Acts 5:1-11

Talks for Growing Christians

Judgment for Lying to the Holy Spirit; Blessing in the Early Church

Acts 5:1-11

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Lesson Number 9

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The Holy Spirit is God.
  2. There is a sin unto death.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t test the Holy Spirit.


  1. What sort of problems did the early church face?
  2. Who was Barnabas?
  3. Did Ananias and Sapphira sin by not giving all of their money to the church?
  4. How does 1 John 5:16 relate to this passage?
  5. True or False. When a believer dies young we can assume it is because they committed a “sin unto death.”


  1. Externally the Church faced persecution. Internally they faced the problems of dishonesty and complaining. (The Church today faces these same sorts of problems.)
  2. Barnabas was one of the early believers who generously sold some land to benefit other believers. Later he traveled with the apostle Paul on Paul’s first missionary journey.
  3. No, their sin was that they pretended that they were giving the whole price of the land to the Lord. They wanted the praise that comes with giving everything, without giving everything.
  4. John speaks of a “sin unto death” for the believer. Ananias and Sapphira committed such a sin, so that God had to discipline these believers with death. (See also 1 Corinthians 11:30.)
  5. False. Just because a fellow believer is sick or dies, don’t assume that this is God’s discipline. Christians get sick or die for all kinds of reasons.


  1. Review Acts 5:3-4, the proof-text for the deity of the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the Trinity is so important, yet many believers are careless in the way they describe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Discuss what you know about the tri-unity of God. How can you better communicate this relationship in the way you talk about the Godhead?
  2. Is the Holy Spirit an “it” or a “He”? The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is another important doctrine, one that has been challenged in recent decades. It is important to remember that the Person of the Holy Spirit is not a “power” or a “thing.” Review these verses: Ephesians 4:30, John 14:26, John 16:13-15, Romans 8:14, 26.


  1. To test the Holy Spirit means to see how much you can get away with before God judges you. Sometimes believers presume upon God and stretch Him to the limits of His longsuffering and patience. Dishonesty and hypocrisy are certain examples of testing the Holy Spirit. Don’t test the Holy Spirit.

Key Verses

  • “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…? You have not lied to men but to God.” Acts 5:3-4
  • “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord?” Acts 5:9

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