ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
Sand Lake, Michigan
Acts chapter 5 – Ananias and Sapphira
The end of Chapter 4 (vs. 32-37) show that the early believers were of one heart and of one soul. They quit saying, “Mine,” and said instead, “Ours.” They had all things common. If they had property or things to sell, they did, and came and gave it to the Lord for the good of others. One, Barnabas, was especially mentioned, we will meet up with him later.
Chapter 5 starts with the word, “But.” Here we find a blot on the character of those in the new group, the church. All this selling and sharing was not demanded, it was optional. We can’t absolutely state that this couple (Ananias and Sapphira) were never saved. We have reason to doubt. Did they just like being a part of this new exciting group? Did they want to be thought of as being generous? We don’t know.
We do know that God could not and did not let this deception go on. God didn’t want this to spread to others. He had to judge it. (Teachers, we do have this understanding, that this time, we suppose the first 7 years after the resurrection of Jesus, was a overlapping time. Certainly they must have been under grace, but this had not yet been taught them. It was not until Paul was on the scene, that God revealed the mystery of this age. Consequently, this over lapping period is a foretaste of the Millennial Age still to come. At that time, holiness and righteousness will be in vogue.)
They sold a possession, and kept part of it. They brought a certain part and laid it at the apostle’s feet. Peter reminded Ananias that there was no need for this deception. While it was their’s, that was okay, and even when they sold it, they could have done what they chose with it. The big problem was deception, pretending – Vs. 1-4. Ananias died on the spot. He was carried out and buried – Vs. 5-6.
Then about 3 hours later, his wife, Sapphira, came in. She said the same thing as Ananias had said, denying they had kept back part of the money – Vs. 7-8. Peter knew they had agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord – V. 8. She died also, was carried out and buried – Vs. 9-10. The result of this was that great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
People didn’t just join themselves to this new group – V. 13. It is never right to try to join a group of Christians. The scriptural way is to be added by new birth (receiving Jesus as Savior, 2:47) - V. 14.
The gospel work went on full force. Vs. 12-16 gives this report. Signs and wonders were wrought among the people. There was sweet one-accordness. Even the shadow of Peter brought healing to people. All this proved that Jesus was alive and still working. This was a powerful time, a blessed time. Keep in mind that sin had to be judged so that the work could go on. This reminds us of the sin of Achan in Joshua 7. When we sin, let us always come right to God for forgiveness – I John. 1:9.
Chapter 5:17-42 – next issue