8 May. Acts 4:32-5:11

8 May. Two followers die after lying to the Holy Spirit

“The group of believers were united in their hearts and spirit. All those in the group acted as though their private property belonged to everyone in the group. In fact, they shared everything.”

“With great power, the apostles were telling people that the Lord Jesus was truly raised from the dead. And God blessed all the believers very much. No one in the group needed any thing. From time to time those who owned fields or houses sold them, brought the money, and gave it to the apostles. Then the money was given to anyone who needed it.”

“One of the believers was named Joseph, a Levite [who served in the Jewish Temple] born in Cyprus. The apostles called him Barnabas (which means ‘one who encourages’). Joseph [Barnabas] owned a field, sold it, brought the money and gave it to the apostles.”

“But a man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold some land. He kept back part of the money for himself; his wife knew about this and agreed to it. But he brought the rest of the money and gave it to the apostles.”

“Peter said, ‘Ananias, why did you let Satan rule your thoughts to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep for yourself part of the money you received for the land?... You lied to God, not to us!’ When Ananias heard this, He fell down and died...”

“About three hours later his wife came in, but she did not know what had happened… Peter said to her, ‘Why did you and your husband agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.'”

“At that moment Sapphira fell down by his feet and died… The whole church and all the others who heard about these things were filled with fear.”

          (Acts 4:32 – 5:11)



This fascinating incident in the early life of the Christian community immediately teaches us two things:
1. There’s no point in lying to God because he already knows the truth!
2. You can’t mess with the Holy Spirit – he is too holy to tolerate dodgy dealings.

Many people who read this passage miss the whole point of it. Superficially, at first sight, it appears that God punished Ananias and Sapphira because they withheld from the apostles part of the purchase price of the land they sold.

But that’s not what it says if you look at the story closely. In fact, Ananias and Sapphira suffered because they lied to the apostles (and to the Holy Spirit) about the amount of money they’d received from the sale of their land.

They’d decided to keep some of the money to provide for their own needs (which was OK) but they lied by saying they were giving the whole amount away (which was wrong). And they paid a terrible price for lying to the Holy Spirit.

How often do WE lie to God?
We tell him we’re sorry and then act as if we’re not;
We tell him we’ll do better and then we don’t change at all;
We promise to give all we can to help others and then decide to keep much of our wealth for ourselves;
We promise to pray for someone and then forget to do so:
We commit to reading God’s word and then find ourselves too busy to read and listen to him.

But we cannot tinker with the Holy Spirit; If we deliberately lie to him there will be serious consequences. So be warned, and don’t make rash promises that you’ve no intention of fulfilling…

Remember Jesus’s words: “Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Luke 1210).

So an unbeliever who begins every other sentence with the word “Jesus” can be forgiven when they come to know Jesus as their Lord; but someone who already knows Jesus and then lies to the Holy Spirit is committing the “unforgivable sin”. You cannot mess around with the Holy Spirit without serious consequences!

The photo (by Rastaman3000) shows the entrance to a street market (Suq Aftimos) in Jerusalem.

You can read more about the way the early disciples lived @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/the-believers-share-thei…/.

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