Are You Lying and Testing the Holy Spirit?


In the post Can You help Speaking about what You have Seen and Heard?, I asked “how many of us speak or teach with similar commitment as Peter and John?” Peter and John prayed that God would enable them to speak boldly about Jesus Christ and His resurrection. The believers enjoyed unparalleled presence and power of the Holy Spirit as well as unity. We see that in the latter verses of Acts 4.

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

This unity in the community of believers serves as the impetus for asking Are You Lying and Testing the Holy Spirit? in Acts 5. Below, we see how the envy/jealousy of Ananias Sapphira led to them Lying and Testing the Holy Spirit. Undoubtedly, they saw how Joseph sold his property and brought the money and placed it at the apostles’ feet. I am sure that the apostles were encouraged by his efforts as well as the body of the believers. The desire to be recognized in that manner resulted in their selling of their land but with one distinct difference. They tried to act as if they gave all they received from the sale of the land to the apostles. The primary point here is that you can lie to man, but you can’t lie to God who knows and sees everything.

Acts 5

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

The message of these events to the church is that God raises the ante in terms of obedience to Him. Hear what Peter says to Ananias “You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”and to Sapphira “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen!”. The message is that lying to man is lying to God especially when you are attempting to deceive man for purposes of looking more godly. God wanted the community of believers and us to know that He knows all and sees all. With Sapphira, she had the opportunity to tell the truth, but she tested the Holy Spirit who knows all and sees all.

The fear that seized the church was healthy. It reminds us to remember to do the right thing or there are consequences. Likewise, we should walk our daily lives asking ourselves Are You Lying and Testing the Holy Spirit?

Note: This passage is one of many that illustrates the nature of our triune God: The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. We see lying to the Spirit is equated to lying to God; thus, the Spirit too is God. A part of the Godhead.

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