TOPIC: ENCOUNTERING DECEPTION AND PERSECUTION
Memory Verse: Acts 5:39 – If it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God (KJV).
Lesson Bible Text: Acts 4 and 5
Lesson Central Truth:
God works to protect and perpetuate the Church.
ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON 25 IN BRIEF JUNE 18 2023
- ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON 25 IN BRIEF JUNE 18 2023
- CHILDREN’S SUNDAY SCHOOL MANUAL ASSEMBLIES OF GOD CHURCH NIGERIA LESSON 25 JUNE 18 2023
- RADIANT LIFE TEENS SUNDAY SCHOOL RESOURCE SEASON 14 date 18 JUNE 2023
INTRODUCING THE LESSON
Trouble is not something churches should see as out of the ordinary. As will be observed in this lesson, even the Early Church faced trials from deceptive practices within their ranks to persecution from outside entities. Knowing that God preserves and protects His people, Christians can avoid discouragement when challenges arise. At the end of this lesson, we will recognise challenges churches can encounter as they fulfil the Great Commission and we also learn to avoid discouragement when challenges arise, knowing God preserves and protects His people.
1. GOD JUDGES TWO DECEIVERS
A. Gracious Sharing – Acts 4:34-37
B. Hypocritical Sharing – Acts 5:1-11.
2. HOLY SPIRIT-EMPOWERED MINISTRY
A. Brings Growth – Acts 5:12-14
B. Extends Outreach – Acts 5:15-16.
3. PERSECUTION AND REJOICING
A. Faithfulness Witness Brings Trouble – Acts 5:17-28
B. Faithful Witnesses Despite Trouble – Acts 5:29-42.
1. GOD JUDGES TWO DECEIVERS
Acts 4:34-37; 5:1-11
The early Church was growing both spiritually and numerically. There wasn’t a single needy person among them because the well-to-do believers sold their assets and laid the proceeds at the apostles’ feet. Then it was distributed to any who had need. And there was a man named Joseph, who sold a field that belonged to him and he brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Joseph was his name but the apostles called him Barnabas which means son of encouragement. They called him that because he was an inspired man who lived his life encouraging others. Do we still have “Barnabas” in the Church today? We are to encourage each other in our smallest corner. Be a lifter of other believers in your actions and inactions.
Note that Christians will face problems. When believers respond to them with a spirit of unity and love, problems become opportunities for miracles and for God to be glorified. As believers graciously share what they have, needs are met and the kingdom of God advances. Generosity-giving of oneself to benefit others – brings encouragement. Generosity goes beyond money to sharing one’s spiritual gifts, time, and care, so fellow believers know they do not face the trials of life alone. Gracious sharing is so much more than a handout; it is a hand up. We are to encourage one another and give a lifting hands to those that are down spiritually and physically. Father, make each of us a Barnabas in Jesus Matchless Name. Amen!
Like Barnabas, Ananias and Sapphira sold some property to give money toward the needs of fellow believers. Unlike Barnabas, they were hypocritical in their giving. They allowed greed and pride to motivate their actions. Thr sin of Ananias and his wife was not in keeping some of the money for themselves. It was theirs to do with as they saw fit. The sin was hypocrisy fuelled by greed and pride. Their goal was to gain recognition while practising deceit. Ananias and his wife wanted the reputation but not the character of Barnabas. They wanted to please men rather than God. Some people today give only for show and praises of men. As believers, we are encouraged to give in love and for His praises alone. The sudden death of Ananias and Sapphira is shocking. There is no doubt we are to see it as a judgment of God, and it is given to provoke fear in us. So to understand it, we need to understand the grievous nature of the sin. Remember that sin leads to death and we must run away from hypocritical and eyeservice activities.
2. HOLY SPIRIT-EMPOWERED MINISTRY
Luke reports of the continuing ministry of the apostles. They worked miracles among the people of Jerusalem, directing hearts and minds to God and to the gospel message of repentance and belief in Jesus. The signs and wonders performed by the disciples drew people close, as the healing of the lame man had, so that the apostles could teach about Jesus’s resurrection, to provide something better than a physical healing–spiritual rebirth through faith in the Christ. Non of the apostles took credit of the miracles unlike what we can see from many “men of God” today. Christians need to keep in mind the Holy Spirit is the One who enables them to be witnesses of Christ. We need to understand that God works through His people to accomplish His purposes. As believers, no matter the level we can see ourselves, we must be careful to give God all the glory for the miraculous as we minister, humbly confessing it is His power working through us. Father, continue to use us for Your glory in Jesus Matchless Name. Amen!
In response to the arrest of Peter and John, the Jerusalem saints had prayed that God would “extend His hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs and wonders through the Name of Jesus” (Acts 4:30). This is precisely what God did, as Luke informs us in Acts 5:15-16. The signs and wonders were incredible, so much so that the people were bringing the sick and those troubled by unclean spirits. They were all being healed via laying them beside the street with the hope that Peter might walk by and his shadow might fall on them. The miracles performed by the apostles were demonstrations of the Lord’s power and mercy, affirming Christ Jesus as Savior and testifying that their message was true. As believers, may we be desirous of the power of the Spirit working through us, praying that hearts will be opened to the Lord as they experience His miraculous power. ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON 25 IN BRIEF JUNE 18 2023
3. PERSECUTION AND REJOICING
The followers of Jesus gathered regularly in the temple to worship and receive the apostles’ teachings. Jealous of the rising popularity and increase in their numbers, the high priest had the apostles arrested and put in jail. Likely this was an attempt to dishearten the apostles and discourage people from becoming believers in Christ. God, however, worked to preserve and protect the Early Church. He sent an angel who released the apostles and directed them to keep proclaiming the good news in the temple. Looking at they had just been arrested, but now they are to go right back into the most conspicuous place of all and continue proclaiming the gospel. But they didn’t question the command. They obeyed God even in the face of persecutions and trials. Their obedience to God prompted their arrest again. When the high priest confronted them for disobeying their earlier commands, filling Jerusalem with their teaching, Peter again states: “We must obey God rather than men.” Peter preaches a short sermon to the Sanhedrin, emphasizing again the issue of obedience. Note that faithfulness to the Lord often leads to trouble. However, believers can take heart, knowing He has promised to preserve and protect them so they too can overcome the world (John 16:33).
Rather than being intimidated by the Sanhedrin, the apostles boldly testifies to the truth concerning Jesus. They were acting in obedience to God. God had called them to tell others what they had witnessed–the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit Promised by God in the Scriptures. What the Council wanted was secondary. Are you His witness at your corner just like the apostles? When the high priest and his cronies wanted to kill the apostles, Gamaliel intervened, resulting in their being flogged and ordered again to speak no more in the name of Jesus. So what did the apostles do? “Every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ!” They were unstoppable in their obedience to God, especially on the matter of proclaiming the good news about Jesus. The apostles left the Council rejoicing rather than complaining. They were happy for been counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name. In all, they didn’t give up or refrain from teaching and preaching Christ. As believers, no matter the present persecution, we should remain faithful and continue to witness for Him till the end.
Lesson Action Word
We can trust God’s power to keep us through the things that try our faith. No matter what, we must obey God by proclaiming and teaching that Jesus Christ is the risen Savior and Lord.
Lesson Prayer Point
Father Lord, we pray for all the believers persecuted because of the gospel. We ask that by your mercy, you will help them find peace even in the face of trouble.
Remain blessed as you join us in our Sunday school both online and at any Assemblies Of God Church close to you as we study together under the Feet of the Master.
Share your contribution and as well ask your question from the lesson.
Shalom! ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON 25 IN BRIEF JUNE 18 2023 ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON 25 IN BRIEF JUNE 18 2023