Many of us have read and heard sermons about Ananias and Sapphira. In Acts 5:1-11, we learn about this husband and wife, who sold a parcel of property. They lied to the church when they said that they gave all of the money to the church. It would have been fine if they had said, “We sold the property for $10,000, and we are giving $5,000 to the church.” No problem. They would have been honest.
What happened next scared the socks off of everyone. Both Ananias and Sapphira instantly died. “And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. (Acts 5:11)” This brings us to the topic I would like us to consider today; being honest with God.
The Story of Achan
God’s judgment in Acts, chapter five, would have immediately brought to the Jewish minds the story of Achan, for Achan, too, lied to God. You can read the full account in Joshua, chapter seven. Here’s an important passage:
And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” – Joshua 7:20-21
Achan’s lie cost him his life. God’s command to the Israelites to not take anything from Jericho was a kind of “first fruits.” Jericho was the first city in the promised land, so Jericho’s valuables belonged to God. When Joshua lamented the Israelite’s defeat at Ai, the second city they attacked in the promised land, God said to Joshua, “...they have stolen and lied and put them [things belonging to God] among their own belongings. (Joshua 7:11)” Likewise, Ananias and Sapphira were members of the early Church. Their sin was not the amount of money they kept, but it was the lie they told.
Being Honest With God
Isn’t it foolish when we lie to ourselves about a sin? We do this to try to hide it from God. This attempt to hide sin is the same response that Adam had when the first sin was exposed. (Genesis 3:12) We should remind ourselves, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalms 145:8) We must tell God the truth even if the truth is that we’re angry at Him. He has broad shoulders; He can handle it. As your mother told you, “Honesty is the best policy.”
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