Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ananias and Sapphira: Lying Part II

“These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
      but their heart isn't in it. 

   They act like they're worshiping me,
      but they don't mean it.
   They just use me as a cover
      for teaching whatever suits their fancy."    Matt. 15:8-9    Message Bible
In Acts 4:33 we read, “Abundant grace was upon them all”.  People’s generous giving reflected their gratitude for the grace God had bestowed upon them.
He had sacrificed His only Son so that they may have everlasting life.   They were more than willing to sacrifice their worldly possessions so that others might have they daily needs met.
Their selflessness brought glory to God and respect for the Church.
However, Ananias and Sapphira were trying to gain respect and glory for themselves, while trying to with hold on their “sacrifice”.  They had “trampled underfoot the Son of God and insulted the Spirit of Grace.”  (Heb. 10:29)
Their lie was not trivial matter.  It was a declaration of defilement upon the abundant grace of God.   Their lie was as big as the insult felt by God’s Spirit.
When Peter asked Ananias (Acts 5:3) “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie…”  he was not questioning Satan’s purpose.   We know what his purpose is.  (John 10:10a).    
He was searching their motive for allowing Satan into their hearts.
What did they want so badly that it was worth opening their heart to Satan?
When we make room for Satan he is not satisfied to occupy a small corner of our heart.   He wants the whole heart!   He “filled” their hearts.  (Acts 5:3)
Obviously, the heart that Satan fills has no room for God.  They foolishly sacrificed their soul to gain a little money, recognition and glory.
This lie squeezed out what little bit of God they had in their hearts.
Part of Satan’s deception is to get us to believe we are not hurting anyone or anything by telling a little lie.
The ‘lie’ Ananias believed from Satan, was that prestige was highly important in life.
Ananias and Sapphira spoke only ‘half’ of the truth by making themselves out to be more generous than they really were.    God punished them by death on the spot.
A small compromise can cost you everything!
Peter makes it very clear that Ananias did not have to follow the course he did.   He was in full control of every decision.  It was his choice!
“Those who win the victory will receive this, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.
But cowards, those who refuse to believe, who do evil things, who kill, who sin sexually, who do evil magic, who worship idols, and who tell lies—all these will have a place in the lake of burning sulfur…..."      Rev. 21:7-8          New Century Version

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