Have you ever seen kids having a conversation and one of them puts their hand behind their back and crosses their fingers so that they lie they are telling isn’t a lie? Or maybe they say, “Cross my heart, hope to die” as a means of saying I’m telling you the truth? Ananais and Sapphira found out that lying is no small sin.
At the end of Acts 4, believers were selling their possessions and bringing the money to the apostles who then distributed it evenly so that everyone’s needs were being met. Chapter 4 closes out telling us about Barnabas who sold a piece of property and brought the money to the apostles. Chapter 5 opens up with telling us about a husband and wife, Ananais and Sapphira, sold a possession and kept part of the proceeds for themselves. There was nothing wrong with them keeping part of it. The sin came when they told the disciples they were give the entire amount of the selling price to the work of God. They knew they were lying to men, but they failed to realize they were also lying to the Holy Spirit. The sin was in the deception and their desire to win the praise of men. The couple noticed that Barnabas was much respected for his generosity and they wanted the same recognition or themselves. Maybe they were even a little be envious because Peter specifically tells Ananias that Satan had filled his heart.
Do Christians today lie to the Holy Spirit? Consider just a few examples. Perhaps your church called its members to fast and pray and you agree to it, but then half way through the fast, you break your commitment. Then the next Sunday comes around and someone asks you how you did and you tell them it was great experience and you kept the whole fast. You not only lied to the church members, but also to the Holy Spirit. Or what about when your church holds it’s annual tithe pledge and you pledge to give a certain dollar amount weekly, but don’t give as much as you pledge or don’t give at all. You’ve lied to the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit revealed to Peter that Ananais and Sapphira had lied and Peter called them out for it. As soon as Ananais heard Peter say, “You have not lied to men but to God,” Ananais fell down, dead. About three hours later, his wife came in, unknowing what had happened to her husband. Peter asked her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” and she indicated that they had sold it for that price. When Peter called her out on the lie, she too fell down and died.
We can fool others into thinking that we are Godly, but we can’t fool God. Psalm 139 says: “Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord. You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me. This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it. Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hid me, and the light around me will be night’ – even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You.”
Ananias and Sapphira’s sin was not just lying. It was also a sin of hypocrisy. They wanted to make the other church members believe they were something they were not. They wanted the church to think they had done something they had no intention of doing. Their actions were intentional deception while pretending to be motivated by the love of God all for the sake of attempting to promote themselves.
Christians everywhere, in every congregation commit the same sin Sunday after Sunday. We sing “Here I am to Worship” while checking our watch to see how much longer church will last. We sing, “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God” when we truly seek to fill our own desires. We hang wall decorations in our home that say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” when our homes are full of bickering, fighting, and cussing. We sing with our hand lifted high, “I Surrender All,” but in truth, we surrender nothing.
Do Christians today lie to the Holy Spirit? We sing Here I am to Worship, or Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God, or I Surrender All when our heart is far from worship and all we seek is our own desires and we surrender nothing.
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How would our lives and our churches be different if we refused to sing or pray or worship until we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and reveal the ways we have been lying to Him? Would the way we worship be different? Let’s stop worshipping with our mouth while one hand is behind our back with our fingers crossed. Let’s stop lying to the Holy Spirit. Confess the lies you’ve been telling Him and allow him to renew a right spirit within you.
How would our lives, churches, and worship be different if we refused to sing, pray, or worship until we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and reveal the ways we have been lying to Him? Would our worship be different?
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Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.