When both Ananias and Sapphira died after church members accused them of lying to and deceiving God, it is as though God’s wrath against sinners Ananias and Sapphira killed them. Understandably this shocked the other believers. The point here seems to be two-fold: 1) to lie to and to attempt to deceive the church is to do the same to the God, and this is looked upon as a grave sin, and 2), sinning like this may put your very life in peril.
As I read this, I got the feeling that this message deals with the power and control of the church – a story as a means to control the behavior of the parishioners. Wow! Don’t lie to the church or God or it will cost you your life. This message is in sharp contrast to another message I hold dear – and that is that God is a primordial goodness that is eternally present, regardless of what one does or does not do – a goodness and love bestowed upon each of us that is neither earned or deserved. We are all beloved to God, and God is forgiving and merciful.