But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,…
I. IT IS VAIN TO EXPECT THAT IN THIS WORLD THE CHURCH WILL EVER BE PERFECTLY PURE. I mean not only that imperfections will always adhere to the members of the Church because "there is not a just man upon earth that doth good and sinneth not," but farther, that hypocrites will be found intermixed with the saints. The wheat and the chaff lie together on the barn floor. No precautions, however strict, can prevent their admission; no discipline, however vigorous, no doctrine, however faithful, will be able to expel them.
II. WE OUGHT TO GUARD AGAINST THE PREDOMINANCE OF ANY SINFUL PASSION, whether it be avarice, ambition, sensuality, envy, pride, or any other lust of the flesh or of the spirit. As "one sinner destroys much good," so one sin reigning in the heart counteracts the efficacy of the best means, and may carry us to a very great length in depravity. If the restraints of providence be removed, and a strong temptation be presented in favourable circumstances, it will precipitate us into such excesses as shall dishonour us in the eyes of men, and provoke God to pour out upon us the fury of His wrath.
III. IMPENITENT SINNERS ARE ALWAYS IN DANGER OF PERISHING BY THE VENGEANCE OF HEAVEN. Judgment, indeed, is God's "strange work," but it is a work which a regard to His glory sometimes calls upon Him to perform. And when one victim falls, it is impossible .to tell who shall be the next. A sentence of death is passed upon all unbelievers, the execution of which is delayed only by the long-suffering and patience of God. Let not men presume upon His patience, for, although Divine, it has its limits, beyond which it will not extend (Isaiah 33:14).
IV. LET US, ABOVE ALL THINGS, STUDY TO BE SINCERE IN RELIGION. What will hypocrisy avail? Can our artifice impose upon God? (Hebrews 4:13). In vain did Ananias and Sapphira secretly concert their plan and assume the confidence of conscious integrity to quash any ,suspicion of their baseness. A good name, the esteem and friendly offices of Christians, and even worldly advantages, may be the recompense of dissimulation in this world, but what awaits it in the next? (Job 27:8).
(J. Dick, A. M.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,