In preceding chapters, we see church members after Pentecost selling their possessions and giving all of the proceeds to the apostles for distribution. In this passage, we see examples of God’s response to those who unapologetically grieved the Holy Spirit.
Acts 5:1-5, 7-10
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 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. 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? Whilst 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. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost:
And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. 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. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost:
LESSON - Some people view this passage only in the light of stewardship. In actuality given the proper context, there are several sins committed by this couple.
While the money was theirs, they could have done with it what they wished. But once they had yielded it to God, it no longer belonged to them. They selfishly withheld what now belonged to God.
They were attempting to deceive the apostles into believing that they had given all of the proceeds from the sale of their land. They presented themselves to be more spiritual than in reality.
They laid their funds at the feet of the disciples in an act of false humility.
They lied first to the Holy Spirit and then to the apostles in complete violation of the Great Commandment.
Results - It would have been better for them to have selfishly kept their land for themselves rather than offend God and the disciples. We should learn from this example to be transparent with people. After all, God sees us as we really are. We are not fooling Him! Our ultimate goal should be to love others with pure motives because we love God with a true heart. Here’s a great saying I learned this week, worthy of internalizing: “Live for those you love.” That’s a Great idea!!