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The Cost of Lying to the Holy Spirit?

Have you ever seen kids having a conversation and one of them puts their hand behind their back and crosses their fingers so that the 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”? Ananias and Sapphira found out that lying to the Holy Spirit is no small sin – fingers crossed or not – and it cost them everything.

A Guilty Couple

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, Ananias and Sapphira, who sold a possession and kept part of the proceeds for themselves. However, when they brought the rest of it to the apostles, they told the apostles they were giving the entire selling price.

Sin #1: Lying to the Holy Spirit

There was nothing wrong with them keeping part of the money from the sell of their possession. The sin came when they told the disciples they were giving the entire amount of the selling price to the work of God when in fact, they were only giving a portion of it. They may not have actually slipped their hand behind their backs with fingers crossed, but it was the same principle – they lied! They knew they were lying to men and they probably also knew they were lying to the Holy Spirit. While they could have fooled the apostles, they couldn’t fool God. They just thought they could get away with it.

Sin #2: A desire for the praise of men

Not only was their sin in their deception, but they also desired to win the praise of men. The couple noticed that Barnabas was much respected for his generosity and they wanted the same recognition for themselves. Maybe they were even a little bit envious because Peter specifically tells Ananias that Satan had filled his heart.

Are we guilty of lying to the Holy Spirit in church today?

Do Christians today lie to the Holy Spirit? Are we guilty of wanting the praise of men? Do we try to “look the part” on the outside, but our heart is far from it? 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. You smile and with fingers crossed, you tell them it was great experience and you kept the whole fast. You not only lied to the church members, but you are also guilty of lying 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 knew that when you put that amount down that you had no intention of giving that much, but you write it down anyway. You’ve not only lied to the church who builds its budget off the anticipated tithes as indicated by the pledges, you’re also guilty of lying to the Holy Spirit.

Ananais and Sapphira’s Consequences

The Holy Spirit revealed to Peter that Ananias and Sapphira had lied and Peter called them out for it. As soon as Ananias heard Peter say, “You have not lied to men but to God,” Ananias 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. This confirms the couple conspired together to “dupe” the apostles, making her just as guilty as her husband. When Peter called her out on the lie, she too fell down and died.

We Can’t Fool God

We can slip a hand behind our backs and have our fingers crossed and everyone around us will believe we are Godly people, 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…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;

God is omniscient. He knows everything. You cannot lie to Him and Him not know it. He even knows the intentions of our heart and what motivates us. There is simply no fooling God.

Sin #3 Hypocrisy

Ananias and Sapphira’s sin was not just lying and seeking the praise of men. There is a third sin involved in their dishonesty. 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. Or 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 hands lifted high, “I Surrender All,” but in truth, we surrender nothing. Yes. We too are guilty of lying to the Holy Spirit.

Do Christian 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, all we seek is our own desires, and we surrender nothing.

How Would Church be Different If we refused to lie to the Holy Spirit?

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? Would anyone open their mouth to sing? Let’s stop worshiping 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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