But They Gave To The Church!

Acts 5:1 – But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,

Acts 5:2 – And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 5:3 – But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Acts 5:4 – Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Acts 5:5 – And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

Acts 5:6 – And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

Acts 5:7 – And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.

Acts 5:8 – And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.

Acts 5:9 – Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

Acts 5:10 – Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

Hello readers, back again with a new blog today. I recently did a blog on an Ananias that we should aspire to be like. Ananias in Acts 9 who was a help to a new believer, someone God trusted with his word to help Paul see. We should be like that Ananias, someone that can be a true help to a new believer.  But earlier on, in Acts 5, we read of Ananias and Sapphira, a husband and wife who were a couple of bad eggs. They wanted to be seen as helpers of the ministry, but they were deceivers. Often I’ve read this part of scripture and thought wow this was a bit harsh. Ananias and his wife didn’t do a lot wrong here surely, and they even gave money to the church! It all looked right on the surface, but it was rotten, and in fact it wasn’t the Holy Spirit at work in their lives, but Satan.

To understand this story you really have to read the previous chapters and get a grasp of what was going on. Jesus had ascended to heaven, and the gospel was being preached and the church was growing. People were getting saved, and God’s word was spreading like fire. Of course, when God is moving, so is Satan moving to resist, withstand and oppose. The apostles were experiencing persecution for their faith, and you’re not going to be able to follow Jesus Christ without experiencing persecution.

The word of God was being preached. Gunbarrel straight truth, the type that leads to people getting saved… was being declared with great boldness. People were selling what they had to give to the ministry, to provide for the apostles physical and practical needs. And at the end of Acts 4 a guy called Joses sold his land and brought the money and laid it at the apostles feet. Acts 4 is an incredible chapter because despite the opposition, the gospel was preached, believers were in a unity of truth and love that isn’t so common today.

But in Acts 5, there is a change of tone. Acts 5 starts with “But”. There’s always a but it seems. Ananias and his wife also sold a possession, and they brought the money and laid it at the apostle’s feet. Well that’s just like what others were doing! Except one difference, they kept back part of the money. They brought their money under the false pretence of it being the price of that possession they had sold. Oh they’re such givers! They’re so selfless. They’re such good Christians. That’s what they wanted to be seen as.

The thing is, there was nothing wrong with them keeping the money, in fact they should have kept all of it, rather than bring part of it on the false pretence that this was the price that they had sold it for. They lied about what they were giving. Their possession was theirs, and so was the money they sold it for, nothing wrong with that. But the wrong part was then trying to pull a religious trick and get to keep money and also look Christian in the sight of others. Hint, your Christianity isn’t based on you convincing others that you are, it’s based on whether or not you’ve repented of your sin and believed on Jesus Christ. This wasn’t in place, otherwise they wouldn’t have come up with such a creative little strategy to advance their status and finances in one act. Why do so many Christians act like these two today? Because they’re not truly saved, their no change inside, inside they’re full of Satan, even while they’re playing the religious game.

God doesn’t need your money. Often we give and feel like God really owes us now. God is interested in our heart. That’s not a cliche. To obey is better than sacrifice. Behold thou desirest truth in the inward parts. God is far more interested in what’s going on inside. Honestly, it’d be far better not to give, than give to try and impress others and look the part, and ultimately deceive others about who and what you really are. What we see in this story is the problem with religion today. Religion produces these kinds of people. As long as you’re giving we don’t care about that deceptive life and lie you’re living. People get religious and get into the whole lifestyle of doing “what you’re supposed to do”, what you’re pressured or obliged to do. It’s just a constant performance.  Others are doing this and that, so you’ll do it as well to belong or gain acceptance. God’s not interested in that.

You know, the apostles weren’t forcing people to give, they weren’t pressuring them, they weren’t making them feel obliged. People had been giving from the heart, people that God moved to give out of a genuine care for ministry. You have to remember, the apostles had practical needs, they needed clothing and to eat… it’s a Biblical principle to give to those in the ministry. Because you’re really giving to the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s as unto the Lord.

Ananias and Sapphira could’ve just kept the money at it would’ve been fine. The part that they were wrong in was their deception and lying. And the problem was, these guys weren’t’ saved. They were trying to look saved. They were trying to look the part. That’s what’s wrong with Christianity today which is all about looking right rather than actually being right. Ananias and Sapphira were trying to fit in. They saw others selling stuff and bringing the money, and that kinda put a bit of pressure on them to perform. This is what modern churches are like. Everyone is trying to live up to other’s standards. It’s not about God, it’s about keeping up appearances, keeping people’s expectations of you satisfied, meeting a criteria that you are pressure or obliged to do.

But the problem is, there is no spiritual reality to it at all, just like in this story. See, in churches today we’d feel that wow they’re so good they’re giving to the church. That’s all we would have seen. Furthermore that’s probably all we would have cared about. How many pastors and leaders only care about the fact they’re getting money, they couldn’t care less about the heart attitude and spiritual state of the giver. Would you rather they be right with God or that you get the money? Well we see old Peter didn’t care so much about the money. He said it’d been better for you to keep your money Ananias! The thing Peter was worried about was that he was a liar, that Satan had filled his heart. He knew what a Judas Iscariot looked like after those years thinking he was a pretty good bloke only to find out what a lying traitor he was.

Churches today are producing performance, not power. That is, they’re producing  people who aren’t necessarily saved at all, but people who are doing what the group is supposed to do. People don’t really care about obeying God in their own lives, their Christianity is all about what others are doing and what others think. It’s performance, not the power of the Holy Spirit of God in their lives. What’s important is truth. Ananias and his wife were living a lie. It wasn’t about the money, it was about the lie. Ananias was under the power of Satan. We should care about people walking in truth, being right with God, not what we can get out of them. Instead of worrying about how much money they’re getting out of people, worry about the fact that people are saved and in truth. Would you rather no money, but that person at least is saved? Ananias and his wife weren’t even saved.

The fact is, Ananias and Sapphira didn’t even need to give. Nobody had told them to, or asked them to, or obliged them to. They put it on themselves. If they really didn’t want to give, why did they? To look the part, to do what others were doing, to gain acceptance and recognition of being those who gave. They thought they had it all figured out. It’s amazing how devious and inventive people can be, this was a pretty smart plan, they’d get to look good and godly and giving… and also get money as well! Winner winner! But no, Peter wasn’t fooled, because God isn’t fooled.

Stop doing things just to look the part, because that’s what others are doing, stop doing things to impress and fool others into thinking more of you than you really are. Peter confronted Ananias first, and his wife came in hours later, and she certified the lie they had agreed upon. These guys truly had no spiritual life inside. That’s the problem with producing Christians, but not true conversions. So often we are trying to make people who perform right and perform to our standards, rather than trying to make people who are saved by the power of God through the preaching of the word of God.

Salvation isn’t about ticking performance boxes, it’s about believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m a sinner deserving of hell and Jesus saved me from my sins. That’s what the apostles were preaching. They were saying what Jesus had said, they were preaching God’s word, they were bearing witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Would you rather an unsaved giver or a saved person who you aren’t getting anything out of? How about let God take care of what people do in their lives, and let the Holy Spirit work in their hearts and lives.

Ananias and Sapphira had agreed on the lie. But just because you agree on your lie, doesn’t make it any less a lie. How much agreement that liars and deceivers make today, but it doesn’t change the truth of the matter. These guys had no salvation, they were pretenders and performers. They really cared about money, and they were just trying to manipulate religion to further themselves. Jesus saw a widow who gave one mite and she gave more than those casting into the treasury of their abundance. What’s important is are you right with God, are you walking in truth… are you saved, are you born again of the Spirit of God?

Are you like Ananias and Sapphira, all your giving and good works, it’s just a performance designed to look the part, to make you look better, because you feel obliged and pressured to? Is your salvation and your life and your “good works” just a lie?  Yes, giving is Biblical, but more important is the truth. Christianity today is producing a lot of performance and behaviour… but not much true salvation, which is what it is really all about. And false Christianity fosters lies and deception as who people really are and what they really want to do is a balancing act with meeting Christian expectations. True Christianity should not produce lives that are lies. Look how Peter confronted this, he didn’t put up with it. Biblical giving just flows from a saved heart that loves God. We should all look at our motives and look at ourselves, who and what are we really? Ananias and Sapphira tried fooling God, but they only fooled themselves. Your own lie will bury you. The solution is repentance and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ, believe on him today, and he will deliver you from a life of lies.

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Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)

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