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Acts 5:8

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was, that they were ambitious of being thought eminent disciples, when they were not true disciples. Hypocrites may deny themselves, may forego their worldly advantage in one instance, with a prospect of finding their account in something else. They were covetous of the wealth of the world, and distrustful of God and his providence. They thought they might serve both God and mammon. They thought to deceive the apostles. The Spirit of God in Peter discerned the principle of unbelief reigning in the heart of Ananias. But whatever Satan might suggest, he could not have filled the heart of Ananias with this wickedness had he not been consenting. The falsehood was an attempt to deceive the Spirit of truth, who so manifestly spoke and acted by the apostles. The crime of Ananias was not his retaining part of the price of the land; he might have kept it all, had he pleased; but his endeavouring to impose upon the apostles with an awful lie, from a desire to make a vain show, joined with covetousness. But if we think to put a cheat upon God, we shall put a fatal cheat upon our own souls. How sad to see those relations who should quicken one another to that which is good, hardening one another in that which is evil! And this punishment was in reality mercy to vast numbers. It would cause strict self-examination, prayer, and dread of hypocrisy, covetousness, and vain-glory, and it should still do so. It would prevent the increase of false professors. Let us learn hence how hateful falsehood is to the God of truth, and not only shun a direct lie, but all advantages from the use of doubtful expressions, and double meaning in our speech.
Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For so much - That is, for the sum which Ananias had presented. This was true, that this sum had been received for it; but it was also true that a larger sum had been received. It is as really a falsehood to deceive in this manner, as it would have been to have affirmed that they received much “more” than they actually did for the land. Falsehood consists in making an erroneous representation of a thing in any way for the purpose of deceiving. And “this” species is much more common than an open and bold lie, affirming what is in no sense true.

Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 72-6

Afterward, Ananias and Sapphira grieved the Holy Spirit by yielding to feelings of covetousness. They began to regret their promise and soon lost the sweet influence of the blessing that had warmed their hearts with a desire to do large things in behalf of the cause of Christ. They thought they had been too hasty, that they ought to reconsider their decision. They talked the matter over, and decided not to fulfill their pledge. They saw, however, that those who parted with their possessions to supply the needs of their poorer brethren, were held in high esteem among the believers; and ashamed to have their brethren know that their selfish souls grudged that which they had solemnly dedicated to God, they deliberately decided to sell their property and pretend to give all the proceeds into the general fund, but really to keep a large share for themselves. Thus they would secure their living from the common store and at the same time gain the high esteem of their brethren. AA 72.1

But God hates hypocrisy and falsehood. Ananias and Sapphira practiced fraud in their dealing with God; they lied to the Holy Spirit, and their sin was visited with swift and terrible judgment. When Ananias came with his offering, 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.” AA 72.2

“Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.” AA 73.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 148-50

I speak to our people. If you draw close to Jesus and seek to adorn your profession by a well-ordered life and godly conversation, your feet will be kept from straying into forbidden paths. If you will only watch, continually watch unto prayer, if you will do everything as if you were in the immediate presence of God, you will be saved from yielding to temptation, and may hope to be kept pure, spotless, and undefiled till the last. If you hold the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end, your ways will be established in God; and what grace has begun, glory will crown in the kingdom of our God. The fruits of the Spirit are “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” If Christ be within us, we shall crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts. 5T 148.1

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Ellen G. White
Counsels on Stewardship, 312-4

The hearts of Ananias and his wife were moved by the Holy Spirit to devote their possessions to God as their brethren had done. But after they had made the pledge, they drew back, and determined not to fulfill it. While professing to give all, they kept back part of the price. They had practiced fraud toward God, they had lied to the Holy Spirit, and their sin was visited with swift and terrible judgment. They lost not only the present life, but eternal life. CS 312.1

The Lord saw that this signal manifestation of His justice was needed to guard others against incurring the same guilt. It testified that men cannot deceive God, that He detects the hidden sin of the heart, and that He will not be mocked. It was designed as a warning to the young church, to lead them to examine their motives, to beware of indulging selfishness and vainglory, to beware of robbing God. CS 312.2

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Ellen G. White
Medical Ministry, 126-7

When our sanitariums are conducted as they should be, a large medical missionary work will be done. Everyone will do his work in such a way and with such a spirit that he will shine as a light in the world. MM 126.1

God calls for practical Christlike work. The patients who come to our sanitariums are to see carried out the principles laid down in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. Those who have accepted the truth are to practice it because it is the truth. In the work of God in our institutions the truth is to be preserved in all its sacred influences. MM 126.2

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 496

Of the millions of Israel there was but one man who, in that solemn hour of triumph and of judgment, had dared to transgress the command of God. Achan's covetousness was excited by the sight of that costly robe of Shinar; even when it had brought him face to face with death he called it “a goodly Babylonish garment.” One sin had led to another, and he appropriated the gold and silver devoted to the treasury of the Lord—he robbed God of the first fruits of the land of Canaan. PP 496.1

The deadly sin that led to Achan's ruin had its root in covetousness, of all sins one of the most common and the most lightly regarded. While other offenses meet with detection and punishment, how rarely does the violation of the tenth commandment so much as call forth censure. The enormity of this sin, and its terrible results, are the lessons of Achan's history. PP 496.2

Covetousness is an evil of gradual development. Achan had cherished greed of gain until it became a habit, binding him in fetters well-nigh impossible to break. While fostering this evil, he would have been filled with horror at the thought of bringing disaster upon Israel; but his perceptions were deadened by sin, and when temptation came, he fell an easy prey. PP 496.3

Are not similar sins still committed, in the face of warnings as solemn and explicit? We are as directly forbidden to indulge covetousness as was Achan to appropriate the spoils of Jericho. God has declared it to be idolatry. We are warned, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24. “Take heed, and beware of covetousness.” Luke 12:15. “Let it not be once named among you.” Ephesians 5:3. We have before us the fearful doom of Achan, of Judas, of Ananias and Sapphira. Back of all these we have that of Lucifer, the “son of the morning,” who, coveting a higher state, forfeited forever the brightness and bliss of heaven. And yet, notwithstanding all these warnings, covetousness abounds. PP 496.4

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