About three hours later his wife also came in, unaware of what had happened.
Acts 5:7-11 (or ver. 11)
I. The intimate connection of the proclamation of gospel truth and mercy with THE RENOVATION OF HUMAN SOCIETY.
1. Family life, domestic intimacy, the root of public life. We must choose all our relations with the light of God in Christ.
2. The conspiracy of Ananias and Sapphira was a blow at the work of the Spirit in raising up a new spiritual life on the basis of self-sacrifice and absolute truthfulness.
3. The awful judgment was a proclamation of mercy - Come and hide under this Divine power and be safe.
II. A marvelous display of THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY poured out on the apostles. The words of Peter an example:
1. Of the Spirit of truth and grace in him; he proceeded with the utmost care, publicity, tenderness, pity. The wife had the opportunity of repentance, while the appeal was made, not on the ground of terror, for she knew nothing, but on the ground of simple truth - Tell me the truth.
2. Of the spirit of discernment and, in the Name of the Lord, of prediction. Had not Peter under supernatural impulse foreseen the death of the woman, he would not have dared to utter such words. As it was, it was a responsibility which none but an inspired man would have assumed. Such a fact speaks volumes on the supernatural state of the Church at that time.
III. A GRACIOUS APPLICATION of extraordinary facts.
1. To the Church itself. The solemnization of fellowship. God thus said," Take heed how you join my people." The ethical set in the light of the spiritual. "Be ye holy." The sins of falsehood, presumption, avarice, self-confidence, set forth. The Divine kingdom clearly revealed. If God is so near, and yet to all who trust in Christ near to bless, how glorious this time! What is he not doing? and how little need we fear the world's opposition when he can strike dead our enemies? "Stand still and see the salvation." Compare the Israelites looking back on Pharaoh's host and forward to the promised land.
2. To the world. "All that heard these things." Such facts preached, loudly and widely, where the preacher's voice did not reach. We must remember that grace and providence go hand-in-hand. Fallow ground broken up by the ploughshare of terrible events and warning dispensations. "Judgment begins at the house of God; what shall the end be," etc.? Yet the "fear was a fear mingled with the light of hope;" for these deaths pointed to the way of life. The Church was the more conspicuously revealed as a refuge opened by God for all. So in the terrible times of human history religion has gone forth with special power. What message has philosophy at such times? Where are the rationalists and the doubters in the great crises of the world? Press home the facts upon those who tempt the Spirit of the Lord by untruthfulness, rebellion, indifference, worldliness. - R.
It was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
(H. W. Beecher.)1. She had longer time for consideration.
2. Peter, by a yet more pointed question, gave her a much better opportunity for reflection, and for giving glory to God.
3. She answered still more shamelessly.
4. And is, therefore, obliged to listen more fully to her sentence, and to hear what has happened to her husband.
1. A fellowship of goods and a business transaction to become rich instead of a union of hearts in the Lord; or,
2. A union to the service of the world, the flesh, and the devil, instead of a pious resolution. "I and my house will serve the Lord." And,
3. A walking together to hell, it may be to a hell on earth, or to eternal perdition, instead of the married pair being helpers of one another's joys and blessedness, and striving how the one might bring the other to heaven. "How is it that ye have agreed together?" — a serious question to every married pair.
Then she fell down straightway at his feet and gave up the ghost.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
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