1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
3 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? 4 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 just to human beings but to God.”
Most people when they read this and the following verses they think Ananias sin was not giving all of his money to the Christian community and as a result he died and later his wife died for the same reason.
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
If the sin was in not giving all that they had, then what was the sin that resulted in their death? The answer is in verse three and Peter speaks to it when he says 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? Then goes on to conclude You have not lied just to human beings but to God. God’s presence was there in the young church and Christian community where Ananias sought to lie directly to God. It was a terrible decision on his part and then on his wife’s, Sapphira’s, part as well.
In their own way, Ananias and Sapphira were seeking to serve two masters – God and Mammon. God knew this to be impossible and as their hearts were already corrupt enough to lie to God, they would end up serving Mammon. Jesus put it this way
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13
Matthew Henry’s Commentary adds the following about Ananias and Sapphira which I heartily agree with, especially his warning for anyone, including us, who might think to lie to God and risk our own souls.
They thought they might serve both God and mammon. They thought to deceive the apostles. The Spirit of God in Peter discerned the principle of unbelief reigning in the heart of Ananias. But whatever Satan might suggest, he could not have filled the heart of Ananias with this wickedness had he not been consenting. The falsehood was an attempt to deceive the Spirit of truth, who so manifestly spoke and acted by the apostles. The crime of Ananias was not his retaining part of the price of the land; he might have kept it all, had he pleased; but his endeavouring to impose upon the apostles with an awful lie, from a desire to make a vain show, joined with covetousness. But if we think to put a cheat upon God, we shall put a fatal cheat upon our own souls.
So, it’s Friday and I hope you have a Great Weekend and remember to Go To Church where you might ask God to help you make promises you can keep and to give you the strength to do so. You don’t have to wait for church to do this, you can do this any or every day of the week … and it is not a bad idea to do so. In doing so we can ask God to reveal to us where we mind be two-minded deceiving ourselves as well as God. It is the deception we need to end and we can do so with God’s help. All we have to do is ask with all of our heart with complete and total sincerity. You and God both know if you are doing that or not.