Daily Word

Satan-filled heart | Acts 5:1-11

1 But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. 2 He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest.

3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4 The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!”

5 As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. 6 Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.

7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?” “Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.” 9 And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.”

10 Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.

Acts 5:1-11 (NLT) 中文

All in common but…

In yesterday’s passage, we see how the early church lived in community with one another. Of particular interest for today’s passage is that they held everything in common. People sold their property and gave the proceeds for the benefit of others. The Spirit was moving mightily. Earlier we read how they spent their time in fellowship and prayer, sharing meals together and listening to the teaching of the Apostles (Acts 2:43-47). 

But it wasn’t all roses. As noted yesterday, sinful nature (empowered by Satan) rears its ugly head to try and stop the work of God. In juxtaposition to the stellar example of Barnabas, we are now introduced to Ananias and his wife, Sapphira.

Their decision

So these two got into the act of Koinonia giving. They feel the need to sell property and donate it as well. As is noted in v4 that the property was theirs to keep or sell and they were free to give as much as their faith allowed them to. But they both lied, and both suffered the dire consequences.

But how did Peter know? This is one of the gifts of the Spirit, the word of knowledge. As with all the Spiritual gifts, they are given by the Spirit as He determines (1 Cor 12:11). And they are given for the purpose of building up the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:7). 

Satan-filled heart

When you read that Satan filled Ananias’ heart, who else comes to mind? Judas? Luke 22:3 tells us, “Satan entered Judas”. Another example, though not specifically mentioning Satan, is Achan from the OT. “The story of Ananias is to the Book of Acts what the story of Achan is to the book of Joshua. In both narratives an act of deceit interrupts the victorious progress of the people of God.” (Bruce quoted  by enduringword.com)

Can this, does this, still happen today?

Depending on your theology, these gifts are still active today. Assuming so, then yes, the Spirit can reveal to someone information about a situation or person. They should handle this information appropriately and, for the benefit of the body. Would God publically strike someone dead today? I’ve never seen it or heard it but I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibility. There was a clear reason for it in the forming of the early church. Is it necessary today? It’s something you don’t want to discover personally.


  • God doesn’t mess around! Can you think of areas of your life you have not been honest with other brothers and sisters, and with God, our Father? Be quick to confess and repent – to them and to Him! Ask, no beg, for forgiveness.
  • What can we learn about bad character, that we may avoid it? We don’t have many details. Surely there was some fear, possibly greed, and likely some pride mixed in. We shall hold off from judging too harshly lest we take grace for granted.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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