There is a very interesting historical account from the Bible of a husband and wife, Ananias and Sapphira that got killed for lying.—-wow! How’s that for an attention grabbing opening? This incident even happened in New Testament times.
So, what was that all about?
The context is this: Jesus Christ had died and had also come back to life (just as He said He would). After His ascension back to Heaven, the church began. The Apostles began preaching that Jesus had been raised from the dead and that people could begin a relationship with God simply by believing that Jesus had died on the cross in their place because of their sins. The good news that the Apostles taught is that people didn’t have to try to earn God’s favor by trying to keep the 10 Commandments or being good enough. They could come as they were, seeking His forgiveness and His help to live a life pleasing to God.
It was a message of hope that went viral—hundreds, then even thousands responded in faith to this awesome invitation to being reconciled back to a loving God by faith.
As people were responding to this message, their lives were being transformed. These early followers of Christ were becoming known for their generosity and the Christian community started acting as a team, helping each other with their spiritual, as well as their physical needs. There was an overwhelming spirit in the early church of generosity and love.
Apparently, during this time of enthusiasm in the church, a husband and wife, Ananias and Sapphira were seeing the attention that was being given those who were being so generous towards others and decided they also wanted to receive the praise of people. So, they decided to sell some of their property and offer the proceeds from their sale and give it as a donation to the church ( a very good thing). However, what they did was make it seem as though they were giving all the proceeds of the sale as a donation, when in reality, they kept back some for themselves (not a good thing). They were pretending to be more generous than they really were. It was soon after this that God struck both of them dead.
Much could be said about this, but I will just mention three takeaways that jumped off the page to me:
One is that we can fool others, but God always knows what we are doing and even, what we are thinking. Do we act in a certain way to impress others? Do we act in a certain way that makes it seem like we have no struggles at all in our lives, when that is just not true? Do we value the attention and respect of others more than God’s?
How often do I recognize my need to be thankful that God is merciful towards me when I so often do things that are selfish and can not be pleasing to Him?
How often do I realize the significance that God is trusting me to represent Him to others? As a Christian, I am an Ambassador for Christ. Do I act like it? My life as a Christian is to showcase to others that God is alive and living His life through me. When I put in my own effort, I only mess things up. I distort and damage His reputation. That is why I believe God acted justly, and so strongly against Ananias and Sapphira. The early church was alive and demonstrating in a powerful way what a new life in Christ looked like and bringing great honor to the Living and Loving God and this deceptive, impure, selfish act from Ananias and Sapphira was giving an opportunity for God’s name to be tarnished and God acted in response to that.
Christian brother or sister, not only are you a child of God’s but you are also an Ambassador of His. You represent Him. You represent the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. By the way you live your life, you convey to a watching world how much He should be respected (and feared). It is an awesome privilege to show others how Amazing our God is. How well are you doing in your job as an Ambassador of Christ?