A deadly lie!
Scripture reading for June 7th: Acts 5:1-42
We tend to think of the Holy Spirit as gentle and always bringing joy, healing, or miracles, but He has another side. Just as God is a God of love and miracles, but also a God of justice and anger at sin, so the Holy Spirit reflects this variety as well. In today’s reading, a couple in the early church experienced the anger of God for a simple lie!
Ananias and Sapphira were part of Peter’s congregation in Jerusalem. They sold some property and kept back some of the proceeds for themselves before taking the rest and laying it at the apostles’ feet. They evidently represented that they were giving all the proceeds to the Lord’s work to appear more spiritual. But God knows everything and Peter had a word of knowledge. “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3-4)
Ananias heard this word and fell over dead, causing great fear in the church. Some young men came and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in and Peter questioned her about the price of the land and their donation. She repeated the lie of her husband and her death also came quickly. “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.” (Acts 5:11)
One would think that this kind of happening in the church would cause the church to stop growing, but the opposite happened. Great signs and wonders were being done by the apostles. More and more men and women believed in the Lord Jesus and many sick were healed and evil spirits cast out. (Acts 5:12-16) Purity in the church produced miraculous manifestations that drew people to trust in Christ. True christianity brings real power and conviction!
Do you think that God still works to bring purity to His church? How are you doing in dealing with your money and offerings? Why not repent today if you need to! God would rather show mercy than judge!