Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Hypocrisy is deliberate deception, trying to make people think we are more spiritual than we really are.


Acts 4:34-5:11

“BUT” -starts chapter 5. The “buts” in the Bible are hinges on which great doors swing. They always mark a decisive change in the story. The incident of chapter 5 begins in chapter 4. The story of Ananias and Sapphira is a story that shows great contrast between the selflessness of Barnabas (chapter 4) and the selfishness of this man and his wife (chapter 5).

Barnabas had some property, and he sold it and gave the money to the apostles for them to distribute as they saw fit. No doubt Ananias and Sapphira wanted to bask in some of the glow that surrounded Barnabas.

Their deaths are the first recorded deaths within the church.

We are going to behold the Deadly Sin of Hypocrisy.

A 12-year-old boy was waiting for his first orthodontist appointment and was a bit nervous. Apparently he wanted to impress the dentist. On the patient questionnaire, in the space marked “Hobbies,” he had written, “Swimming and flossing.” That’s a humorous example of how we’re all prone to hypocrisy.

However, spiritual hypocrisy is not humorous; it’s a dangerous and deadly sin. The hypocrisy of professing Christians has served as an excuse for many to disregard the claims of Christ, saying, “The church is full of hypocrites.”

The story of Ananias and Sapphira warns us of the danger of the sin of hypocrisy. It was literally deadly for this couple. Someone has said that if God dealt with all hypocrites in the church as He dealt with this couple, our churches would become morgues!

Half of the misery in the world comes from trying to look, instead of trying to be, what one is not.

"Hypocrite" comes from a word which means "to act a part as on a stage." The hypocrite is a playactor.

Hypocrisy is deliberate deception, trying to make

people think we are more spiritual than we really are.

“A hypocrite is a person who is not himself on Sunday.”

Hypocrisy is the hiding of the things you do, not

because you were not supposed to do them, but because you would be ashamed to have them known where you are known. Now the doing of them is foul, but the hiding of them, in order to appear better than you are, is fouler still.

The sin of Ananias and Sapphira, putting on a lovely "front" in order to conceal the sin in their lives; sin that ultimately cost them their lives.

We are all prone to the deadly sin of hypocrisy.

We need to be clear on the exact nature of the sin of

Ananias and Sapphira. Their sin was not that they had sold their property and had given only a part to the church. In fact, Peter makes plain (5:4) that it would not have been a sin for them to have sold their property and not given anything to the church. Their sin was that was that they conspired together to deceive the apostles and the church into thinking that they were giving the entire amount, when in fact they kept back a portion for themselves. In other words, they were trying to impress everyone with a higher level of spirituality and commitment than they really had.

Have you ever done that? We’ve all been guilty of trying to impress others with our commitment and devotion to Christ, even though we know in our heart that we are exaggerating.

A pastor had been preaching on the importance of daily Bible reading. He and his wife were invited over to a parishioner’s home for dinner. His wife saw a note on the kitchen calendar: “Pastor/Mrs. for dinner—Dust all Bibles.”

Hypocrisy- let us examine it.

I. The seriousness of hypocrisy

Ananias is not given a chance to repent, even though his sin seems not all that serious. His wife is not even told of her husband’s death and of what will happen to her if she lies. The instant that she agrees with her husband’s lie, she is struck dead.

In this age of tolerance, we might think, “What’s the big deal?” We need to view this sin from God’s holy perspective, not from our world’s view.

Jesus always hit hypocrisy hard.

In Matthew 23, He pronounced many woes on the scribes and Pharisees, whom He repeatedly called hypocrites. He warned His disciples, “Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1).

Like leaven, hypocrisy starts small and unnoticed. It doesn’t seem to be a big deal. But if it is not quickly checked, it spreads. It deceives the person into thinking that things are right between him and God, when in reality, things are very wrong.


Why did God dealt with Ananias and Sapphira so severely when He does not do so with the hypocrites in the church today? Probably, it was because the church was in its infancy, and He needed to set before us a sober lesson of the seriousness of this sin among God’s people.

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Greg Nance

commented on Nov 28, 2014

Thank-you for an excellent message! So true and so needed, beginning in my own heart. I especially appreciate the point about focusing on what others think instead of what God knows. May we live in full awareness of the presence of our Holy Father who loves and disciplines His children into holiness.

Stephen Battista

commented on Jun 9, 2015

excellent message, I will be sharing some of your points this week

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