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An angel committed the first sin in the universe that desecrated heaven and later touched the earth. It was the sin of envy and Lucifer was the transgressor. (Ezk.28 and Isa.14) Lucifer a created being wanted God’s position. He fought for it and suffered great loss. His sin was the first example of envy and was accompanied with pride and deception. The third sin was also envy and this time it was committed by Cain, who killed his brother Abel. (Gen.4:1-7)
Envy is a negative desire to wear a shoe size that is bigger than your feet. It is a craving for something or a position of honor without the corresponding godly character that comes with it. A desire to want what someone else has, without paying the price for it. The sin of envy never walks alone. The label it comes with may be envy, but the package contains other sins like lies, jealousy and covetousness, pride and deception.
Discontentment is a state of dissatisfaction in life and it can be positive or negative. It is evil when the dissatisfaction eyes another’s possession or personality. Positive dissatisfaction is good and we need it to experience changes in life. It helps you to move on in life as you make progress from a bachelor to a married person, from a high school student to a university student etc.
We create an entrance and an atmosphere for demonic operations by the evil spirits in a local Church, if we allow envy to make his home in our hearts.
There is a great difference between spiritual and physical diseases. No one can be faulted for the presence of cancer, ulcer and other major sicknesses in the body. However, spiritual diseases are not automatic. Like Cain in Gen.4:7, someone has to send a letter of invitation to spiritual disease before it can gain entrance into the human heart. Because it is a matter of choice and the employment of the human will, every spiritual disease is punishable under the law of God, unless the offender takes the responsibility for his or her sin and repents.
The spiritual disease in Ananias and Sapphira’s hearts was by choice and will, therefore the Spirit of God faulted them for it. A guilty verdict was passed on them and the sentence was immediate death. Sin is like fire and anyone who plays with it, will be burnt regardless of his status in life. When king David played with sin in 2Sam.11, he was burnt and the seed of immorality became a generation cursed in his family.
Ananias and his wife were poised to contaminate the newborn Church and infest it with one of the spiritual killer diseases called envy. The label on the package was envy, but lies and deception came with it. In no particular order, there are about 12 major spiritual diseases that the enemy wants to infest the Church with:
- Envy and covetousness
- Bitterness and anger
- Gossip and Slander
- Pride and arrogance
- Lies and deception
- Discord and dissention
In life, we must allow God to promote us, but we must not be sluggards or lazy drones. Jesus said, “When you are invited to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited…then, humiliated, you will take the lower place.”(Luke.14:8-11)
The sins of envy, covetousness and jealousy are as weighty as murder, witchcraft and sodomy. Envy was about to infiltrate into the very fabric of God’s new Family and created unspeakable pain for the children. God stepped in quickly and nibbed it in the bud, before it has any chance to grow and take roots downward.
God will not judge a person without a chance to defend himself. There were some forms of dialogue between Peter and Ananias about the actual sale price of the land and the accuracy of their information. Ananias insisted and maintained before Peter that, that was the total amount of the sale of the land. When an individual is given an opportunity to repent and he makes no consideration for the truth, but rather lies, judgment becomes inevitable.
The Spirit of God struck Ananias and he dropped on the floor dead. The knowledge Peter had was given by the Holy Spirit and facing Ananias, he said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has filled your heart and have lied to the Holy Ghost and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? You have not lied to man but to God.”
How does the devil fill people’s hearts with lies? It always begins with an innocent thought and later changes to a monster. The thought to keep a part of the money was not evil at the onset. The money was theirs after all and they were free to give it all or half of it. The evil in this thought was founded on the fact that they called a fraction, a whole number. Half is not one and a third is not one either. They wanted a level of respect that has no corresponding level of truth and appropriate character. They were not children of encouragement or of consolation.
If you falsely make yourself a child of encouragement, others will reject you, but if others make you a child of encouragement, because of your good deeds, God and the Church will accept you. This event in Acts.5 is a New Testament example of those who were building the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. They wanted to make a name for themselves, but God rejected their actions. However, in Gen.12, God found a man who had nothing and He made a name for him. Who is this man? Abraham!
Peter said to Ananias, “You have not lied to man, but to God.” The Holy Spirit is God and this scripture confirmed it. Every sin is directly against God even though a human being may receive the action as the victim. Whenever we sin, we think we are offending only humanity and it has nothing to do with God. That is not true at all. If a man has a son and another evil man kills that son, does the action of the wicked man affect the son’s father? Yes! What of when our sin is causing pain and problem in God’s Family? Does this affect God? Yes! Therefore every sin is primarily against the character and nature of God. It is a submission to Satan and his ways of life.
Elder James said, “Do not swear, not by heaven or by the earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” no or you will be condemned. (Jms.5:12) A person who practices deception and lies will steal. A thief will readily be an unfaithful person, either in human or divine relationship.
How important is money to you? Ananias and his wife died because of it. Is money worth dying for, even if it is in the million? Jesus said, “There is no profit in the exchange of our souls for money.” (Luke.9:25 paraphrased)
In verse 7 about three hours after Ananias had died, his wife, Sapphira walked into the Church. Peter asked her the same question he asked her husband. “Mrs. Ananias, tell me, is this the price you and your husband got for the land? “Yes,” she replied, “that is the price.” Then Peter dropped the bombshell and said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door and they will carry you out also.”
At that moment, she fell down at Peter’s feet and died. Thus the sin and disease of envy were purged from the New Family of God. Revelation.2:8 said that no liar will enter heaven. Jesus said, “Behold I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book. Let him who does right, continue to do right, let the holy person, continue to be holy and the vile man, continue to be vile. I am coming quickly and I will reward everyone according to his or her deeds.”
Mr. and Mrs. Ananias were rewarded for their evil deed and they forfeited heaven just because of a need for recognition and fame. Let us learn from their error and sin and determine to live for God through Jesus Christ. Amen!