Chapter Five — Part One: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 05/16/2021

Foundation Scriptures:
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part 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 keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. 7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things. Acts 5:1-11 NKJV

1. Ananias and Sapphira.
a. Ananias and Sapphira saw the people selling their property and/or land and bringing the proceeds to the disciples.
b. They decided to sell a piece of land they owned, but to only bring part of the proceeds.
c. They were fully entitled to bring as much, or as little, of it as they wanted.
d. But they wanted to look good in front of everybody else.
e. Because of pride, they lied and became hypocrites.
f. Hypocrisy is deliberate deception.
g. We are hypocritical when we pretend to be something we are not—when we “wear a mask (pretend)” or “play a role (acting).”
h. When we are more concerned with our reputation than our character, we will go to any length to look good in front of others.
i. Ananias means “God is gracious,” but God is also holy.
j. Sapphira means “beautiful,” but her heart was made ugly with sin.

2. Do Not Lie to the Holy Ghost.
a. Peter was operating in the gifts of the Spirit: word of knowledge and discerning of spirits.
b. He asked them: Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?
c. Satan deceived Ananias and Sapphira and tempted them to do this thing, but it was still their choice.
d. He also asked: Why have you conceived this thing in your heart?
e. This implies that it was a planned deception, not a last-minute decision.
f. Satan is a liar and a murderer (John 8:44)—he lied to them and they lied to the Holy Ghost.
g. And it led to their deaths.
h. This was not a case of church discipline but of God’s personal judgment.
i. God was protecting His Church from ungodliness.
j. It may seem shocking that God would kill two people because they lied about a business transaction and a church offering, because other people do this to Him all the time.
k. But God is not mocked—they will be judged at some point (Gal. 6:7).
l. “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matt. 4:7).
m. We must realize how holy these things are to the Lord, and how important it is for us to not treat them lightly.
n. God made an example of them and it was a powerful and valuable lesson to the Church.
o. Hebrews 10:30-31 KJV — For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

3. God’s Judgement.
a. Sin cannot stand in the presence of God.
b. In the Old Testament, there was swift judgement on the ungodliness of their disobedient and rebellious ancestors, under Moses (1 Cor. 10:1-11).
c. 1 Corinthians 10:11 ERV — The things that happened to those people are examples. They were written to be warnings for us.
d. When the temple was newly built, Nadab and Abihu tried to burn strange fire before the Lord, and a fire went out from the Lord and devoured them (Lev. 10:1-3).
e. Achan violated the explicit commandment of God not to take any of the accursed things from Jericho and brought the judgment of God upon the nation of Israel, his entire family and everything he owned (Joshua 7).
f. God is not responsible for the choices of these people, but He used their judgment as a serious warning to all.

4. Deception.
a. If the devil cannot defeat you from the outside, he will try to get it you from within.
b. Which why it is so important for you to protect your heart from lies, pride, and covetousness.
c. The devil tries to tempt everybody—some people take the bait, and some do not.
d. What is the difference?
e. James 1:13-14 tells us: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
f. People succumb to temptation because of their own lusts—covetousness; pride; sexual sins; rebellion.
g. The Bible tells us to flee—run away from—fornication; idolatry; covetousness, selfishness; greed; youthful lusts (1 Cor. 6:18; 1 Cor. 10:14; 1 Tim. 6:10; 2 Tim. 2:22).
h. But pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, peace, love, patience, meekness—together with them who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (1 Tim. 6:10; 2 Tim. 2:22).
i. The Lord has provided protections for you—the armor of God—against the schemes and attacks of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-13).