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Acts 5 English Standard Version (ESV)
Ananias and Sapphira
1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
Many Signs and Wonders Done
12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. 14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
- The early Christians spent much time in prayer and worship together. They also ate together, fellowshipped, and listened to the apostles’ teaching. And out of their devotion to the life of God came a willing and joyful surrender of their possessions to care for the needs of others.
- They were selling fields and giving the money to the apostles for charitable use, Ananias and Sapphira did the same, but rather than offering all the proceeds to the church, they kept some and claimed they were giving the entire price for the land.
- Peter made it clear that their sin was not in keeping part of the proceeds, but in lying to God, for when they lied to the apostles, they were lying to God. It seems Ananias and Sapphira were bound by their desire for approval or acclaim. They couldn’t give freely and honestly as led by the Holy Spirit, but rather needed to use their giving to increase their reputation. God could not allow such motives to pollute the powerful work of His Spirit in this first body of Christians.
- Verse 11 states that “great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.” Here, as in most places in Scripture, fear of God is no terror, but a reverential awe. The church took seriously the fact that God was alive, active, and present with them. Therefore, living with God warrants the need of being honest with Him.
- Satan will use our weaknesses to come into our heart and influence our decisions. In what ways should you be alert in guarding your actions and thoughts?