October 03, 2022 – Monday
Acts 5:2-3 NIV
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?
Acts 5:2-3 CSB
2 However, he kept back part of the proceeds with his wife’s knowledge, and brought a portion of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.3 “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land?
If you read just a bit further, in verse five you will find 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. This is part of what I preached on this past Sunday where I mentioned a death sentence seemed very severe for holding some money back for maybe tough times ahead. It seemed almost prudent.
Then I decided to see what other translations had to say about kept back in verse two. What I found was very eye-opening.
NOG (Name of God) They agreed to hold back some of the money they had pledged
CEV (Common English Version) But they agreed to cheat and keep some of the money for themselves
DRA (Douay-Rheims American Edition 1899) by fraud kept back part of the price of the land
RGT (Revised Geneva Translation) and embezzled part of the price (the wife also being aware of it)
Reading the above, one has to believe the original readers in the Greek would know something very serious had happened when they kept some of the money back and it had nothing to do with being prudent. This led me to look up the word that translated as kept back. The Greek word is nosphizomai which means to misappropriate or to steal. In fact the same word is translated at to stealin Titus 2:10. This leads us to conclude they were stealing from God and the church while trying to be sly about it as if they were donating the whole amount. Thus, deception was being attempted and who knows what else they would have done within the church.
This brings me back to a word I have been writing about for the past week, despotes in the Greek often translated as Sovereign or Master when it applies to the Father or to the Son. You may wonder why Ananias and later his wife as well were struck dead, but this verse from Jude 1:4 provides a strong clue, 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
You may say “Wait, how can we be sure it was God who struck them dead?” The primary reason is that the word Luke uses for both Ananias’ and Saphira’s deaths appears in the New Testament only in the context where someone is struck down by divine judgment.
Bottom Line: Do not think you can fool or cheat our Sovereign Lord, nor think He will tolerate ungodly people within the church. If you find yourself in such a church, find another church.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, What a warning for those who seek to cheat You and deceive Your church. Help us to be discerning enough to become aware of such people. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton