One of Scripture’s most prominent warnings against false motives comes to us in Acts 5: the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Amid the church’s unity and generosity in the previous chapter, the husband and wife’s scheme stands in stark contrast. Though this couple sought to appear generous before others, the Holy Spirit unveiled their treachery so that the church could remain on mission for the Lord.
Why did the church members lay their money at the feet of the apostles? What was the Holy Spirit’s role in the downfalls of Ananias and Sapphira?
The last section of Acts 4 recounted the oneness of the early church, as they lived in fellowship and in concern for one another. To lay something at another person’s feet signified a trust in that person’s responsibility over what had been given. We read that the early church members’ desire was for the apostles to distribute their proceeds where they would be most beneficial for others. Their generosity was honoring to God and fulfilled the commands of Deuteronomy 15. Ultimately, it was the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the early church that transformed their hearts to give generously and joyfully to the Lord.
On the other hand, Ananias and Sapphira tried to appear like they had unselfish virtues, yet they held fast to greedy motives. While others obeyed the Holy Spirit’s power at work, Ananias and Sapphira allowed the desires of their flesh to take precedence over the good works God prepared for them. They lied and therefore grieved the Holy Spirit by claiming to give all they had. Their actions did not match the motives they proclaimed, a danger that many in the church can fall prey to even today.
As you prepare to teach this passage to kids, be sure to emphasize the Christlike love at work in the life of the early church. Though greed and self-gain seemed too big a temptation for Ananias and Sapphira, we can lead lives of obedience to the Holy Spirit, recognizing the extravagance and sacrificial love of Christ that transforms our hearts to live on mission for Him.
Tips for Teaching this Week’s Session
Every week, members of The Gospel Project for Kids team offer guidance to help you as you prepare to teach every session to preschoolers and kids. Listen in as we discuss:
- The big idea of the session
- Any areas of caution or requiring additional prep time
- What we hope God will do through this session
This training is available on Ministry Grid, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms.
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