We were knocked out by Acts chapter 5 especially on the death of Ananias and Sapphira at my LiFE Group meeting last night. It seems so strange for two people to die because they “lied to the Holy Spirit”. Could it be we’ve been toying with this fuzzy-wuzzy-let-me-do-what-I-want-with-no-consequences-god (now that’s a mouthful)?
My friend & mentor Robert Brow’s Commentary (for the full commentary go to ACTS OF THE APOSTLES COMMENTARY) was helpful,
“The story is very upsetting. A couple sold some property (as did Barnabas in 4:36-37) and they gave part of it as a donation to the church in Jerusalem. The problem is that they had agreed to pretend they had given the whole amount of the proceeds to God’s work. They were not required to give anything, and it would have been acceptable for them to say they were only giving a part of the proceeds for the work of the community (5:4). So Peter accuses them of lying to the Holy Spirit by trying to deceive the church community, “You did not lie to us but to God” (5:4).
The couple both died, presumably from a heart attack (5:5, 10). And what triggered the heart attack seems to have been the shock of their hypocrisy being exposed in the community. Whatever the cause of death, the important lesson for the early church was that hypocrisy is a deadly cancer in the body of the church. If the various organs of our human body ever began deceiving one another, we would quickly die. “
Hypocrisy(i.e. pretending to be what we aren’t) is one contagious disease that requires “eradication” from my life and the community i live in. But, I think Christians have gotten an unfair amount of bashing related to this word. here’s where Brow made an interesting comment later,
“It is interesting that outsiders fault Christians for being hypocrites, forgetting that there are hypocrites among politicians, salesmen, teachers, doctors, and many parents.” (for more go to Rights and Wrongs chapter 3).
Hypocrisy is a disease that can affect all walks of life .. from the family to the wider society. The antidote is IMHO HONESTY to oursleves and others and HUMILITY to change and be changed for the better!