Q&A SESSION WITH PASTOR CHRIS OYAKHILOME.
QUESTION: In the book of Acts chapter 5, Ananias and his wife Sapphira fell down and died at the feet of the Apostles because of what they had done. They did wrong, but why did they die? Wasn’t there forgiveness for them? They were already in the New Testament, so why couldn’t they be forgiven and given a chance to repent? In today’s world, so many people do worse things and get away with it.
ANSWER: [Laughs] Well, it’s a very complex question with a simple answer. So, we will read this story here; it’s in a few verses of scripture and the answer will be right there. From verse one: “ But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.” [Acts 5: 1-6] Now, shortly afterward, by the space of three hours, his wife came and said the same kind of things, and Peter also reprimanded her and she died as well.
Well, why did they die? Because of what Peter said in verse four [the latter part]: “thou hast not lied unto men but unto God”. Let me give you what Jesus said here: St Matthew’s gospel chapter 12 from verse 31: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” [Matthew 12:31-32] That’s really tough. Now, you know the Holy Spirit was the one that gave the instructions and the members, [the Christians] the brethren in the church, began to give their possessions as they were led, and they brought these things to the apostles’ feet. They sold and brought to the apostles’ feet and distribution was made. This was the guidance of the Holy Spirit on that occasion. And then, these two, a man and his wife, decided to sell a property, and when they sold the property, they brought part of the money to the apostles. Now what they did was this: they chose to bring part of it and to lie that that was all of it. And, in that fourth verse, Peter said, “why have you decided to lie to the Holy Spirit…before you sold it, it belonged to you, you didn’t have to sell it; you could have chosen not to sell it. After you sold it, it was still yours, you didn’t have to give.” So, you could have come to say we sold the property and we have brought part of the price to you. They could have said that, but they wanted the glory of others thinking that they were so humble and had given so much, but they were lying. They brought only part of it, kept back part of the price, and tried to deceive the apostle by saying, “we brought all of it”. And the apostle knew through the spirit of God that they had conceived this lie within them and he said, “why hath Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Ghost; you haven’t lied to men but unto God.”
Now, the question, “couldn’t they have been forgiven?” No! They lied to the Holy Ghost; they planned to come to lie to the Spirit of God. That’s exactly what Jesus said. On this occasion, this man and his wife fell down and died. Now, there are other things; the bible doesn’t say that everyone who does [commits] this sin will fall down and die immediately. The point is, they will be punished. He says there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come. So, they will be punished and there are different kinds of punishment: death immediately is there, and then there are others, suffering through life, hardships [untold hardships]. So many things could happen, and that’s why a Christian must be very careful. The bible says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” [Hebrews 10:31] So, we have to be very careful. So, don’t be deceived that someone did a similar thing and got away with it. No! No one gets away with it – no one. Jesus said so. Jesus said so; they don’t get away with it.
But, you don’t have to be afraid whether or not you might sin against the Holy Spirit. No! A genuine Christian shouldn’t sin against the Holy Spirit. You shouldn’t. You shouldn’t blaspheme the Holy Spirit. You shouldn’t speak against the Holy Spirit. We’ve been warned; it’s in the word. So, that’s very important.