February 7, 2014
READ: Acts 4:32-5:11
Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself” (5:3).
Their sin ruined the mument. Like a brawl at a wedding or a bitter argument during an office party, their selfish act brought the party to a halt. The new church had been an exhilarating community of love. “All the believers were united in heart and mind” and they “shared everything they had”. “Those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need” (Acts 4:32-35).
Ananias and Sapphira were thrilled to belong to this community, and they expressed their commitment by selling some property they owned. But they also wanted to keep back part of the money for themselves, so they lied and claimed that they had given the full amount. Then they died by the power of God.
Their punishment seems harsh until you remember two things:
1. They lied to God. Peter told Ananias they were free to give as much or as little as they wished, but they had tried to pull one over on God (5:4). It’s an awesome thing to be in God’s presence—see how God dispatched Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:7) and Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-2)—for He doesn’t tolerate deceit or disobedience.
2. They lied to others. The defining message of the new church was that Jesus had risen from the dead (Acts 4:33). This was incredible news, and it demanded the absolute reliability of its messengers. If the early Christians couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth about money, who would believe them when they said their Lord was alive?
You and I have been entrusted with the same spectacular news. “We are Christ’s ambassadors” who plead with others to “Come back to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Do you want your friends to follow Jesus? Then be honest in all things. —Mike Wittmer
Read Joshua 7:1-26 to learn how important it is to be honest, especially when we are enjoying the blessing of God.
How can dishonesty forfeit your right to talk about Jesus? What can you do to earn trust in all your relationships?