Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ananias and Sapphira

 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.”
 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.”             Acts 5:1-10  NIV
The story of Ananias and Sapphira can leave us with many questions and a misunderstanding of a loving God.
There is contrast revealed in this story for all of us to examine.  Barnabas was a man filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:24) and Ananias, whose heart was filled with Satan (Acts 5:3).
One was truthful, the other a liar; faith and unbelief, selflessness and selfishness, goodness and deceitfulness, sacrifice and sacrilege, trust in God and the worship of self, total commitment and hypocrisy.
As we look at this story more closely we will see it is about; judgment, mocking God, robbing God, lies, defiled headship, show Christians, death at the alter, spiritual death, physical death, discipleship; my witness for Jesus and how our sin can affect others. 
Why did they lie?
Why was the punishment so severe?
Did they go to heaven?
Let’s look a little deeper into this story and see if it can apply to our lives today?
Why was the story placed in the Bible and what can we learn from it?
“All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.
  “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. …..”   Rev. 21:7-8 NLT

“Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.  Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.”  Rev. 22:14-15  NLT

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