But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife's consent, he kept the rest.
Then Peter said, "Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren't lying to us but to God!"
As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, "Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?"
"Yes," she replied, "that was the price."
And Peter said, "How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too."
— Acts 5:1-9 NLT
The evil one, Satan, doesn't sit still when a move of God empowered by the Spirit is working among his people. Barnabas had done something good to bless the Lord’s people with his generosity (Acts 4:36-37). Satan planted it in the hearts of Ananias and Sapphira to try to look good and have a reputation of generosity. All the while they were lying about their gift. Peter confronted them on this lie. This Satan-deceived couple was lying to the Holy Spirit, to the apostles, to God, and to the people. While the consequences for Ananias and Sapphira were fatal, the warning for us is two-fold:
- Lying to the church is lying to God — something God takes very seriously.
- We must be aware of and resist the devil's schemes as he tries to distort and disrupt God's people when things are going well.
When things are going well, we must be vigilant, for Satan is at the door looking to distort, deceive, and devour!
Father, forgive me when I worry more about what people think of me than I focus on my heart being pure. I want to be a person of integrity. I ask that the Holy Spirit awaken my heart to any dishonesty or pride that might reside there. Cleanse me and purify me of any false motives so I can serve you, O LORD, and your people, as a blessing. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.