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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.

Ananias and Sapphira,‭ ‬at a time when the peculiar situation of the truth led believers to dispose of their property and place the proceeds at the disposal of the apostles,‭ "‬sold a possession and kept back part of the price.‭" ‬In this

Peter accused them of having committed a great crime.‭ ‬The crime did not consist in withholding part,‭ ‬but in professing to give the whole.‭ ‬They were under no obligation to part with the property or to hand over the price.‭ ‬As Peter said,

‭ "‬While it remained was it not thine own‭; ‬and‭ ‬after it was sold,‭ ‬was it‭ (‬the price‭) ‬not in thine own power‭?"

But in the general enthusiasm of generosity that prevailed,‭ ‬Ananias and Sapphira did not wish to appear to be behind others,‭ ‬nor did they want to clean out every penny,‭ ‬so they took the middle and dangerous course of misrepresentation‭-‬alias lying.‭

The heinousness of the offence was increased by the fact that it was an attempt to deceive God.‭ "‬Thou hast not lied unto men,‭ ‬but unto God.‭" ‬Ananias and Sapphira were both struck dead on the spot,‭ ‬one after the other,‭ ‬which naturally made a deep impression on the believing community,‭ ‬at the time very numerous in Jerusalem.‭

‭"‬Great fear came upon all the ecclesia,‭ ‬and upon as many as heard these things.‭"

If it be said there can be no‭ "l‬earning‭" ‬for us in circumstances so out of the run of our experience,‭ ‬the answer has to be made that the lesson is not limited to the particular circumstances nor to any circumstances.‭ ‬It is a lesson affecting all characters and all time.‭ ‬It may be expressed in the simple words:‭

‭"‬Never try to appear to be more than you are.‭ ‬Be simple and modest and true.‭"

Ananias and Sapphira would have come out all right if they had said,‭ "‬We cannot afford to give more than half.‭" ‬The mistake was to attempt to gain the credit that did not belong to them.‭ ‬This mistake may be made,‭ ‬and is made,‭ ‬in many,‭ ‬many matters besides giving‭; ‬and it is here where what is written is fruitful for‭ "‬our learning,‭" ‬in this sad case.‭

Let us avoid with scorn all attempts to seem wiser than we are,‭ ‬to know more than we know,‭ ‬to be better than we are,‭ ‬to be more generous,‭ ‬or to be of more consequence than we are.‭

‭"‬He that giveth,‭ ‬let him give with simplicity‭"

‬and truth,‭ ‬guarding in the main against letting our left hand know what our right hand is doing.

Bro Roberts - Sunday morning No. 260