The lesson today comes from Acts 5:1-11 and tells how the lies of Ananias and Sapphira brought extreme consequences — death!
Have you ever stretched the truth? Okay, let’s at least give a straight answer for this question.
Sure, we’ve all bragged about something in our lives at one time or another – it’s human nature.
The Christians in the early church were not above this sin either.
The story of Ananias and Sapphira shows what can happen when we take bragging and lying to the extreme. Truth is, it seldom turns out good.
But, there is hope for us at the end of this story. Let’s read about these two liars; and learn a bit about ourselves.
The Price of Lying – Ananias and Sapphira
But 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.
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?
While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart?
You have not lied to men but to God.”
And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it.
The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.
Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.”
Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test?
Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.”
And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things. – Acts 5:1-11 NASB
The Problem with Church People
During the dilemma of Ananias and Sapphira, the early Christian church was in turmoil.
The outside world persecuted it.
Church leaders encountered problems due to the actions of a few believers, such as Ananias and Sapphira.
What Could They Do?
Peter and the others tried to keep peace within the walls by dealing with issues in a compassionate way.
But, as with any institution where people are involved things happen to disrupt the internal structure of the organization.
This charged the leaders to control the damage.
Who Was to Blame?
Let’s revisit where the church is at this time.
Easter Sunday is in the past, Jesus has been resurrected and the Holy Spirit has descended during the Day of Pentecost.
People have been saved and the church is on its way.
Yes, Jesus defeated Satan when He died on the cross.
But, he is still around, working hard to disrupt the Christian faith and cause these new Christians to fall from grace.
So, Satan slipped into the lives of Sapphira and Ananias, causing them to lie to God about what they were giving to the church.
It wasn’t the amount of the offering that was important.
They could have told the truth about the sale and gave a fair share.
But, instead they decided to hold back God’s property and thought they could get away with it.
They both died!
When We Lie
Does Satan still cross our paths today, trying to disrupt our Christian lives? Of course he does!
Will we stumble? Yes, we will.
That’s why it’s so important to admit to God our shortcomings so that He will forgive and we can move forward with our lives.
Yes, we can follow the path of Ananias and Sapphira and try lying to God about what we did or didn’t do.
This is NOT going to work!
Why? Because God knows exactly what we’ve done.
When we pray honestly, He will forgive and forget.
The Church Sets the Example
Sapphira and Ananias tried to make themselves look better by lying about the amount they gave to the church.
It’s easy to understand how deception can ruin a church body.
And, Peter knew it needed to be dealt with harshly.
In addition, dishonesty can undermine credibility when you are trying to witness to others.
As Christians, we must be careful how we handle our actions.
Remember, God is watching. Others are as well!
Love in Christ
If you would like to discover more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to see John 3:16.