Acts 5:4 “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.”
You can fool a lot of people a lot of times but there are two people you can never lie to; that’s you and God. We live in a world of deception where people make a lot of promises they don’t keep. People are disenchanted with politicians, distrusting of preachers, and suspicious of people. People are longing for something real.
I think God is looking for real people too. He’s looking for people who do what they say they are going to do. God is the only one who truly knows our potential and he expects us to live up to it.
The early church was composed of some real people. They were on fire about Jesus. Thousands of people were being saved in one day. People were being healed in the streets and there were hardly any poor people among them because the church was taking care of them. This movement of new Christians was threatened with a potential outbreak of a deadly disease. No it wasn’t Ebola but it was close to it. It was greed.
Ananias and Sapphira were a married couple in the church. Like all the others they had agreed to sell some land to help fund the ministry to the poor. When it came time to give Annanias and his wife agreed to lie about how much they sold their land for and gave some but not all to the Apostle Peter. They lied to the Holy Spirit but the Spirit told Peter the truth. Peter asked Annaias some questions I believe God is asking us.
1. How did satan get you to lie to the Holy Spirit about how much money you gave? It was amazing that Annaias could lie like that when he saw God’s miracles first hand. I think for modern day believers its easy for us to lie because we live in a culture of lying. We become numb to lying in church. We lay our offering down knowing it’s not all that we could give. Nobody says anything, so we keep lying.
2. Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? Another way to ask this question is, “didn’t you get the benefit of owning this before it came time to share some of the benefit? God gives us 100% but only asks us to share %10. Didn’t you benefit from what he gave you?
3. After you made some money, wasn’t it at your disposal? Wasn’t it your choice to give God what belonged to him? Nobody made you lie. Disposable income is money you have available after you pay taxes. Does God get his share of your disposable income or has God become disposable?
4. What made you think of doing such a thing? I think fear plays a part in it. We are fearful that God is not going to provide for us after we give. It could be greed. We don’t want to help any poor people. A sense of struggle: I’m struggling financially myself. It’s not equal giving but equal sacrifice that God is looking for. Giving has to do with faith. How big is your faith?
Peter told Annanias, “You have not lied to men but to God!” He fell down and died. Right after that his wife had a chance to tell the truth but she lied like her husband and she died too. Why would God strike down two people for lying about there giving? Because he didn’t want the disease of lying to spread. Ray Charles’ mother told him, “Scratch a lie and find a thief.” God doesn’t want any thieves in his temple.
If we want to stop death in our camp we have to stop lying to the Holy Spirit and stop stealing from God.
Help me to be honest in what I give you. Everything good and perfect comes from you. help us to be honest in giving you what we owe you so that the church can carry out its mission of helping the poor. Work a miracle amongst us. Heal our finances and raise the dead consciousness of those who’ve grown comfortable lying.
In Jesus Name,