1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
At the end of Acts chapter 4 we see the Holy Spirit moving the ENTIRE church to leverage or even sell EVERYTHING they own in order to support the ministry of the Apostles and care for the poor. Ananias and Sapphira attempted to deceive God and the church by trying to APPEAR as radically generous as their fellow church members, without actually offering EVERYTHING that they had. The sin they committed was not withholding some of the revenue for themselves… it was the attempt to hide the fact that they were withholding some for themselves. This attempted deception revealed the hypocrisy and selfishness of their hearts. God used the PHYSICAL deaths of Ananias and Sapphirah to reveal that they were both already SPIRITUALLY dead, and that anyone who misrepresents the Character and Name of God will suffer the same spiritual death.
Examine the motives and overall health of your heart by HONESTLY answering the following questions about yourself:
Am I just going through the motions of religion in an effort to hide my selfishness from others?
Do I actually long to be used by God… or do I just long for the APPEARANCE of faithfulness, generosity, holiness, etc.?
Do I believe that I’ll be saved by actually knowing God… or simply by being a part of the congregation of people who know God?
Am I currently living the sacrificial lifestyle modeled by the life of Jesus and the actions of the early church?
Heavenly Father, you are the author of radical love, selflessness, faithfulness, and every other attractive quality. I repent of every attempt I’ve ever made, or am currently making, to try to justify myself by convincing you and/or others that I possess those same qualities. I recognize that knowing you more and walking more closely with you will enable me to live in a more radically loving, selfless and faithful manner. Thank you for the grace and power to continue making war against the hypocrisy and selfishness that lives in me. I invite you to use me for YOUR KINGDOM, and that the desire to build MY KINGDOM or MY COMFORT will die within me. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.