The Case of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)
We are told that Ananias and Sapphira sold their property and gave the proceeds to the apostles. But there was one difference in their case that was not present in the case of Barnabus. They sod the property for a certain amount and then tried to deceive the apostles by only giving a portion of the amount received. It was their money to use as they saw fit. There was no sin in keeping back a portion of the money . The sin came when they tried to deceive. The sin was in lying to the Holy Spirit. Lying not to men but to God. The Holy Spirit is God.
Peter tells us that it was Satan who filled Ananias’s heart. Peter had foreknowledge of this sin. Verse 4 tells us that the practice of selling ones land and then giving the proceeds to the church was voluntary. After Peter had told Ananias that he had not lied to man but to God, Ananias fell dead on the spot. God had decided that his sin was 30 great that death was the sentence. We are told that he was buried the same hour. Three hours later Sapphira came on the scene. Peter asked her if the price that Ananias had mentioned was the full amount received for the sale of the land. After she answered in the affirmative, she too was struck dead on the spot for lying to the Holy Spirit.
There is a question that needs to be asked. I am not sure there is an answer. Were Ananias and Sapphira believers who sinned or were they hypocrites who were never saved? If they were Christians, were they lost because of their sin? It would seem that they were, at one time, sincere believers who let Satan tempt them to lie to the Holy Spirit, remember that lying to the Holy Spirit is not the unpardonable sin. I do not have the answer to the question of whether they were saved or lost. We’ll just have to trust that God has made the right decision.
The Continued Growth of the Church: Acts 5:12-16
Verse 12 tells us that the twelve continued to do signs and wonders. The people held the church in high esteem. The Record tells us that many were being saved. The twelve were healing the sick. People were coming from all around the city to be healed.
Trouble from Without; The 12 Arrested: Acts 5:17-26
Again the persecution came from the High Priest and his Sadduceean allies. This time they put the twelve in jail. During the night, God performed a miracle. They were released by an angel who told them to go to the temple and teach the people the old, old story of Jesus and His love.
At daybreak, the apostles entered into the temple to teach the people. When the Sanhedrin was called to order, they sent word to have the twelve brought before them. In verse 22-23 the officers found the cells locked, the guards at their posts, but when they opened the cells there was no one to be found. The captain of the temple guard and the chief priests couldn’t figure out what had happened. Then someone came and told them that the twelve were teaching in the temple. The captain of the temple guard, himself, went to arrest the twelve. They brought them back peacefully to the Sanhedrin because they were afraid of the multitudes.
The Twelve On Trial: Acts 5:27-40
The High Priest, who was a member of the Sadducees, presided over the Sanhedrin. He wanted to know why the apostles had defied his orders not to speak about Jesus. He was also upset that the twelve were putting the blame for the death of Jesus on the Council. The twelve told him that they must obey (rod rather than man. The Bible teaches that when there is a conflict between God’s law and man’s laws, God’s must take precedence.
Again the apostles take the opportunity to testify of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Sanhedrin is told that it was the “God of our Fathers” who raised Jesus from the depths of the grave. The Lord Jesus Christ i3 the Prince or Author of our salvation (Heb. 12:2). Jesus was at the right hand of the Father, ready to grant the nation of Israel forgiveness of her sins if only she would accept His Messiahship.
Again the twelve testify of the resurrection of Jesus, which they were witnesses. They preached the same message. It is here that the Word tells us that God gives the Holy Spirit to all who obey. This was more than the Sanhedrin could take. The High Priest and his allies were ready to condemn the twelve to death.
In verse 34 we see that the apostles found an ally in the person of the Pharisee, Gamaleil. This is not to say that Gamaleil was on their side, but he was willing to let God judge the movement. What were some of the fact about this man? We are told that he was a Pharisee, a Teacher of the Law, and that he was respected by all the people. He was also the teacher of Saul Of Tarsus, who later became Paul the Apostle. They ordered that the twelve be taken out of the Council chambers for a short time while the Council decided what to do with them.
In verse 35, he warns the Sanhedrin not to act in haste. In verses 36-37 he reminds them of two others who led revolts or claimed to be the Messiah or advocated new movements. He tells them that the actions of these men were not rooted in God.
They were killed and their followers scattered. It was only a passing fad. In verse 38, Gamaleil tells them that if Christianity was from men it will pass away. But if it is from God it will endure and we will be found fighting against God Himself. Verse 40 tells us that they ordered the twelve to be brought back in the room. We are told that they beat them and again ordered them not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus. Then they released them.
The Twelve Released: Acts 5:41-42
The record tells us that the twelve went away from the Sanhedrin rejoicing in the fact that they had been worthy to suffer for Jesus’ sake. Verse 42 informs us that everyday they continued to uplift the name of Jesus Christ and preach the resurrection of Jesus to the people.
Please read the 6th chapter of the Book of Acts. Some have said that the first church election is in the chapter. The Lesson will be titled, “The Choosing Of Yellow-Workers.” Until! next time, Maranatha!