The church grew rapidly after the resurrection. With the Day of Pentecost thousands became Christ-followers. Many of those coming into the church were poor and struggling. Barnabas, a fellow Christian, saw their need and sold a piece of land bringing all the proceeds to the church leaders to help the poor. Another couple followed suit selling some property and claiming they were giving all the proceeds for the poor. However, in reality, they held back a portion for themselves, which in and of itself was their right. However, they lied about the money, claiming it was “all” of the proceeds. God dealt severely with Ananias and Sapphira striking both of them dead for their lie. It wasn’t because they didn’t give all the proceeds to the church; it was because they lied about it. This caused a great deal of fear and discussion in the church.

Scriptures
Acts 5:4; John 14:6, 16:13; Eph 4:15

Verse
“Before you sold the property, it belonged to you; and after you sold it, the money was yours. Why, then, did you decide to do such a thing? You have not lied to people—you have lied to God!” (Acts 5:4) “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth….” (John 16:13). Instead we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ,… (Eph 4:15)

Thought
Good character and honesty are things we long for and value most in our relationships with family, friends, spouse and co-workers. We want to be able to trust our government leaders and politicians. Everyone has been disappointed and hurt as the result of lies and deceit. We often think of lies as being horizontal (between us and someone else); however, they are also vertical (between us and God). God hates lies. He is truth. He calls Christians to be honest, truthful and fair in all things. To be stronger in character we need to recognize how much God despises deceit. He calls us to be like Jesus, who is “the Truth”. We also need to recognize the damage that is caused by lying. People are hurt, hearts are broken, and relationships fall apart. Trust is very difficult to earn back once it is lost. The Holy Spirit comes to live in us the day we accept Jesus Christ as Savior. This same Spirit guides us into truth as we grow in Christ, in the Word, and become sensitive to His leading. We have a Guide to help us defeat our weaknesses. We can be stronger in character.

Questions
Do you think God was unfair to Ananias and Sapphira? Why? or why not? Do you know anyone that you never believe a word they say? What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever been told (as far as you know)? Do you believe there are little white lies? What’s the worst damage you’ve witnessed because of a lie or deceit? If you are a parent, how do you deal with a child who lies to you? What are you most proud of regarding your character? How has the Holy Spirit guided you or cautioned you in your conversations or business dealings?

Response
Renounce deceit and make today the day you start growing stronger in character. No more lies; no more deceit; no more exaggeration. At the end of each day review your conversations and business. Ask God to point out anything you may have done or said that was not truthful and honest. Ask God to forgive you. Apologize to anyone you have misled.

Prayer – Psalm 139:23-24 (TLB)
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. In Jesus Name, Amen!