Acts 5:1-11 — Ananias and Sapphira
Acts 5:12-42 — Signs and Wonders, Apostles Arrested and Freed
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One Reply to “Aug 24 — Acts 5”
The example of Ananias and Sapphira troubles the non-believer and perhaps even some Christians. The concluding verse in this story summarizes the results, “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events” (Acts 5:11).
First of all, “great fear” is used twice in recounting this story (5:5). The Pharisees and Sadducees have much authority, but there is no comparison to these events. Ananias and Sapphira were not tried, convicted, imprisoned or executed by the courts of men; rather, they came before the Apostles, lied and died. Done. There is no indication from the text that Peter was overly angry or even raised his voice. At the same time, I don’t see any sympathy in his question of Ananias, “You have not lied just to human beings but to God” (4:4). Same goes for Sapphira just three hours later, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord?” (4:9).
We are dealing with that which is of great importance, this is not a club, organization of like-minded or business. This is serious business. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8). The first church has no doubt about this fact; we should also agree and take this to heart.
“The whole church” provides some insight into the organization of the body of believers. It’s amazing how quickly we move from Peter’s profound preaching on the day of Pentecost, to “the whole church.” Later in the chapter the Sadducees listen to Gamaliel as he makes the significant observation, “I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39). These prophetic words provide early evidence that the “church” is of God and not of men.
“And all who heard about these events” extends the story beyond the church. It’s interesting how those outside of the church are keenly aware of significant events that happen within the church. Perhaps this was the beginning of “organic outreach” since this would give you an easy conversation piece! “All who heard” means there were many talking about these events. God is serious about our intentions. Don’t join the ranks of Christ-followers with deceptive motivations. Some of these others probably heard and distanced themselves out of fear, while others were likely drawn by the realization that God isn’t joking.
“Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number” (Acts 5:14). Thank you Lord for opening my heart to know you are the God of the universe, the Lord of the harvest, the one and only true God. May we reach out to others who don’t know you and help guide them to your truth, even today.