The story of Ananias and Sapphira is an interesting one. Many people hear their story and gasp at the thought that they died just for lying. In the story, Ananias and Sapphria were among a group of people that the scripture says were of one heart and one soul. The scripture also says that great grace was upon the people. All that anyone owned belonged to everyone and no one lacked anything. The things they owed were sold and the proceeds were brought to the apostles and distributed as anyone had need. Ananias and Sapphira sold a plot of land but held back some of the proceeds for themselves. This, in itself, wasn’t the problem. The issue was that when asked if they were giving the entire amount, they lied and said it was. Upon lying about it, they were struck dead. Many people are so focused on the horror of their deaths for lying that the bigger picture is often missed. Ananias and Sapphira were part of the church. They were representatives of the Lord Jesus and His followers. God takes His church seriously. Pretense, hypocrisy and deceit are not to be tolerated in His church. When they lied, they evidently didn’t realize the standard to which God holds His church. God will purge His church of anything that is not holy and pure. He is waiting for a church without spot or wrinkle. He gives us plenty of opportunity and even instructs us to examine our lives to see where we measure up on the holy and pure scale. It’s good to remember, they didn’t lie to Peter, they lied to God.
4 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 (NLT)
28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. 29 For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. 31 But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. 1 Corinthians 11:28-31 (NLT)