Beware of going to greater length in profession than the inner life will stand being ambitious to be counted religious and liberal while secretly cherishing selfish motives — for this is lending oneself to Satan and lying, not merely to men, but to the Holy Ghost, a great affront to God.
Never does good work go on in the name of Jesus Christ but it is met with opposition, for Satan, the destroyer of men, will ever be an adversary to those who are benefactors to men. We may cheerfully trust God with our safety, so long as we keep close to the will of God and trust in Christ our leader.
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
12 ¶ And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.
13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
17 ¶ Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told,
23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.
24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
29 ¶ Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
33 ¶ When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41 ¶ And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
Acts 5:1-4 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 5:5-11 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 5:12-16 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 5:17-28 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 5:29-42 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 5:1-11 – Lying to the Holy Spirit
Mark the contrast between Ananias and Barnabas. The same phrases are applied to each. The sin of Ananias was not in keeping back part of the purchase money, but in pretending to have brought all to the Apostle. He wished to pose as a saint, and at the same time to line his own nest. In the act of consecration, we must not allow one corner for Satan or selfishness to possess, because instantly we shall have to concede the right of way, and a thoroughfare will be opened, along which all manner of contraband may be smuggled in. Peter had no doubt as to the personality of the Holy Spirit. You cannot lie to an influence! Note the interchange of Holy Spirit and God in Acts 5:3-4. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Acts 5:4—Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
Achan, Belshazzar, and Ananias, met the same fate, because of their persistent use of devoted things. When once we have devoted aught to God, He counts it as his own, and strikes down the hand that would abase it to common and profane use. The Lord our God is a jealous God; He will brook no perversion of his rights. Beware that you take back nothing which you have laid on God’s altar, least of all yourself. Each gathering of believers is endowed with mystic and extraordinary importance, because the Lord, through the Eternal Spirit, is literally present. The true President is not the minister, however distinguished by his gift or grace, but the Divine Spirit Himself; and any sin against the Church is really against Him. It is this Divine presence that invests a gathering of the simplest, humblest believers with such unique importance. It is this which gives them the mysterious binding and loosing power, which is recognized and ratified in heaven. Behind Peter was the real Head of the Church; and so with every faithful minister. Honor the Personality, the Presidency, and Deity of the Holy Spirit, as set forth in this narrative.
Dr. Gordon told me on one occasion that he had in his church a man who, like a very crooked stick, obstructed all its work. He spoke to him alone, and before his brethren; but to no purpose. Then he bethought himself; and remembered that not himself, nor his church officials, was the true Head of the Church, but Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. He therefore handed the whole matter over to the Divine Spirit, as the Executive of the Godhead. In a fortnight this man had left the city, and necessarily ceased the obstruction in which he had persisted. —Our Daily Homily
Acts 5:12-26 – Delivered to Testify
While the Holy Spirit works mightily within the Church, He co-operates with it in its outward operations by adding men and women to the Lord. None should be added to the Church roll who have not already been led into living union with Jesus. Through the Church, as His body, the risen Savior works such miracles as are here narrated, filling the hearts of the humble with love and joy, and exciting inveterate hatred in His foes.
The angel of God comes to open prison doors. Are you in sore trouble, from which there is no apparent deliverance? Are you imprisoned in the dungeon of doubt and black despair? Are you being heavily persecuted? Oh, wrap around you the divine protection! Dare to believe that the doors will open as by unseen hands. Nothing can stay the purposes of God. Only use your God-given liberty to go forth to teach the people. The gospel is a message to the people. Let us preach to the hungry, needy crowds. Philosophers, scientists, the wise and prudent of the age, may mock, but the people know the gospel when they hear it. Let us give it to them! —Through the Bible Day by Day
Acts 5:27-42 – Folly of Fighting against God
The high priest and his party could not forget the imprecation of Matthew 27:25. It haunted them. Compare Peter’s description of the Cross as the tree with Deuteronomy 21:23 and Galatians 3:13; also his own usage of the phrase in I Peter 2:24. Notice in Acts 5:31 the divine order—Jesus must be Prince, if He is to be Savior. It is because that order is not observed, and men therefore seek to derive His benefits before they concede His rights, that He is unable to deliver them. Christ must be the enthroned Lord and Master of your life, if you want to be saved to the uttermost. See Romans 10:9. Repentance is His gift equally as forgiveness. Mark that reference to the witness of the Holy Spirit, Acts 5:32. Let us never stand in pulpit or class without being first assured that the truth we utter is such that He can endorse.
Gamaliel had been Paul’s teacher. He was very astute and non-committal. He said, “Let us wait and see; the truth will conquer.” He expected that the new enthusiasm would die down if it were let alone. He knew that a draught of wind fans a fire. But he lived to see his mistake. We must be warned by Acts 5:42 not only to preach Christ as king in the Temple, but also at home. —Through the Bible Day by Day