Monday, September 7, 2009
Then 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.
Acts 5 tells the story of Ananias and Sapphira, a husband and wife who lied to the Holy Spirit. By lying to the Holy Spirit, they were pretending to be something they were not. Ananias and Sapphira wanted others to think they were more devoted to God than they really were.
Ironically, the name Ananias means "God is gracious," but Ananias also found out that God is holy. Sapphira means "beautiful," but she found out how ugly sin can be.
At this time the church was living together communally, because there was a lot of persecution against believers. Some had lost their homes and their income, so other believers who had resources and means were helping out. Everyone had the option of doing whatever God led them to do, and some were selling properties and giving the money to the church. Ananias and Sapphira sold a piece of property, but they acted as though they gave more of the money to God than they really did. The issue here was not about giving or not giving; the issue was lying—saying they did one thing when they really did another.
This is what Jesus warned about: "Watch out! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. . . . Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you" (Matthew 6:1, 4).
We have all done this. We have all tried to appear more spiritual than we really are. But it is better to be a sinner and admit it than to pretend to be something you are really not. This was Ananias and Sapphira's problem. They were actors, hypocrites. They put on a show, and no one bought it—especially God.
Copyright © 2009 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
- This life will have its sorrows
- God loves us
- Jesus weeps in our times of pain
- God can be glorified through human suffering
Hope for Hurting Hearts, Pastor Greg Laurie's new book, examines these truths, revealing God's love and care for us, and shows how we can find hope, even in the midst of the most unbearable pain and sorrow.