How many Ananias’ or Sapphira’s do you suppose are out there in our communities or fellowships? Could it even be possible that we ourselves fit their mold? Perhaps you’re reading this and wondering what I’m talking about. In Acts 5, we learn of a man and wife who observe Barnabas giving a gift to the church and in following suit they sell a piece of property and bring a sum of money to the apostles. Sounds admirable and by itself it might well be, but Peter was aware that it was not the entire amount of the sale and challenged Ananias on it. Later, Peter gave Sapphira the opportunity to be honest about their gift to the church and she confirmed that what her husband had given was the entire amount of the sale.
The result of their scheme was immediate death and it might make you ask why. Let’s look at three things they did in this process. First they lied about the amount of the gift they brought, attempting to make the church think it was receiving all that the property sale netted. The second thing we see is that they didn’t just lie to the church and to the apostles, they lied to the Holy Spirit. God Himself was the target of their deceit!! The last thing the text shares with us is they put the Lord to the test. Their actions cost them their physical lives, and if we don’t learn from their actions (Romans 15:4) we could suffer the spiritual equivalent. We know lying is an abomination before God (Proverbs 6:16-19), how much more so if the lie is directed to Him. Are we doing the same thing Ananias and Sapphira? Through our faithful obedience to the Gospel we have been redeemed. We have been given the tremendous gift of eternal life through the forgiveness of sins because of God’s love for us. Having surrendered to His will, are we like Ananias and his wife, guilty of giving so little back to God Who has given so much? “The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” I John 2:4. Let us learn from things written in earlier times… that we might have hope!
Copyright © 2010, Nolan P. Rutter