October 2, 2022 – Acts 5

Lesson Date: October 2, 2022

Focal Scripture Passage: Acts 5:1-42

AIM: To lead students to contrast the results of the lies of Ananias and Sapphira with the truth proclaimed by the disciples, and to commit to tell the truth about Jesus, regardless of the cost.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Acts 5 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask if anyone present has ever been a witness in a court trial.  If so, ask if they had to swear to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  Ask: “Do you think everyone who testifies in a court of law tells the truth?” (unfortunately, no).

Ask: “Do you think it is okay to lie?”  They will probably say “no,” but then ask them to silently answer following questions:

  • “Kids often lie to avoid punishment. Would you lie to avoid being punished?”
  • “Would you lie if your boss told you it would help the company?”
  • “Would you lie if a friend gave you a gift that you hated, and then asked how you liked it?”
  • “Would you lie about being sick so you could stay out of work for some other reason?”

Read the following to the class:

Researchers say there is a lot we get wrong about deception, truth-telling and trust—and that, if mastered, lying the right way can actually help build connections, trust and businesses. “I believe that we should be teaching our kids, students and employees when and how to lie,” says Maurice Schweitzer, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, who studies deception and trust.[1]

Ask: “How do you feel about that?”  Tell the students in Acts 5 we will learn about some people who lied and some people who refused to tell anything but the truth.  The title of today’s lesson is Deadly Lies vs. Life-Giving Truth.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (there’s only “One Way” to salvation: Jesus).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Acts 4:12).
  2. Deadly Lies.
    • Read Acts 4:34-37.
    • Remind the students that the new church was so unified that believers were selling their possessions and bringing the money to the apostles to provide for one another’s needs.
    • Read Acts 5:1-2.
    • Ask: “What did Ananias and Sapphira do?” (sold a possession, but secretly kept back part of the money for themselves, professing to have brought the entire sale price).
    • Tell the class Peter confronted Ananias about his lie.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Acts 5:3-4.
    • Ask: “Who did Peter say Ananias had lied to?” (v. 3 – the Holy Ghost, v. 4 – God; in other words, the Holy Spirit is God).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Acts 5:5-6.
    • Ask: “What happed to Ananias because he lied to God?” (he died).
    • Read Acts 5:7-10.
    • Tell the students that Sapphira arrived, and Peter questioned her about the money.
    • Ask: “What happened when she lied?” (she died).
    • Explain the following:
      • Ananias and Sapphira lied and died.
      • God doesn’t kill everyone who tells a lie; if He did, the planet would be empty.
      • God killed Ananias and Sapphira as a warning that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
    • Summarize: Ananias and Sapphira lied to God and the apostles to try to make themselves look good in the eyes of the church, but their lies resulted in their deaths.
  3. Results of Adhering to the Truth.
    • Tell the students that Peter and the other apostles refused to accept lies, clinging instead to the truth of the Gospel.
    • Ask: “What do you think happened because Peter rejected lies and adhered to the truth?”
    • Ask a volunteer to read Acts 5:11-12.
    • Ask: “According to verse 11, what happened because they refused to tolerate lies?” (great fear and awe came upon the church and everyone who heard).
    • Ask: “According to verse 12, what else happened?” (many signs and wonders were done by the apostles, and the church remained unified).
    • Remind the class that Solomon’s porch was a covered, colonnaded area along the eastern edge of the Temple complex where the new believers gathered (Acts 3:11).
    • Read Acts 5:13-14.
    • Explain that when these things happened, the hypocrites and half-hearted were afraid to join the church gatherings (perhaps they were liars, too).
    • Ask: “According to verse 14, what else happened as a result of the apostles’ adherence to the truth?” (miraculous church growth: multitudes of men and women were saved).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Acts 5:15-16.
    • Ask: “What else happened?” (many more healings and miracles took place).
    • Stress the fact that Jerusalem and the surrounding region was turned upside down because Peter and the apostles refused to accept lies, clinging instead to the truth; the truth about Jesus brought miraculous results!
    • Summarize: When Peter and the apostles refused to tolerate lies in the church, the Lord did miraculous works and saved many souls.
  4. Life-Giving Truth.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Acts 5:17-18.
    • Explain the following:
      • The high priest and many members of the Sanhedrin were Sadducees.
      • Sadducees were liberals who didn’t believe in miracles, angels, or resurrection.
      • This high priest and Sanhedrin were the very ones who condemned Jesus to death.
      • Now they were faced with another outburst of undeniable miracles in Jesus’ name.
    • Ask: “What did they do?” (arrested the apostles and locked them up in prison).
    • Read Acts 5:19-21a.
    • Ask: “What happened in verse 19?” (an angel miraculously opened the prison doors and freed the apostles).
    • Ask: “What did the angel tell them in verse 20?” (go to the Temple and speak “all the words of this life”).
    • Ask: “What did the apostles do?” (obeyed the angel; they went back to the Temple and taught people about Jesus).
    • Tell the students that the lies of Ananias and Sapphira resulted in their deaths, but the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings life.
    • Read Acts 5:21b-25.
    • Explain the following:
      • The high priest and Sanhedrin assembled and summoned the prisoners (the apostles) to appear before them for questioning.
      • The officers reported back that the apostles were not in the prison.
      • The doors were locked, and the guards were on duty, but the prisoners were gone.
      • The high priest and other leaders were worried about what would come of this.
    • Ask: “According to verse 25, what was reported to them?” (the apostles, whom they had put in prison, were free and teaching in the Temple).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Acts 5:26-28.
    • Tell the class the officers brought the apostles back before the Sanhedrin.
    • Ask: “What did the high priest say to them?” (we commanded you not to teach in Jesus’ name, but you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you want to make us appear responsible for Jesus’ death).
    • Read Acts 5:29-32.
    • Ask: “How did Peter and the other apostles answer in verse 29?” (we must obey God rather than men).
    • Explain the following:
      • Peter said that God raised up Jesus, whom they had crucified (v. 30).
      • He went on to say that Jesus is the Savior who forgives (v. 31).
      • Peter said that the apostles and the Holy Spirit were witnesses of these things (v. 32).
      • In verses 33-39, Gamaliel, a highly respected member of the Sanhedrin, urged the others to leave the apostles alone, “lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”
      • The Sanhedrin agreed with Gamaliel’s advice (this was the same Gamaliel who trained Paul – Acts 22:3).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Acts 5:40-42
    • Ask: “What did the high priest and the Sanhedrin do to the apostles in verse 40?” (beat them, commanded them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and freed them).
    • Ask: “What was the attitude of the apostles after being beaten? Were they defeated?  Did they quit preaching in Jesus’ name?” (no, they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for Jesus; see also Matt. 5:12; 1 Pet. 3:14).
    • Ask: “According to verse 42, what did they do?” (they continued preaching and teaching daily in the Temple and in private homes).
    • Tell the students that a divine command (v. 20) cannot be overruled by mere human authority (v. 40).
    • Summarize: The apostles boldly preached the life-giving truth of the Gospel, in spite of threats and bodily attacks.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the students that Ananias and Sapphira lied to God and the apostles to try to make themselves look good.  Ask: “What happened to them as a result of their lies?” (they died).  Ask: “Do you think they would have lied if they had known it would cost them their lives?” (no; their lie and the money it brought them was not worth their lives).

Remind the class that the apostles faithfully proclaimed the life-giving truth about salvation through Jesus Christ.  Ask: “What happened to them as a result of telling the truth?” (they were arrested, rebuked, and beaten).  Ask: “Do you think the apostles would have taught the truth of the Gospel if they had known that they would be arrested and beaten?” (yes; they continued teaching in Jesus’ name in spite of threats and beatings; they even rejoiced to be able to suffer for Jesus).

Ask: “What happened to the people of Jerusalem and the surrounding region because the apostles rejected lies and taught the life-giving truths of the Gospel of Jesus?” (multitudes were healed, delivered from demons, and saved).  Tell the students that in addition, the Gospel spread throughout the region and the apostles got to witness about Jesus to the Jewish rulers.

Ask: “What about you?”  Ask the following questions:

  • “Do you lie to God about your supposed ‘reasons’ for missing church or withholding God’s tithes? If so, you should confess that sin right now and change your ways.”
  • “Do you tell the life-giving truth about Jesus, regardless of the consequences? If not, why don’t you make a commitment to God to do that right now?”

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Urge them to confess their sin of lying to God, and commit to telling the truth about Jesus, regardless of the cost.  Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Acts 5:41.  Encourage everyone to follow through on their commitments this week.

 

[1] https://time.com/5406989/when-better-to-lie-than-tell-truth/

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