they could do to prevent the external pressures. Through it all, the leaders kept their focus on what was most important—spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The church has always attracted people with impure motives: hucksters who want to profit financially from religion, power mongers seeking control, the self-centered who want to be pampered and cared for, and glory seekers who want to be noticed and affirmed for their “holy” acts.

Ananias and Sapphira, a married couple in the Jerusalem church, fell into this last category. They concocted a plan whereby they hoped to give a little to God but get credit for a lot. Their scheme was dishonest, and God’s judgment was swift and severe. As you ponder their story, ask yourself the question, What are my motives for serving and giving?

God cannot stand unfaithfulness, and pretending to be holy is contemptible mockery.

John Calvin

The New King James Version (Chapter 5)
Acts 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”She said, “Yes, for so much.”9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.
Peter ask’s...“Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? It’s believed that the love of money and praise had consumed their hearts. When we come to the place that we value men’s praise over that of God we open ourselves up to all sorts of evil.
The New King James Version (Chapter 6)
1 Tim. 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
The New King James Version (Chapter 6)
Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Ananias lied to the Father and it cost him and his wife their lives. One of the worst things that we can do is to deceive God’s people about your relationship with Christ, your work for Him and the extent of your ministry. When you engage in this hypocrisy you use the shed blood of Christ to glorify your own self before others. It disregards the very purpose for which Christ suffered and died.
Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
The New King James Version (Heb 13:10–17). (1982). Thomas Nelson.
This hypocrisy indicates an absence of the fear of the Lord. It doesn’t respect and honor the Holy Spirit. This hypocrisy merits the righteous judgement of God!
Great fear fell upon the whole church! God’s judgement on sin birthed humility, awe and fear in the body of Christ. Without this fear of the Lord the people will return to their ungodly ways of the world. They will cease to experience the outpouring of His Holy Spirit and miraculous presence of God. Ultimately they will be cut off from Him amazing grace. This great fear of the Lord is not something that you and I can afford to live without.
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