“Then Peter said to her, ‘How is it that you have agreed together 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 5:9
What would it be like to have your Church service interrupted next “Lord’s Day” with an experience as that of Acts chapter 5? The brothers in the congregation had sensed that a part of their new found faith in Christ should be sharing in their bounties. It was not something that was demanded of them, rather it was a sense of the appreciation they had one for the other. They even went to the extreme of selling property and giving it to God to be used to assist others.
Such was the case of two individuals, Ananias and Sapphira. They sold property and brought it to the feet of the Apostles, and under pretense indicated it to be the entire amount. All the while they were “keeping back some of the price of the land”.
One does not play games with God! The disciples saw through the trickery and we have that reminder: “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
God gives every person a “stewardship”. It was under Ananias control and remained so until the moment he yielded to Satan and pretended to dispense “every last penny” to the work of the Lord. When Ananias did this, it says two specific things: “Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it.”(Acts 5:3, 4)
Sapphira, his wife, came by three hours later. Her pretense was readily exposed and she was asked: “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to test?”(v9) She breathed her last and was carried and buried next to her husband by the same bearers.
Both times this happened, “great fear fell upon the church, and over all who heard of these things.” (v11) Why God has not continued to act in the same manner, as was the case in Acts 5 , may seem strange to us, however, it is not beyond His wisdom.
Most importantly is the fact that God revealed His establishment of the Church, His bride. He desires honesty on our part. There is to be no lying to HIM. How long His tolerance will be demonstrated is known to Him alone!