Act 5:2 with her full knowledge and consent, dishonestly kept back part of the price which he received for it, though he brought the rest and gave it to the Apostles.
Act 5:3 "Ananias," said Peter, "why has Satan taken possession of your heart, that you should try to deceive the Holy Spirit and dishonestly keep back part of the price paid you for this land?
Act 5:4 While it remained unsold, was not the land your own? And when sold, was it not at your own disposal? How is it that you have cherished this design in your heart? It is not to men you have told this lie, but to God."
Act 5:5 Upon hearing these words Ananias fell down dead, and all who heard the words were awe-struck.
Act 5:6 The younger men, however, rose, and wrapping the body up, carried it out and buried it.
Act 5:9 "How was it," replied Peter, "that you two agreed to try an experiment upon the Spirit of the Lord? The men who have buried your husband are already at the door, and they will carry you out."
1. In the Old Testament there was the incident where Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihou tried to use strange fire and fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them.
Num_3:4 And Nadab and Abihu died before Jehovah when they offered strange fire before Jehovah in the wilderness of Sinai. And they had no sons. And Eleazar and Ithamar ministered as priest in the presence of Aaron their father. Lev_10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offered strange fire before Jehovah, which He had not commanded them.
Violation of God’s law and punishmentIn Leviticus 9 and Exodus 30, God outlines a proper sacrifice to him. Aaron, the chief priest, was to present all offerings representing himself and the people.
Moses said to Aaron, “Come to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and the people; sacrifice the offering that is for the people and make atonement for them, as the LORD has commanded.”
— Leviticus 9:7 New International VersionGod would send his own fire to consume the sacrifice as a sign of his presence.
When Nadab and Abihu lit the offering in the censers themselves, the fire was unauthorized and God was not in it. They prepared an incense offering upon kindling of their own. No offering of incense had been ordered. Aaron’s sons neglected the command to wait for holy fire and offered incense with unauthorized fire. Anyone who altered the sacrificial system assumed a prerogative belonging to God alone. God determines the judgments that are carried out against those who either add to or take away from the declarations of God.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadab_and_Abihu#cite.
Now Look at Ananias and Sapphira
2. Ananias . . . gave up the ghost. Fell down and expired. There was a visible judgment upon him for his great sin. It was inflicted by the Holy Spirit through Peter, and shows how hypocrisy is regarded by the Lord.
Compare Act_4:36-37; Act_5:1-11 Ananias and Barnabas
The Spirit of God is the source of generous and liberal giving. It is a poor substitute to set up bazaars, and fairs, and ice cream suppers. When the Church is filled with the Holy Spirit, her pockets will be easily emptied before His gracious, thawing presence. Let the sun arise in the heavens, and the frozen streams are instantly liberated and begin to sing on their way to transform wildernesses into gardens.
Mark the contrast between Ananias and Barnabas. The same phrases are applied to each.
The sin of Ananias was not in keeping back part of the purchase money, but in pretending to have brought all to the Apostle. He wished to pose as a saint, and at the same time to line his own nest. In the act of consecration, we must not allow one corner for Satan or selfishness to possess, because instantly we shall have to concede the right of way, and a thoroughfare will be opened, along which all manner of contraband may be smuggled in. Peter had no doubt as to the personality of the Holy Spirit. You cannot lie to an influence! Note the interchange of Holy Spirit and God in Act_4:3-4. F.B. Meyer
1. Don’t presume to do something that is not in your authority to do.
2. Hypocrites in the church yes. But God will deal with them in due time. Don’t play ‘God’.