Sermon & Small Group Resources
This is the sixth sermon in our series on the book of Acts on “Ananias and Sapphira”. Preacher: The Rev’d Adam Lowe. Bible Reading: Acts 5:1-11
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BIBLE READING: Acts 5:1-11
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS
CONNECT: Think about ways you can encourage those who are discouraged to keep sharing the gospel.
Why is it important for us to not avoid the parts of the Bible that we find trickier or more confronting?
READ Acts 4:32-5:1-4, 7-9
What are the main differences between the example given of Jospeh (Barnabas) and that of Ananias?
If it wasn’t compulsory for members to sell their property, why was this such a serious incident?
What were the various dimensions of the sin committed by Ananias and Sapphira (i.e., how was it more than ‘just’ lying)? How was it also a form of hypocrisy? Who was the sin against?
Why was the integrity and reliability of the these first followers of Jesus so important? If the first followers of Jesus were known to be hypocrites and liars, what would that mean for us today?
Why is the integrity of our words also so important with regard to the proclamation of the Gospel? (Try to think of the positive examples, but also the negative when integrity has failed.)
What might it look like to be a person of integrity on your front line?
Whose influence does Peter also recognise? Does this mean that Ananias and Sapphira have no guilt?
In contrast to being filled with the Spirit, Satan had filled their hearts. How are we daily involved in making choices to be led by the agenda of God vs the agenda of the enemy?
How does this serve as a warning of the ongoing influence of the enemy? Are we immune?
Read 1 Peter 5:8. As followers of Jesus what does it mean to be aware of the enemy without becoming obsessed? What is our best defence?
In what way is Satan our defeated enemy? What helps you to remember this?
READ Acts 5:5-14
What were the key consequences of this incident? Why is it within God’s rights to judge?
Despite people being afraid, why do you think that many still come to believe the Gospel?
APPLY This Week: Are there areas in your life in which you are in danger of being led by the desires of the enemy instead of the desires of the Spirit? How can you stand firm in faith?
Gracious God, thank you that we cannot possibly save ourselves and that we must be fully reliant on your grace alone. Please help us to live lives of integrity, running to you in your mercy when we fall short, and seeking to be led by the priorities of your Kingdom alone. Please help us to stand firm against the approaches of the enemy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
On Your Frontline This Week: Bring someone along to our Pancake party, Tuesday 7-8pm. It’ll be a fun and casual way to get connected to community.
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