Scripture reading for November 7th: Acts 5-7
Lying is a sin! One of the ten commandments states that we should not give a false accusation against a neighbor! (Exodus 20:16) God hates a lying tongue! (Proverbs 6:17-19) Lying breaks relationships, marriages, homes, and even churches! A lying tongue hates the one it hurts! (Proverbs 26:28) A false witness will not go unpunished and he who pours out lies will perish! (Proverbs 19:9) The devil is a liar and can speak only one language: “LIE!” (John 8:44)
The Book of Acts records the history of the early church from just before the day of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to the imprisonment of the Apostle Paul in Rome. Very early in the history of the new church, Luke writes to tell us the story of a couple who told a lie that cost them their life. Acts 5:1-16.
Ananias and Sapphira told a lie of omission. They sold some of their property and made an offering to the Apostles for the use of the church. The price of the property was more than what they gave, but they told the Apostles that they gave all the money to the Lord when they had kept some back for themselves. Now it wasn’t wrong not to give it all. It was wrong to lie about what they had given.
“Then Peter said, “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.”” “When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what happened.” (Acts 5:3-5)
Ananias and his wife died immediately as a result of lying! This New Testament story warns God’s people that dealing with God is serious business! Amazingly, the church grew and many souls were added after this judgment! God is building a holy church without spot or wrinkle! The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of Truth!
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!