May 18th Acts, 5
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.
In the first part of this chapter Luke records a particularly shocking example of apostolic knowledge and power. We have this Jewish couple Ananias and Sapphira. They jumped on the bandwagon and sold some something, maybe a house or land. And they brought the money to the Apostles but they kept back some of the money, While saying or inferring that they brought it all. Peter receives a divine revelation (He was a prophet) telling him what had really happened. Peter confronts Ananias with his sin and Ananias dies on the spot and he is carried out for burial. This is not murder of course this is an act of divine judgment. It was the discipline of God on the covenant people. Peter said while it was yours you could do whatever you like with but to lie against the Holy Spirit who is God and this will bring death. Three hours later his wife came in and Peter confronted her with the same lie but he gave her an opportunity to confess and repent. She repeated the lie not knowing that her husband was dead. She lied and fell dead at Peter’s feet. Those who say that they have the apostolic gift of healing today forget that the sword is double edged. While it may heal some others might die. We cannot have apostolic power without apostolic discipline. Apostolic discipline was seen in 1 Cor 11v29: For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30: For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31: For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32: But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. The Jewish believers in Corinth had come under the discipline of God. In James 5 he describes the judgment of Christ on these Jewish believers. v9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Then he says.. 14: Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the (Synagogue); and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: (Mark 6v13) (The oil spoke of spirituality which under the old covenant was linked to health.) 15: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Clearly the sickness is as a result of sin because the prayer of the elders of the assembly bring healing and forgiveness. Then James gives the OT example of the same principle of judgment. 17: Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18: And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. 19: Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20: Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. Elijah prayed for Gods judgment to fall on Israel and the rain ceased for three and a half years then when they repented and God through Elijah destroyed the prophets of Baal. He prayed again and it rained. This is all to do with the judgment of God on the house of Israel. Jewish believers during the time of the Apostles faced the same judgment on their sin. The fear of God fell on the Church and on all those who heard of these things. There were many other signs and wonders performed by the Apostles. Nobody wanted to join them yet God added to their number. What a glorious contradiction. The people brought their sick into the streets so that the shadow of Peter might heal them. There was a constant stream of sick people from the cites of Judea that came to the apostles. Everyone was healed. Let’s not run away with the idea that only those few who had faith were healed. The High Priest was incensed with the apostles and they arrested the apostles and put them in prison. But the angel of the Lord set them free again. The apostles had escaped from the prison without disturbing the guards and unlocking the doors. This was apostolic ministry at its best.