Ananias had everything going for him. His name meant “Yahweh has been gracious.” He had a gem of a wife (*wink*), Sapphira, whose name meant Precious. He had a lot of lands.
How do I know? He sold a field. This field was not inherited from his father. You did not sell the inherited land. You passed it down to your children or nearest relative.
He bought the field as an investment. Maybe he wanted to expand his business but later changed his mind. It’s possible he brought the price he paid for the field and kept the profit.
The problem was not the field or the money – it was his motives. He wanted admiration like Joseph, called Barnabas got. We read about him in Acts 4:36-37. His name meant “Son of Comfort.” Others sold fields (and houses!) giving the money to the disciples, see Acts 4:34.
Ananias conspired with Sapphira to donate most of the money to look good. They lied about the amount and both paid for it with their life.
Acts 5:11, “…They knew God was not to be trifled with.” The Message
The event put the fear of God into everyone. God sees what we cannot see. He sees motives and sin in our hearts.
He also sees hearts that are searching for Him. They need someone to share the “Good News” with them. They need someone to spell out the “Save Me, Jesus, Prayer!” That is why God gave these instructions to the disciples.
Acts 5:20, “Go to the Temple and take your stand. Tell the people everything there is to say about this Life.” The Message
You can’t out-give God. God blessed those who sold fields and houses, donating the money. Ananias saw them getting richer. That may have been another motive.
Proverbs 8:20, “A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.” The Message
This chapter gave examples of other leaders. They made something of a splash, claimed they were somebody, and acquired followers. (Dear Lord, I’m sorry I mentioned the new followers yesterday. Forgive me. Amen.)
Acts 5:36-37, “Not long ago Theudas made something of a splash, claiming to be somebody, and got about four hundred men to join him. He was killed, his followers dispersed, and nothing came of it. (37) A little later, at the time of the census, Judas the Galilean appeared and acquired a following. He also fizzled out and the people following him were scattered to the four winds.” The Message
They fizzled out! Human programs fall apart. But there is nothing you can do about God’s work. You can’t fight God!
Acts 5:38-39, “So I am telling you: Hands off these men. Let them alone. If this program or work is merely human, it will fall apart, (39) but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it – and you better not be found fighting against God.” The Message
The disciples were witnesses of Jesus’ life. They endured horrific atrocities and died as martyrs. Yet, they never changed their message.
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