The Word 03.07.10
Virtue: Honesty—being truthful in whatever you say and do.
Bible Story: Exposed (Ananias and Saphira) Acts 5: 1-11
Bottom Line: When we lie, we sin against God and He always knows.
SFX – Your “Word” music. Note: be sure to have some extra puzzle pieces laid out so that the kids can safely “drop dead.” Have material for leaders to “wrap up the body” in a pile next to the puzzle pieces.
Good morning (or afternoon) everyone! It’s great to see you all here today! It’s the first week of March which is exciting for so many reasons, even though there’s something called march madness, which leads me to believe that march, for whatever reason, makes some people mad. But not us. Oh! Speaking of what march makes us, this is the first week of a new month, so what does that mean? Pause for answers. YEP! New virtue!! Raise your hand if you can tell me what it is. Pause for answer. That’s right, this month’s virtue is Honesty! And raise your hand if you can tell me what the definition for Honesty is. Pause for answer. Good job. You must really be paying attention upstairs. Alright, well, let’s see if we can say it all together.
CG- Honesty – being truthful in whatever you say and do.
Good! And we’re learning about Honesty this week from a particular part of the Bible. Raise your hand if you can tell me what Bible story we are learning from this morning. Pause for answer. Yes, the story of Ananias (ann-uh-nigh-us) and Saphira (pronounced both suh-figh-ruh and suh-fear-uh). Now children, I’ve got to be honest with you, especially since this month’s virtue is Honesty. I hadn’t read this story until a few weeks ago, and when I did read it I was in the car and my friend was driving. And do you know what I did? I put down the Bible and I said “WOW.” So my friend asked me what was wrong and I said, “THESE PEOPLE DIDN’T GIVE ALL THEIR MONEY TO GOD – SO HE KILLED THEM!!”
I started getting kinda worried and checked my pulse and my wallet at the same time because I was scared. I mean, come on, this is a pretty scary story, right? Let me re-cap it for you one more time before we go any further. The story is that Ananias and Saphira are married, and they are in one of the very first churches. They are part of the first people to believe in and live for Jesus. And the Bible says that these people love Jesus so much that they are sharing everything they have, and giving away things they have to other people who need them, and even SELLING some stuff so they can give the money they make to be used by the church to help other people love Jesus. Right before this story, another man sells his land, and he gives all the money to the church.
So when we get to today’s story, Ananias and Saphira sell their land too. Only they keep some of the money, and then they give the rest of it to the church. And then they drop dead and people come in and take the bodies and bury them, end of story… right?
Wrong. The first time I read the story, that’s how I read it, but my friend pointed something out that I missed. Let’s look at verses 4 through 11 again. I’d like some volunteers to come up here and help me. Pause and bring up an “Ananias” and “Saphira,” as well as a few people to “drag off the bodies.” Make sure the girl is in pants!! (or a boy can play Saphira, whatever. I put Liam in a pink scarf the other day.) Have the kids enact the story as you read it.
CG – “Didn’t the land belong to you before it was sold? After it was sold, you could have used the money as you wished. What made you think of doing such a thing? You haven’t lied to just anyone. You’ve lied to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. All who heard what had happened were filled with fear. 6 Some young men came and wrapped up his body. They carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later, the wife of Ananias came in. She didn’t know what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me. Is this the price you and Ananias sold the land for?” “Yes,” she said. “That’s the price.” 9 Peter asked her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! You can hear the steps of the men who buried your husband. They are at the door. They will carry you out also.” 10 At that very moment she fell down at his feet and died.
Dismiss helpers to go back with group and sit down. Okay, first let’s give a good clap for our helpers! Pause to applaud. That was some good falling down and dying. But did you pay attention to what Peter said?
You see guys, it’s not because they kept some of the money that God was angry with them. Peter even says “You could have used the money as you wished.” No one told Ananias and Saphira that they needed to sell their land or give all the money from it to God. So why did God get so angry? Why did they die? Can anyone raise their hand and tell me? Pause for answers. Well I certainly didn’t get it until my friend pointed it out, “They didn’t die because they were stingy, although that is not very nice. They died because they did not tell the truth.” Let’s look at verse 4 again:
CG- . What made you think of doing such a thing? You haven’t lied to just anyone. You’ve lied to God.”
Ananias and Saphira lied about what they were doing. They said they had given all the money they received, but really they kept part of it for themselves. And even though the person they lied to was Peter, he said to them , “you haven’t lied to just anyone. You’ve lied to God.” When we lie, we sin. And we don’t just sin because of the people we lie to, we sin against GOD. God has told us that we need to be truthful in everything we say and do, and when we don’t do that, we are sinning. And God will always know. Why? Pause for answers. Yep, because God knows EVERYTHING. Let me say that again so we all understand.
CG- When we lie, we sin against God and He always knows.
So we need to tell the truth so that we don’t drop dead and people don’t scurry in to take our bodies out, right? WRONG!!! I mean, yes, lying is a sin, and God cares about telling the truth through so much that these two people died, and he included this story in the Bible for a reason. But boys and girls God doesn’t want us to obey out of fear, but out of LOVE. When we care about someone, we want to be truthful with them. And in that same way, since we love God, we should be truthful with Him.
God cares about us being truthful in everything we say and do. He cares enough to show us this story of two people who lied, and the consequences he gave them. But the number one way God shows us that it is good to be truthful is that GOD IS ALWAYS truthful!! We can always trust that what He says is true, is right. And we have the Bible to remind us of what he says. The whole old testament is about a promise that God was going to rescue his people from sin. For thousands of years they waited, hoping God was telling the truth. And do you know what finally happened? Pause for answers. JESUS!! God was telling the truth the whole time, He sent Jesus to come and die for us, to pay for our sins, and to come back to life to remind us of the next part of his true promise- that He loves us and wants us to believe in him and that He is in heaven, getting ready for us to be with Him forever.
Some of you may not know the story of Jesus. And if you don’t, ask your leaders to tell you more about him. But for those of us who do already, let’s all ask God to help us be truthful in everything we say and do. Let’s close our eyes so we don’t get distracted and then we can pray.
Dear God, thank you for the Bible and for showing us this story to help us understand how important it is to always be truthful. Thank for you knowing everything so you always know if we are truthful or not, and thank you for telling us what you want us to do- to be truthful in everything we say and do. And please God, send the Holy Spirit to be our helper and always help us to be truthful in everything. Amen.
Good job paying attention everyone. Now let’s see what happens with Gordo and Tyler (Or not, for unplugged) and when we get back to our classrooms, we can talk a little more about being truthful in everything because we love God, and because when we lie, we sin against Him and he always knows.