You remember the story of Ananias and Sapphira. They were believers who dropped dead in the church because they misrepresented who Jesus was. They lied to Peter about the amount they received for the land they sold, but Peter told them they had lied to the Holy Ghost. Indeed, if a Christian lies to any man, it's as if that person has lied to God (see Acts 5:1-11).
What exactly was this couple’s lie? It was their misappropriation of money designated for the poor. They must have testified to the buyer, “Everything you pay us is for the cause of Christ. It all goes to widows and the poor.” But they kept back a portion of the money for themselves.
The message behind the story of Ananias and Sapphira is that you do not touch what belongs to the poor and needy. God won’t stand by and see His Son misrepresented to the world by those who call themselves by His name.
I ask you, how did the Holy Spirit bring about this sudden change of heart in those newly baptized believers in Jerusalem? Their transformation was an incredible miracle. The answer is that these Christians were the children of Malachi’s prophecy. Malachi is the last prophet we hear from in the Old Testament. God spoke through him, saying, “I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless” (Malachi 3:5).
Now fast-forward in time to the church in Jerusalem. These believers were going from house to house in fellowship. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). What was the apostles’ doctrine mentioned here? It was the very words of Christ. Jesus had instructed His disciples, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
Jesus’ words were quickened in their hearts, and they knew they could never live the same way again. Suddenly, they saw how serious this matter of representing Jesus truly was. It drove them into their houses to find everything they didn’t need, and then they took those goods to the streets to sell. Simply put, Christ’s Word in Matthew 25 gave these believers a new attitude of love and concern for the poor.