"1Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.
3Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4Didn'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 to men but to God."
5When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price."
9Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."
10At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events."
Ananias & Sapphira
Many versions of Acts 5:1 begin with the word "But."
If we were reading the book of Acts without the division of chapters, we would be comparing the good deeds of Barnabas with the good deeds of Ananias & Sapphira. Both sold a piece of property and gave freely to the needs of the church. However there was one difference. Ananias & Sapphira were not totally honest. Whether it was to receive recognition and praise just like Barnabas received or their love of money, we do not know. We do know they intentionally kept back some of the money, yet acted as though they gave everything. They purposely lied to God. . . together. Shall we call it hypocrisy?
Peter was very direct when he asked Ananias "How is that Satan has so filled your heart? AND that you have lied to the Holy Spirit?" Then Peter simply outlined Ananias' options before and after he sold the land.
Peter did not pronounce a curse on Ananias, there was no sentences of death in Peter's words. I'm sure Peter was SHOCKED when Ananias fell down dead! (Peter probably re-evaluated his approach in future disciplining!) It is important to recognize that God hates sin and understand that the consequences are life threatening!
The story continues, Sapphira comes to the place where Ananias met Peter and she is questioned about the land, the money, and putting the Spirit to the test. Unity is important BUT obeying God is MORE important. She had the opportunity to confess her sin, but chose not to. She fell and took her last breath also. We know God's hand was in this, but the exact cause of death is not known.
One of the most striking lessons in this section is that why we do something is as important as what we do. (Mat. 6:1-4).
GREAT FEAR came over all who heard of these things. Should we all have a twinge of fear knowing God has the same capability to do the same to us today? WHY???
It was the first time the word "church" is used in the New Testament. Luke probably inserted the word church to emphasize that what happened was not just intended as a lesson for those outside the church. It also has a vital message for those within the church, TAKE SIN SERIOUSLY!!!