Tag Archives: Ananias and Sapphira

This Ain’t No Prosperity Gospel

Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain. –Proverbs 25:14, KJV

In Acts chapter 5, we hear of Ananias and Sapphira. They were the couple in the fledgling Church in Jerusalem who joined in the spree of selling property and laying the proceeds at the Apostles’ feet.

They are notable for being the people who said they had given everything from the sale, but in truth they held some back. The issue was not keeping some of the money for themselves but lying to the Church and, more importantly, the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit struck them dead for it.

Why, and why is this so important?

First, God was protecting His young Church. He did not want Christ’s Bride defiled immediately after the betrothal.

But He wants people who sow real seeds of blessing. Not to help those in power or receive something in return. Not to make themselves look better in the eyes of other people.

No, (and if you will allow me to get a tad allegorical) God wants His people to give gifts that can rain down and blow across the harvest field of souls.

He is not as concerned with someone’s personal prosperity as with the prosperity of His Church, that she can grow in meaningful number and relationship with Him.

If you boast of your giving of time, money, and resources to the mission of the Church, but that contribution is not as big as you imply (if at all), then you are stealing from and misrepresenting the witness of God and abusing His bride.

God may want a joyful giver, but He would rather you be an honest person who never helps than one who boasts of what in truth he has never done.

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Credible Witnessing

Proverbs 21:28  

A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.
A false witness will be cut off, but a credible witness will be allowed to speak. (NLT)

When I was growing up my father used to tell me a story about a boy who constantly shouted wolf when there was no wolf. Eventually the villagers began to ignore his cries because whenever they responded to the call there was no wolf. One day the boy found himself confronted by a large hungry wolf. He shouted for help but no help came. The villagers thought that it was another prank. They never saw the boy again.

My father told me this story to encourage me to be truthful and completely accurate in all things. The ability to twist stories or to lie blatantly is not confined to small children. It is a significant problem in society in general. In the UK in recent years there have been several incidences of prominent politicians being caught out lying, and even more of politicians fiddling their expenses. A number have been sent to prison. Few are viewed as credible on their release. Except one perhaps, the one who came to faith during his incarceration who now speaks for God, instead of addressing Parliament.

Credibility is especially important for followers of Jesus. The early apostles set an example by living their faith. Some didn’t make the grade and perished because of giving false witness. What a difference between Ananias and Sapphira and the rest of the team. What a difference the Holy Spirit makes.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NIV)


Credible Witnessing

Proverbs 21:28  

A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.
A false witness will be cut off, but a credible witness will be allowed to speak. (NLT)

When I was growing up my father used to tell me a story about a boy who constantly shouted wolf when there was no wolf. Eventually the villagers began to ignore his cries because whenever they responded to the call there was no wolf. One day the boy found himself confronted by a large hungry wolf. He shouted for help but no help came. The villagers thought that it was another prank. They never saw the boy again.

My father told me this story to encourage me to be truthful and completely accurate in all things. The ability to twist stories or to lie blatantly is not confined to small children. It is a significant problem in society in general. In the UK in recent years there have been several incidences of prominent politicians being caught out lying, and even more of politicians fiddling their expenses. A number have been sent to prison. Few are viewed as credible on their release. Except one perhaps, the one who came to faith during his incarceration who now speaks for God, instead of addressing Parliament.

Credibility is especially important for followers of Jesus. The early apostles set an example by living their faith. Some didn’t make the grade and perished because of giving false witness. What a difference between Ananias and Sapphira and the rest of the team. What a difference the Holy Spirit makes.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NIV)