"But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property. However, he kept back part of the proceeds with his wife’s knowledge, and brought a portion of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds from the field? Wasn’t it yours while you possessed it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? Why is it that you planned this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God!” When he heard these words, Ananias dropped dead, and a great fear came on all who heard. The young men got up, wrapped his body, carried him out, and buried him. There was an interval of about three hours; then his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. “Tell me,” Peter asked her, “did you sell the field for this price?” “Yes,” she said, “for that price.” Then Peter said to her, “Why did you agree 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!”” (Acts 5:1–9, HCSB)
I picked this section of scripture during my morning quiet time because it reminded me of the many times I have gone back and forth on if God sees what I do. I know it sounds crazy, yes I know God sees everything, but for me to have this conversation with myself, and act as if God does not see me is yes, crazy. As crazy as it sounds, you would be surprised how many people do this very thing on a daily basis. Now everyone may not have the little conversations, but some of us just simply go about our business as if He is not there. Acts 5:1-9 ministered to me about this subject.
I want to give a little background to the Ananias and Sapphira story. At this time, the church was vulnerable, and the Holy Spirit was at work establish a solid foundation for the early church. The church suffered previous defeats with Judas and Peter. Peter repented and was the very instrument used to put down the developing issue. What looked like public generosity for the church was a lie. The Holy Spirit was not going to allow a defeat at this critical time, so He acted. You might say, “But Scott, they were believers!” I know that part scared me too! There is nothing wrong with a fear factor when it involves God. God says: “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12
Ananias and Sapphira wanted public adoration without sacrifice. In Acts 4:32 it says the group “were of one heart and mind and no one said that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common.”
Ananias and Sapphira allowed Satan to gain control of their hearts. That is why Peter asked Ananias, “why has Satan filled your heart…” Newsflash!!! You can be filled with lies from both Satan and yourself. They were not punished for giving but for lying to God. They both at some point had the same crazy conversation I mentioned earlier or acted as if God could not see them. They did not have to offer the money to God, they could have kept it, but they decided lie to the people but in essence they were lying to the Holy Spirit.
Question: How does this happen?
When I sit there and start rationalizing or better yet, start lying to myself, who do you think is talking? It’s me! I start acting like it is somebody else, and it is like sending the crazy train down the tracks. The things I do to justify wrong behavior. I do all of this while pretending God is looking the other way. This all happens in the expanse of a few seconds. Do you see how fast sin gets out of control? When we are full of ourselves and not full of the word of God, we start to listen to ourselves and other lost people’s with horrible advice…poor Sapphira. The word of God tells us to be careful about this, and for good reason:
“The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, HCSB)
Who do you feed on a daily basis, the Spirit or the flesh? Let me ask you a question, how do you feel about reading extra verses to get God's view on the subject? Are you feeling a little angry or are you excited to hear from God? I’m just saying.
Both you and Satan can fill your heart.
“Then a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will entice him." (1 Kings 22:21, HCSB)
“So the LORD God asked the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “It was the serpent. He deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:13, HCSB)
“Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:3–4, HCSB)
“Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him.” (John 13:2, HCSB)
“Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count the people of Israel. (1 Chronicles 21:1, HCSB)
Fill your heart with the Holy Spirit.
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.” (Ephesians 6:11, HCSB)
“Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, HCSB)
“Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.” (1 Peter 5:8, HCSB)
God sees it all.
“They say, “The LORD doesn’t see it. The God of Jacob doesn’t pay attention.” Pay attention, you stupid people! Fools, when will you be wise? Can the One who shaped the ear not hear, the One who formed the eye not see? The One who instructs nations, the One who teaches man knowledge— does He not discipline? The LORD knows man’s thoughts; they are meaningless.” (Psalm 94:7–11, HCSB)
“Woe to those who go to great lengths to hide their plans from the LORD. They do their works in darkness, and say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”” (Isaiah 29:15, HCSB)
Did you make a vow to give your life over to God on the day of your salvation?
“When a man makes a vow to the LORD or swears an oath to put himself under an obligation, he must not break his word; he must do whatever he has promised.” (Numbers 30:2, HCSB)
“If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to keep it, because He will require it of you, and it will be counted against you as sin.” (Deuteronomy 23:21, HCSB)
We must remember; God is 100% holy, do not assume God is like us…He sees it all, so show Him the respect and love He deserves and serve Him with an open heart. I like Charles Spurgeon’s take on the heart, the secret place where we have our little conversations:
If you should fire at a man, and the bullet were unexpectedly turned aside, you would be as truly guilty as if your victim had died. Human law might not call you a murderer, because human law is obliged very much to judge a sin by the effect. But the Lord looks at the heart and weighs the motive, the desire, and the design.
Stop talking to yourself and start talking to God. Prayer & bible study.
Posted on Thu, June 19, 2014
by Sam Petitfils