Ananias and Sapphira
 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,  and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?  While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”  When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.  The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.”  But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”  Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
Many Signs and Wonders Done
 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico.  None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.  And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,  so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them.  The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed. (ESV)
- The purity of the Church.
Christians love to romanticize the early Church. However, somehow this scene is often conveniently overlooked. The issue with Ananias and Sapphira is not how much or how little they gave. That was entirely up to them. Rather the issue was lying to God (Acts 5:4). Deceit and dishonesty destroy the integrity and the witness of the Church. A pure Church is a powerful Church.
- The numerical growth of the Church.
Many Christians don’t like to talk about numerical growth in the Church. Some even see it as unspiritual. But the fact is that Luke makes a point of tracking the numerical growth of the Church through Acts. In this text, he tells us that many people were converted and put their faith in Christ. The interesting connection in this text is that numerical growth followed the judgment of Ananias and Sapphira. Growth in holiness and purity often leads to growth in converts.
- The unique power of the Apostles.
As we noted earlier in this study, the Apostles were given a unique power and authority to build and strengthen the Church. Their miraculous signs authenticated their Gospel message. This followed the example of Jesus who used miracles to demonstrate and confirm his power and authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:10-12).
- Why is personal holiness and purity important for the witness of the Church?
- Why do you think Ananias and Sapphira lied about how much they sold their land for?
- Why were “signs and wonders” important for the early Church? Do you think they serve the same role in the Church today? Why or why not?
Call to Worship
His Steadfast Love Endures Forever
A Psalm for giving thanks.
 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
 Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
 Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
 For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations. (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, now fulfill in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
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