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The story of Ananias and Sapphira is found in Acts 5, and it is a sad story, indeed. It actually begins at the end of chapter 4 with the description of the early church in Jerusalem, a group of bel...
Its simplicity I would like to first state that the field belong to Ananias and Saphhria so they didn’t have to sell it to become a part of the membership therefore they didn’t have to lie about the sale or the proceeds. They could have easily given whatever amount they wanted as long as they were contributing. Now the Establishing of the Church was new, the Apostles were full of the Holy Ghost, the presence of the Lord was fresh and very noticeable through the various miraculous acts and deeds. Ananias and Sapphria were used as examples as to what could and would happen by being deceitful to God. The power of God’s mighty works through demonstrations of signs, wonders and miracles were prevalent and he was setting up standards, rules and guidelines for the people that willingly wanted to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ/Christianity. Unfortunately Ananias and Sapphria were examples of this new Establishment of how Christians should conduct themselves.
Most believe that God used this instance to prove a point or make a statement about what will happen if you lie to God or withhold something from Him. Most might also add that it set the Apostles aside a greater level of authority that caused them to be reveired. I believe both of these have truth to them but they are incomplete. If God was trying to make a statement about the purity of the Church than why doesn't He do the same thing now? Why are people not keeling over at the alter in today's church when they lie to God? Unless God no longer cares about the purity of His church there must be a deeper message. What about authority? Does the church not need men of power and authority today? Certainly not! If anything there is a great deficit of Spirit filled men of power. Granted they are not charged with the establishment of Christ's Church but we need them just the same. Although my answer to this question might seem simple it may help answer a lot of tough questions. God will do what He is Glorified through. The simple truth is that this act brought fear and reverence for God and His Church. (Acts 5:11) Through this act many people came to be known by God as believers and Gods name was magnified. (Acts 5:14) In short: God's Holiness was revealed. Christ's Church was purified. The Spirit of God was magnified through the Apostles. Through these things the fullness of a triune God was manifested and the church fulfilled it's purpose. (Eph. 3:9-10) What is amazing to me is that this Fear of God drew people closer to Him and not farther away. If that same thing was happening today I'm would be terrified of "that" church. I thank God He is awesome and full of Grace. I do need to remember God is still just as Holy and He still wants a pure Church. He is the God of all creation and He is due all the fear and reverence I can muster, and then some!
Ananias and Sapphira mean grace and beauty, but their names do not fit their conduct. They were disciples of Christ and members of the apostolic church of which no man would belong unless he had a real experience of salvation. This we have to conclude because the church was hated and persecuted (Acts 4:1-4,17; 5:13,17-18,27-42; 8:1;). It was also repeatedly stated that all were of "one accord" and one mind who did belong to the church (Acts 1:14; 2:1,46). Notes For Verse 3 a [why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart?]. b [Satan filled thine heart] This was what caused them to hold back part of the price and so lie to the Holy Ghost who is also called "God" in Acts 5:4. The Holy Ghost is just as much God as is the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Notes For Verse 4 a [conceived this thing in thine heart] This implies careful and planned deception, not a sudden act (Jas. 1:13-15). James 1:13-15 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Notes For Verse 8 a [Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much?... How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?] Notes For Verse 10 a [Then fell she down straightway at his feet] This proves that Peter had the gifts of knowledge and discernment of spirits as well as other gifts of 1Cor. 12:4-11.
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