Summary: The story of Ananias and Sapphira teaches a lesson on the righteousness of God’s people, the reality of God’s Presence, and the reassurance of God’s power.
INTRO.: My Grandmother kept chickens and she would put a plaster egg in the nests of her hens. She claimed it encouraged the hens to lay their eggs in the proper place. She also had an incubator, but she never put a nest egg in the incubator because she never expected it to hatch or be eaten. It was not for public consumption. No one knew it was there except her and the hen. A nest egg is an egg that isn’t used. That’s why we call it a "nest egg" when we put money aside to be used only in an emergency or for a special purpose.
Ananias and Sapphira put aside a nest egg and thought no one would ever know. Sadly, their nest egg hatched and it hatched out death. They were hypocrites and died a hypocrite’s death.
This was a crucial time in the history of the Church. Ananias and his wife could not be allowed to succeed in their deception. Outsiders would watch and be disillusioned by hypocrites in the Church. The credibility of the Apostles would be called into question. Critics would learn of the hypocrisy and the result might have been the end of the infant Church.
There are some serious lessons for us in this story. Let’s look at a few:
I. Here is a lesson on the righteousness of God’s people
A. The hypocrites stand in sharp contrast to God’s ideal:
1. God expects righteousness from His people.
2. The Church is God’s hope for redeeming mankind and, as such, its members should present an example of righteousness.
3. The Church has always been a mixture of good and bad, but we must strive to be better.
B. Their sin may have seemed small.
1. They didn’t audibly tell a lie as far as is recorded. Just let others assume they were giving their all.
2. Giving must have seemed a godly act to uninformed observers.
3. Some would think the good they did outweighed the deception.
4. Sometimes we are tempted to excuse some person’s sin because "he is one of our best givers."
C. Some may have thought their death to be a terrible loss to the Church:
1. But their sin was a threat to the very life of the Church.
2. To let the sin go unpunished would have done great damage to the reputation of the Church. No Church can grow with a bad reputation.
3. Instead, God used the incident to bless the Church. Vv. 12-14.
II. A lesson on the reality of God’s Presence:
A. Peter insisted it was God they sinned against. V. 4
1. They had allowed themselves to be used by the enemy. 3.
2. The tested the Spirit of the Lord. 9 He lived in the men to whom they lied.
3. It was not Peter or the apostles who punished them. It was God.
B. God is with His Church today, as well.
1. We are His temple. I Cor. 3:16
2. A sin against God’s people is a sin against God. All sin is against God.
3. Perhaps not as dramatically, but God will punish sin and reward good in His own time.
C. Often we forget God is with us today:
1. When Church leaders become so involved with methods and plans and forget to pray.
2. When we identify the Church with buildings, preachers, programs, etc.
3. When we live ungodly lives, forgetting He is in us.