Ananias and Sapphira lie to the Holy Spirit
3. Ananias and Sapphira’s conspiracy
Sold something they owned
Kept back part of the money for themselves
Brought the rest
Satan filled his heart
Both Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit
Conspired to test the Spirit of the Lord
Side note: The name Ananias means Yahweh Has Been Gracious or Graciously Given Of The Lord (some irony there)
(Alfred Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names).
4. What Ananias and Sapphira did wrong
In Acts 4:32, “The Greek here does not mean that everyone sold their property at once. Rather, from time to time this was done as the Lord brought needs to their attention.” (Horton) (via Enduring Word)
No one compelled believers to sell property or other items nor to donate any or all of their proceeds. Perhaps the couple planned to donate all of it, but once they had the bag of gold, they changed their minds.
“[Ananias’] crime was not in withholding the money, but in deceptively implying that he gave it all.” (Guzik)
Unlike the multitude, Ananias and Sapphira didn’t recognize God’s ownership of everything, and their hearts and minds were not in unity with the other believers.
It’s possible this couple’s egos longed for the same attention Joses (Barnabas) received since this narrative follows right after the glowing words written about this Son of Encouragement in Acts 4:36.
Their sin is imitated in many ways today. We can create or allow the impression that we are people of Bible reading or prayer when we are not. We can create or allow the impression that we have it all together when we do not. We can exaggerate our spiritual accomplishments or effectiveness to appear something we are not. It is too easy to be happy with the image of spirituality without the reality of spiritual life. (Guzik)
5. “Great fear came on the whole assembly, and on all who heard these things.” (Acts 5:11 WEB)
God judged Ananias and Sapphira on the spot, so sometimes God doesn’t provide an opportunity to repent.
What Ananias did also must be seen in the context of its time. This was a critical juncture for the early church and such impurity, sin, scandal and satanic infiltration could have corrupted the entire church at its root. “The Church has never been harmed or hindered by opposition from without; it has been perpetually harmed and hindered by perils from within.” (Morgan via Enduring Word)
i. Dr. J. Edwin Orr’s last sermon was titled Revival is Like Judgment Day. In it, he describes how the coming of revival is almost always marked by a radical work of God in dealing with the sins of believers.
ii. “Now, put this in a modern context. If this had happened today, we would have had a cover-up committee. Don’t let it get out to the public. You can take heart, this may be a surprise to you, when God exposes things… one of the outcomes was that when God was vindicated, the work gained strength again.” (Orr)
1 Peter 4:17 (WEB) For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God. If it begins first with us, what will happen to those who don’t obey the Good News of God?
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My answers to BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 4 Day 2