Summary: Having ambition is good but when you use it to stand well in the sight of others and greed is in your heart, that ambition added with greed can lead to deceit and hypocrisy.

The Ekklesia - The Movement: Lies, Innuendos and The Truth

Acts 5:1-11 Text v. 4

Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Nothing infuriates us more than someone lying to us or deceiving us. If I trust you and you deceive me, I will have a hard time trusting you again. There have been many friendships, marriages, families and businesses fall apart when trust is lost. Integrity is everything.

The first internal threat to God's unstoppable movement in the Ekklesia was deceit or hypocrisy. Fact is: the truth of the gospel rides on the integrity of the people who share and live it. The message is weighed by the character of the messenger. When Ananias and Sapphira tried to copy the examples of Barnabas and others by selling a piece of land and giving the proceeds to the church to serve the needs of others, they were not completely honest. They tried to appear righteous but kept some of the profit for themselves. God did not allow such deceit to stand among these first followers of Jesus. This incident in the movement of God was a dark one, but it is important in establishing the values of those who share its mission and Master.

1 Peter 1:15-16 says But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

To be holy is to be set apart for God, to have Gods character, or to be whole in who you are when you are alone and who you are in public.

What Does It Mean To Have Integrity?

Having integrity means doing the right thing in a reliable way. It's a personality trait that we admire, since it means a person has a moral compass that doesn't waver.

Having integrity means you are true to yourself and would do nothing that demeans or dishonors you.

Thomas S. Monson said, "Perhaps the surest test of an individual's integrity is his refusal to do or say anything that would damage his self-respect."

Alan Cohen said, "You are in integrity when the life you are living on the outside matches who you are on the inside."

Every week people bring their tithes and offerings when our church gathers. Giving is a part of our worship of God as we acknowledge our motto, " Its more of a blessing to give than it is to receive." Giving just like everything else that we do in the church help to meet not only the churches needs but the needs of others. While some people support the work of the church freely through their financial gifts. There are others who are more skeptical about giving.

Like Barnabas, Ananias and Sapphira were followers of Jesus. They were part of the Jerusalem church and knew of Barnabas' act of graciousness to help meet the needs of the people. His actions and those of others caused them to do the same. V.1

Kindness works that way - one act inspires another. The difference with this couple is that with Sapphira's "full knowledge", Ananias " Kept back part of the money[from the sale of the Land] for himself" v.2

He then brought what remained and "put it at the apostles' feet. Ananias looked like Barnabas, but his heart and actions were not the same. Either greed or a need to look pious prompted Ananias to perform this act of dishonesty.

Now Jesus spoke against Hypocrisy when he dressed down the religious leaders in his time for appearing to be one way outwardly and being another way in their hearts. In Matthew 23:27 He painted them as "whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean."

Jesus said in Matthew 5:37 "let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No.' "

Just like the pious leaders whose words and actions did not match their motives, Ananias and Sapphira violated a core value of Kingdom life - and that is......... having integrity in all matters!

Peter discerned Ananias' deceit when the followers of Jesus brought the money from the land sale to the Apostles. Jesus said the Holy Ghost would do such things for His disciples (John 16:8-11). Peter asked how it was that satan had so filled his heart that Ananias had "lied to the Holy Spirit" v.3

Peter could have known this only by revelation. It was revealed to him by the Spirit of God.

Peter was not offended that Ananias had lied to him and the other Apostles. Ananias' offense wasn't against was against the Holy Ghost. Nobody made Ananias sale the land or give all the proceeds to the Apostles. The land and money belonged to him to do what he wanted with it. v.4

Ananias had seen what was going on around him, and he had determined that he must not be behindhand in the ministry of love. But his ambition to stand well with his fellow- members evidently mingled with the pure spirit of charity, though we do not need to suppose that there was as yet any conscious intention to deceive. Acting, then, on these somewhat mixed motives of charity and ambition, Ananias determined to sell a portion of whatever he had and hand over the money to the Apostles. He probably meant at first to hand over the whole price, but with all that money in his hand the demon of greed entered into his heart. And he kept back part of the price, his wife also being a part of the matter, and brought a certain part or money, and laid it at the Apostles feet.

The sin of Ananias then, lays in this, that he gave a certain amount as if it were the whole thing. There was no necessity for his giving either the whole or the part. Had he held back, when others were selling their possessions, he would have have been pronounced ungenerous in comparison with them. Had he brought a part, making no mistake about it that it was only a part, when they were giving all, then he would have been not so generous. But when he brought a part as it were the whole, he added to his former selfishness, greed, deceit, and hypocrisy. If he did not in so many words tell a lie. but he did do something that was equally heinous, HE ACTED A LIE!

Well........Peter exposed his hypocrisy. Luke recorded that when Ananias heard Peter's rebuke, "He fell down and died" instantly. v.5

The sin of Ananias seems to have been close to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (that is, saying the work of the Holy Spirit is of the devil and Jesus said that this is one sin that no man can be forgiven for. But it wasn't over because 3 hours later after the young men carried Ananias away and buried him. His wife Sapphira, not knowing what happened to Ananias, she came in. When Peter saw her he asked, " Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" she replied, "Yea for so much" Peter then aid to her, " How is it that you and Ananias have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." The Bible says, " Then she fell down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the Ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband." And the Bible says a "great fear seized all who heard what happened".

Having ambition is good but when you use it to stand well in the sight of others and greed is in your heart, that ambition added with greed can lead to deceit and hypocrisy.

Sin has a gradual progression, notice how Ananias first thought over the sin in his own heart, then he spoke of it to his wife, and agreed with her that it could be done; and how together they would carry it out.

I read a quote that said, “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

Ephesians 4: 27 says, Neither give place to the devil.

Neither give place means, to not make room; not to yield; not to give way; not to give him an advantage.

Listen , Your adversary will strive to influence your mind.

You must not and cannot give him place in your mind or to his whispers in your ear.

James 4:7 say Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

I'm here today to tell you don't believe the lies of the devil, or his innuendos about what God wants to do in your life.

An Innuendo is an indirect intimation about a person or thing, especially of a disparaging or a derogatory nature.

The devil just like he did to Job has made some insinuations about you to God, he's tried to create an allusion that you are fake and not real, he's been referencing you in his conversation, he's been making hints that your about to fail, can you hear the whispers, he's trying to implicate you before God.

But truth be told and I got word from the Lord that...... Your gonna make it! Don't believe the Lie!

I have learned that its easier to believe a Lie than the Truth.

I have also learned that we always want to be right.

I have also learned that there are some people who think that they can out smart God.

Galatians 6:7 in the New International Readers Version says ," Don't be fooled. You can't outsmart God."

But you can maintain your Integrity!

The Omniscience of God – God Knows All Things

I think that people forget that God is Omniscience – God Knows All Things. He encompasses all knowledge of the universe past, present, and future. In the beginning, God created the world and everything in it, including knowledge.

Psalms 147:4-5 tells us, “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

God knew us and had a plan for our lives before we were born. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Matthew 10:30 tells us that even the hairs on our head are numbered. No matter how carefully we keep secrets from others, we have no secrets from God. And we surely can't outsmart God.

Proverbs 15:3 tells us: “The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” He sees our actions every minute of the day, and even though He knows everything about us—both good and bad—He still loves us. God understands how we feel when we are going through hard times because He knows our thoughts and feelings.

The Omniscience of God – God Knows All About Us

In Psalms 139:1-4 David wrote, “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.”

The Omniscience of God – God Knows All About Our Future

The omniscience of God is complete. God does not continually learn, but knows everything at once.

He knew millions of years before He created the world He would send His Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins: “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1 Peter 1:20). God revealed His plan to Old Testament prophets, such as Isaiah, who spoke God’s word to the people: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

The birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus were not by happenstance. They were the result of a divine plan God set in place an eternity ago to provide us a way to have a personal relationship with Him. We can enter into that relationship by praying to God, confessing our sins and asking Him to come into our lives. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

*Maintain Your Integrity Before God, Don't Let Deceit or Hypocrisy Trip You Up!

Apostle Charles C Jones