Ananias and Sapphira were in the real estate business and owned extensive property in Jerusalem. They were very successful in business and had become believers. They discovered that a man named Barnabas, one of their rivals in business, had actually given all his property to the ministry of Peter, who in turn gave it to the starving Christians in Jerusalem. Therefore, they became very jealous and covetous, and became involved in inordinate ambition and competition. They were not Satan-possessed or demon-possessed but were under satanic influence. There was nothing wrong with keeping back part of the price of the land, but, in competition with Barnabas, Ananias came to Peter and lied about what he gave. Their jealousy of Barnabas motivated the lie. They were apparently legalistic and self-righteous; therefore, they were in moral degeneracy. They were dishonest in their spiritual life. They were in competition with Barnabas and tried to make an impression with the apostles; their actions came from the arrogance complex of their sin natures. They were living in approbation lust.
ACT 5:3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land?”
This deception is so great that the individual actually thinks he can lie to the Holy Spirit.
ACT 5:4-5“While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.” And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came upon all who heard of it.
However, they both had their day in court. The Supreme Court of Heaven dealt with both of them on an individual basis. At this point, they were the worst enemies of the Church, not because they didn’t give all their money, but because they were hypocrites. Often the worst enemies of any local church are not outside enemies, but the hypocrites within the church.
ACT 5:6-11And the young men arose and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.”Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they shall carry you out as well.”And she fell immediately at his feet, and breathed her last; and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things.
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