Word for the Week...MAY 16 ---22 / 2005

"But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, (v.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.(v.3) But Peter said, Ananias, why hath satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Ghost and to keep back part of the price of the land?(v.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 thy heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. (v.5) And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the Ghost:and great fear came on all them that heard these things.(v.6) And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out and buried him.(v.7) And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done came in. (v.8) And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? and she said Yea, for so much.(v.9)Then Peter said unto her, how is it that you 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. (v.10) Then she fell 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.(v.11) And great fear came upon the Church and upon as many as heard these things."    

There are a number of things in this passage which we would do well to consider carefully and prayerfully ! Firstly, why did Ananias conpire to do such a thing? Second, what kind of relationship did Peter have with God?Third, what lessons can we learn, in the Church today, about giving to God. Fourth, what does this passage tell us about God?

1. Ananias and his wife were like so many in the Church today,  who believe they know better than God !!! The spirit of sacrificial giving,as exemplified by Barnabas in the previous chapter, was not on their 'agenda' ! Their whole motivation was to appear good, if not very good, in the eyes of men, gain a glowing reputation as 'patrons' of the Church and then wield power and influence, at odds with The Will of God ! They were decieved themselves, and they attempted to decieve the Man of God, Peter, as well as the whole Church.

2. Peter had such a close walk with God that he was continually moving in the Gifts of The Holy Spirit. The Lord gave Peter discernment of this sin through 'the word of knowledge' . This disclosed to Peter, that which, before, had been kept secret. God looks at the heart...                  (1 Sam.16:7). He knows all things- He is Omniscient and He chooses, by His Grace, to endow His servants with such Gifts. As the Leader of the fledgling Church in Jerusalem at that time, Peter had a great responsibility to maintain the highest standards of holiness and reverence towards God, Who was moving powerfully in their midst in signs, wonders and miracles. The Church was increasing, in number and maturity, on a daily basis. It's very existence, however, amidst an array of cults and philosophies, was dependant on total transparency and accountability before God. What Ananias and his wife had done was no light matter, but needed to be dealt with as an example, in Peter's pronouncement of judgement, so that no-one else would consider doing such a thing for a long time to come.

3. We can learn that we ought to give to God with a pure heart-motivation, avoiding double-mindedness, anxiety and reluctance, because God loves a cheeerful giver...(2Cor.9:7). Wholehearted giving, joyful and spontaneous, always meets with God's approval, in contrast to Ananias and his wife's conniving, plotting and scheming, which incurred God's judgement.

4. There is a saying that 'you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time ! but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time !' If this is true of people, how can anyone think they can fool God?!!! Their Creator Is Omnipresent, (everywhere),Omnipotent, (all-powerful), and Omniscient (all-knowing). satan is a liar...he always was and he always will be...His end is the Lake of Fire..(Rev.20:10). Ananias and his wife sided with satan and lied to God, Who Is not mocked...(Gal.6:7).Thei end is outside the City...(Rev.22:15).God's judgement goes hand- in- hand with His love. In this day of 'anything goes' Christianity, we need to bear this in mind.                                                                               

 May The Lord Bless you, as you seek His Face.      

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