The Ananias and Sapphira Story

An interesting event happened in Acts chapter 5. It relays a story to us about a man called Ananias along with his wife Sapphira.

Throughout the Bible, God has revealed many devastating events. We find most of them in the Old Testament, but the New Testament has its share also. 

At the end of Acts 4, it says that people sold big-ticket items like homes and properties. Then they brought the money to the apostles so they could distribute it to those in need.

Ananias and Sapphira got caught up in the spirit of giving. They, however, lacked honesty and integrity. The first couple of verses in chapter 5 made that quite plain.

But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest. Acts 5:1-2

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In today’s church economy, we would have loved to receive any size offering. And the early church would have too if given with honesty and integrity.

Maybe you think God might have acted a bit too harshly. But the Lord did set an unforgettable precedent. One He included in His Holy Word.

Ananias gladly handed his money over to Peter. But Peter knew something that nobody else could have known. Who told the apostle that this man lacked honesty? Who else but the Lord?

Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself.Acts 5:3

Something Went Wrong

All of a sudden this good gesture turned very bad. We don’t know if Peter knew how this would end for Ananias. But he explained to him that honesty was more important than his gift.

The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!” Acts 5:4

What possible motive could Ananias of had to do such a thing? Maybe when he laid the money out he expected everyone to high-five him or pat him on the back. That didn’t happen though. 

As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him. Acts 5:5-6

Three hours later his wife, Sapphira came in and Peter questioned her about the gift they gave. Probably looking for the support of her husband she told the apostle the amount was correct.

And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.” Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. Acts 5:9-10

Ananias and Sapphira

This Wasn’t the Old Testament

This wasn’t an Old Testament event where we read about God raining fire from heaven. Or how about what happened when Korah rebelled against Moses and God?

The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned. Numbers 16:32

No, this happened after the death and resurrection of Jesus. This couple, Ananias and Sapphira apparently had received Christ as their Savior. In other words, they were Christians.

It almost seemed like everyone expected something like this to happen. Like the young men who carried Ananais were just standing and waiting. But that wasn’t the case at all.

Everyone who heard about it was terrified. Acts 5:5

Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened. Acts 5:11

This Ananias and Sapphira Story Should Concern All of Us

Ananias and Sapphira

Just because this happened in the first century doesn’t mean it shouldn’t concern us now. This event should stick in every Christian’s mind, especially one considering any kind of dishonesty.

Do you think, sometimes we forget that we can’t hide anything from God? Or maybe you’re under the impression that God doesn’t do things like that anymore. Maybe not, but He could.

Earlier I stated, the Lord set an unforgettable precedent when this couple dropped dead. He gave a visible example to this young church that He will not tolerate dishonesty.

Sometimes His methods in dealing with these types of issues aren’t as obvious. But we can rest assured that the Lord does or will take of them. There is, however, one positive way out.

If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9

Ananias and Sapphira Deceived Themselves

Ananias and Sapphira thought their actions were noble and generous. And for the most part, they were. Their gift wasn’t the problem. Their attitude and motive caused their demise.

Proverbs 6 mentions six things the Lord hates. That list includes a lying tongue. The writer of Proverbs also said some other things about dishonesty.

  • People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed. Proverbs 10:9
  • Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed. Proverbs 12:19
  • The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth. Proverbs 12:22

Through the Apostle Peter, God exposed the words of Ananias and Sapphira. Then He showed the entire church, including us today how much He detested those words.

Paul gave us a final thought for this writing in the fourth chapter of Ephesians.

Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. Ephesians 4:23-25

Lord, renew our thoughts and attitudes. Help us to put on our new nature which is righteous and holy. Check us Lord when we are tempted to tell even a small white lie.

Check out some other posts written on chapters in the Book of Acts

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