In our study of Acts chapter five, we see the effects that lies can have as well as the cost involved in sharing the truth.
"Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet." NIV translation
At the end of chapter 4, we saw the example of Barnabas selling land and giving the money to the apostles. He went on to be a great evangelist and companion of Paul. Here, we see a man and wife sell some property. That seems harmless enough and they even bring part of the proceeds from the sale and give it to the church.
"Then Peter said, 'Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.'" NIV translation
Here, Peter tries to explain to Ananias what he has done wrong. You see, they had the right to sell the land and keep the money but the problem was in the lie. They wanted it to appear that they had sold it and given it to the Lord when, in fact, they had not given it all to the Lord. Peter explains that the lie was not only to the apostles but to God.
"When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him." NIV translation
Why did Ananias die? There are those who say that he was a member of the church and that this is a warning to Christians that God can and will judge them at any moment. They were not believers but were, in fact, wolves in sheep's clothing. Peter told them that they had lied to the Holy Spirit and anyone who knows the Lord knows that we cannot hide things from God. We also see that Peter said that Satan had filled his heart and are reminded of the fact that Jesus said that Satan and the Holy Spirit could not dwell in the same house. This man was, in fact, trying to harm the church by making people think that you could hide some sin from God. We are told that those that heard about it were gripped by fear but what does that mean? In this case it is talking about the fact that the people showed proper respect and awe for God.