Don't Lie to God
Terry J. Hallock
Acts 5:1-11; 1 John 1:5-10
March 9, 1997
This morning's Scripture confronts us with a disturbing scene we might wish to skip over but we must not. It holds a truth we must understand if we're to personally know the victory Jesus can give and if we're to create the Church we've always longed to be.
The scene is Jerusalem where the fledgling fellowship of believers in Jesus is creating the first Church. Acts 4 tells us that because they were "one in heart and mind" and shared everything, some who owned property would often sell it and give the proceeds as an offering that would then be used by the Church to feed the hungry and care for the widows and orphans among them. There was no institutional rule that told them to do it. Each person simply responded to the Spirit and freely gave what they felt led to give. With that background, here is the story.
(Read Acts 5:1-11) Why did Ananias and Sapphira drop dead at Peter's feet? Was it because they hadn't sold enough property and brought a big enough offering to satisfy Peter? No. Peter hadn't ordered them to make the sale. Nor had he told them what they were to make from it. Did they because they lied to Peter and the Church? That would seem to be the cause but it is not. Remember what Peter said to Ananias? "Didn't it (the land) belong to your before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal?" Ananias and Sapphira were under no obligation to give anything they had not promised to give.
Here's the reason they died. "You have not lied to men BUT TO GOD." They had made an open vow to God to give Him ALL the money they had earned from the sale of their land, not SOME of it. But then they turned around, slapped the Lord in the face and sacrificed their integrity in order to skim from the proceeds. Their deaths didn't occur because they tried to put one over on Peter but because they tried to pull a fast one on God. The moment they sacrificed their integrity on the altar of greed they signed their own death warrants. When Peter's confrontation laid bare the darkness of their hidden sin in contrast to the pure light of God, the difference was more than they could stand. It was their guilt that destroyed them!
Yet that shouldn't come as great surprise. The Word says that is the result when we play games with God and sell our integrity for what we think will be a more precious victory in the world. "Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, 'Who sees us? Who will know?'" (Isaiah 29:15)
I believe God preserved the tragic story of Ananias and Sapphira in His Word so that you and I could learn this life-saving lesson. We have nothing if we don't have integrity with God, and that indispensable integrity must begin with our willingness to be transparent about our sin and our need for a Savior. Listen to First John 1:5-10. "This is the message we have hea ...
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