Acts 4:36-37 tells us that a man called Barnabas sold a field and gave the money to the apostles so that it could be used for distribution among the believers who were in need. His action must have brought Barnabas much praise and thanks among the believers. In fact, his name was actually “Joseph”, but the apostles called him “Barnabas” which means “Son of Encouragement”. It is this event at the end of the previous chapter which now leads into our text. Acts 5:1-11 is not an interruption in the flow of the book, rather, it is an integral part of the narrative. Ananias, moved by what he has just seen Barnabas do, decides along with this wife, to do the same thing. The only difference is, his action is motivated by a completely different spirit than that of Barnabas. If Barnabas was moved by the Holy Spirit to do what he did, and for that he won much praise and favour from God and men, Ananias has done the opposite. Moved by a different spirit, an unholy spirit, he received no praise, but only severe judgment. Ananias was not even given a chance to repent before he was struck down. Then the apostles didn’t even have the courtesy to inform his wife about his death and when she came looking for him, she was also struck down for participating in the lie. What kind of pastoral care is that? God will not be mocked by human sin, particularly premeditated deceit! (unlike Eli’s sons, who had open orgies in the temple, manifesting hormonal urges, with no aforethought deceit) — Mark Verbruggen

 

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+ananias+saffira&qpvt=images+ananias+saffira&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=3722EB12C4841723977C1A7F1C2D3EEDFD0AA036&selectedIndex=3

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+eli’s+wicked+sons&qpvt=images+eli%27s+wicked+sons&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=3A89D66468E215743EC9D09A23B3BD8637580CD7&selectedIndex=7

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http://www.crcna.org/resources/church-resources/reading-sermons/ananias-and-sapphira-lesson-grace

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What do you do with a text such as Acts 5:1-11 which tells us about the deaths of Ananias and his wife Sapphira?

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So why were they put to death for their actions?  Aren’t all of us at some time or another guilty of the same sin?  The answer is “Yes, we are”.  So why aren’t we punished with a death sentence?  The short answer is the grace of God.  Psalm 103:10 says that the Lord “does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”  That’s grace.  Grace is not something we can demand from the Lord.  It’s not something we can earn.  So why was this couple in our text denied grace and made to pay for their sin with capital punishment?  Ultimately the answer to this question is left to the Lord himself.  However, perhaps we would benefit from seeing our text in light of the miracles which happened in the book of Acts.

What are miracles?  In essence a miracle is a restoration back to the way things are supposed to be.  They are a sign of God’s “shalom”, his peace and restoration coming upon an individual or situation which is broken by the Fall.  It is interesting to note that before and after our text, Luke tells us about miraculous healings which the apostles and in particular Peter, were enabled to perform.  In Acts 3 we read an account in which Peter healed a man who had been crippled from birth.  Immediately after the incident in our text it says in Acts 5:15 that the apostles healed so many others that people brought their sick into the streets so that “at least Peter’s shadow might fall on them” as they lay in the street.  Miracles should not be regarded as “extraordinary” signs.  They are reaffirmations of the normativity of the good creation order which is restored in Christ.  They represent manifestations of the future kingdom within our present reality.  That being the case, perhaps we should see the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira from this perspective as well.  If the coming of the Kingdom means restoration for mankind and creation and all that God chooses to bless with his grace, it also means destruction for that which is evil.  Without grace we all deserve death.  The death of this couple is not “extraordinary” its, dare I say, “normal” in a restored world.  The destruction of evil is as real as the restoration of mankind and creation.  So why them and not others?  That is not a question to which we are given an answer.  Our only response to all of this should be, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

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http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/fear-of-the-lord–do-we-have-it-sherie-mercier-sermon-on-apologetics-general-72029.asp

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Nadab and Abihu made the big mistake of offering “strange fire” before the Lord, but they were already drunk when they entered into the tabernacle. God had no choice but to bring swift judgment upon them. Note also, that Aaron and his other sons were not to mourn them or go out because of the anointing. We are not to mourn those who God will judge.

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http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/Matthew-Henry/Lev/Sin-Death-Nadab-Abihu

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Next to Moses and Aaron, none were more likely to be honourable in Israel than Nadab and Abihu.

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But Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu were puffed up with prideful deceit,

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and  they were heated in cognition with wine.

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While the people were prostrate before the Lord, adoring his presence and glory, they rushed into the tabernacle to burn incense, though not at the appointed time; both together, instead of one alone, and with fire not taken from the altar.

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If   it had been done through ignorance, they would have been allowed to bring a sin-offering.

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But the soul that doeth presumptuously in fraud against God, and in contempt of God’s majesty and justice, that soul shall be cut off.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/augustinian-meme-tear-down-the-wall-of-fearpretenseself-importance-no-not-from-reagans-1987-berlin-wall-crucible-but-from-pink-floyds-roger-waters-1979-the-wall-movie-tribute/

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