As shared on our First Post, we will be looking at the following characters

1. King Saul (1 Sam 15, 1618)
2. Judas Iscariot (Jn 12,13, Matt 26,27)
3. Ananias And Sapphira (Acts 5)

Today we would be looking at Ananias and Sapphirra, the couple that was described  in the book of Acts 5:1-11

Their story is short and easy to understand, but there are a few facts that we need to understand

Why Did The Early Christians Sell Their Lands?

It is generally believed that when Christianity first started,  in that upper room in Jerusalem at Acts 2, the early believers believe that the Lord is coming in a matter of years as their memories of Jesus when he is taken up to heaven is so fresh. So therefore, the church in Jerusalem then was a community church where everyone stayed and lived together, breaking of bread end having fellowship together daily.

Faithfully waiting for the end to come. This could be seen in the Acts many times (Acts 2:40-47, Acts 4:32-37)

At that time, it is common for members who had land and processions to sell them off and to distribute them to the church members in need. In Acts 4:36-36, tells us of a Levite name Joses (Barnabas) he also sold his land and brought the money to the apostles.

It is interesting as Levites do not have land in Israel, their allocated land is actually within the cities of refuges In those days, Christians who are willing to do this were highly respected by the members (Num 35:1-5)

However, as Barnabas is from Cyprus, it makes me wonder whether did he own the land in Cyprus or not.  Perhaps he did and he went back home just to sell it or he could have really had a land in Israel where he sold it.

But nonetheless, his offering was so great that God has recorded it in the bible for us to learn. I guess that this act of love may have been so great and won many praises from the members within the church.

The Sins Of Ananias and Sapphirra

We have to take note that the selling of properties and giving to the church is a voluntary acts, not by compulsion.  There is no commands from the apostles for the members to donate all their money to the church.

We have spoken that the act of the donation of all the money attracts attention of all the members of the church.

The real sin of Ananias and Sapphire is not about the fact that they did not offer 100%, God has given them the free will to offer up whatever amount they wanted.

In order to understand their sin, let us look at what Peter said to Ananias.

“Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?  While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”- Peter (Acts 4:3-4)

Can you imagine how shocked the church will be, when they saw this new guy called Ananias who was doing the big sacrifice and all he got a rebuke from Peter.

Ananias allowed a the devil to fill his heart. He wanted to deceive the Holy Spirit. He thinks God is unaware of his deceitfulness, So he planned with his wife Sapphirra to keep a portion of the proceed but yet “market it as the full price” (Acts 5:1-2)

His Wife Sapphira was aware of it, and kept quiet and decided to cooperate with her husband to deceive the Holy Spirit.

This is a grave sin before God as Jesus once said

“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter;  but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” – Jesus (Mk 3:28-29)

It is precisely the sin that Ananias and Sapphira committed.

The Judgement From God

As Ananias is the main perpetrator of the sin, God judged him the moment he brought the gifts at the feet of the Apostle Peter.  He died on the spot, and the people carried him out.

Great fear fell upon the church.

Three hours later, Sapphira his wife entered the church, that is when God decided to give her a chance to repent, Peter asked

“Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”  – Peter (Acts 5: 8 )

Unfortunately, her answer was yes, which is then God executed his judgement on Sapphira.

I am sure the members of the church must have been sad when they heard Sapphira lie. And so from the incident God taught the church never to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Being Truthful In The Church

Before Paul Penned down the famous words “ Nor Give Place To The Devil”

“Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another” – Paul (Eph 4:25)

Christians are suppose to be children of God, and not children of the devil. Lets take a look at what Jesus says

“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

Being the children of God let us not emulate the devil who is the liar and the father of Lies, for if we are deceitful we would have leave a foothold for the devil to work.

Offering Completely

Although as I have said that Ananias is not required to have offered up everything, but it would have been a offering delightful to the Lord. if he indeed offered up all the proceeds willingly and happily.

This brings us back to the story of Cain and Abel. Cain brought God an offering of the fruit for the ground. but God did not accept Cain’s offering.

Among the text for the word that describe the offering of Cain is ליהוה

(Minichah, which had a root meaning of “”Apportion” ) seems to suggest that Cain was only offering a portion of his fruits.

When God refused his offering, he was downcast and God said to Cain

“Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” – YHWH (Gen 4:6-7)

If we learnt to offer to God with our best and to offer it completely, God is ever willing to accept the offering.  God gave Cain a warning that sin is lying at his door and he wants Cain to rule over it.

But on the contrary, Cain allowed his jealousy to grow, giving place to the devil and finally, when the sin is fully conceived,  he brought forth death, where he killed Abel with the stone.

This lead to Cain losing his relationship from God.

At the end of the day

We have studied so many example of negative examples of people giving place for the devil to work.

Let us learn to listen to the voice of God,  let us take heed of Pauls warning not to give place for the devil.

For giving place to the devil will cost us our walk with God, so that we would be disqualified from the ultimate prize that we want to get, which is eternal life with God.

As a conclusion, let us read that short simple warning from Paul once again,

“nor give place to the devil.” – Paul (Eph 4:27 )