Deadly Deception

Eve was deceived by Satan and so was David in the Old Testament. Judas and Peter, two disciples chosen by Jesus, were also deceived by Satan. All thought they were doing the right thing. Eve was probably the only one who knew those thoughts weren’t hers.

After Pentecost the church was gaining momentum, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:42.43). They were all filled with the Spirit and speaking the word of God boldly (Acts 4:31), and had everything in common (4:32f). You can be sure that everything good that God does, is countered by Satan. “But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostle’s feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God. When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it” (Acts 5:1-6).

Ananias could have kept all the property, but he lied and let people think that he had shared all that he owned. That would not normally be considered a capital offense! The discipline seemed to outweigh the crime. Since Sapphira was part of the lie, she died also. Why did God deal so harshly for such an offense? Because God knows what the real battle is, and He had to send a clear message to the early church. If Satan can get God’s children to believe a lie undetected, he can exert some control over them. The apostle revealed the true nature of the sin when he said, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit.” The origin of the lie was demonic, and such lies will control you. To be filled implies to be controlled. It is the same word used by the apostle Paul when he wrote, “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). To whatever we yield ourselves, to that we will be filled (controlled).

Suppose I told you something about yourself or God that was not true and you believed it. Would that have some negative effect on your life? Of course it would. What would the impact be on your life if you believed a lot of lies? Let’s believe the truth that will set us free. It is our choice.

Dr. Neil

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