The story of Ananias and Sapphira is certainly a creepy one, but the kids and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about it! In my preview post of this lesson, How to Make Ananias and Sapphira Headstones, I made mention of Dan Stevers’ animated interpretation of the story. We actually showed Stevers’ video in the main service, but I chose to have the kids dismissed for children’s church before the video was shown. I wanted to make sure the kids had a solid understanding of the story and its implications before watching Stevers’ interpretation. We watched the video at the end of children’s church, but I didn’t include that as part of the lesson plan.
Goal: Today we will learn that God can see what is in our hearts no matter what.
Key Scripture: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8, NIV
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Pictures of food (some disgusting, others appealing)
- Fake deeds (one for each child)
- Play money
- Large basket or pot
- Gravestones and other play graveyard décor
- Index cards (one for each child)
- White crayons
- Crayola markers
- Ananias and Sapphira coloring page
- Ananias and Sapphira word search
Introduction: Have the children sit in a circle and spread out several pictures of different kinds of food – some disgusting and others quite appealing to kids. To demonstrate how much God hates lying, ask the children if they would like to eat any of the disgusting foods. Explain that God hates lying even more than they might dislike those foods. Conversely, ask the children if they would like to eat any of the appealing foods. Explain that God loves the truth even more than they might like those foods! Tell the children that today we will be learning about two people named Ananias and Sapphira who had trouble with lying.
Lesson: Ahead of time, prepare three separate stations throughout the room: Ananias and Sapphira’s house, the apostles’ meeting place, and the graveyard. At Ananias and Sapphira’s house, have a copy of a deed for each child, some play money, and stickers. At the apostles’ meeting place, have a chair and a large basket or pot. At the graveyard, have two fake headstones and any other appropriate décor.
Have everyone start at Ananias and Sapphira’s house. Begin by reminding the children of the lesson last week and how we had talked about the members of the early church selling their land or houses to give money to the poor, including Barnabas. Explain that Ananias and Sapphira were also members of the church and they decided that they wanted to sell some of their land too. Explain that even though this sounds like a good thing, Ananias and Sapphira were greedy and decided that they would try to trick the rest of the people of the church. They planned to give only part of their money to the church, keeping some for themselves, but pretend that they had given all their money to the church. They wanted to make themselves look good.
Give each of the children a fake deed (Note: You can see Debbie Jackson’s blog for another version of this deed). Explain that a deed is a piece of paper that says who owns a piece of land and if someone has sold the land. Tell the children that they can pretend that they are Ananias and Sapphira and sign their name on the deed. Allow the children to also choose a sticker and put it on their deed as a “seal.” Once each child has given his or her signed deed to you and placed a sticker of their choice in the “seal” box, give everyone some play money. Make sure everyone has at least two pieces of play money.
Move to the apostles’ meeting area. Have the children sit in a circle around the chair (where they can imagine Peter was sitting). Tell the children that Ananias came to the apostles and presented some of the money to them, but kept some for himself. Have the children place some of their play money in the basket or pot, but keep some in their hand. Explain that what Ananias did was lying. He pretended that he was giving all of his money, when he was really only giving some to the apostles. Explain that when we lie like this, we made God sad. The Holy Spirit told Peter that Ananias wasn’t telling the truth. Peter then told Ananias he had lied not only to the people of the church, but to God. Peter explained that God wouldn’t have been upset if he had kept all the money to himself, but it was wrong to pretend that he had given all the money just to make himself look good. As soon as Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.
Move to the graveyard area. Explain that the people standing nearby wrapped Ananias’s body and buried him. Tell the children that the people who had seen what had happened must have been amazed and a little scared!
Move back to the apostles’ meeting area. Again, have the children sit in a circle around the chair (where they can imagine Peter was sitting). Tell the children that a few hours later Sapphira came to where the apostles were meeting. She didn’t know what had happened to her husband, but most of the other people around did! Peter showed Sapphira the money that Ananias had given and asked if that was all the money they had received when they sold their property. Sapphira told everyone that, yes, that was all the money they had received. This lie also made God sad. Peter asked Sapphira why she would lie to God. He told her that her husband had died because of his lie and she would now die too. As soon as he finished saying those words, Sapphira fell down and died.
Move to the graveyard area. Explain that the people standing nearby wrapped Sapphira’s body and buried her beside her husband. Tell the children that people throughout the whole church heard about what happened and they were afraid. Tell the children that God loves us very much, but he takes sin very seriously. When we do wrong things, God knows about it, whether we tell him or not.
Note: This lesson is based off of a post on Debbie Jackson’s blog. She is another creative resource you can use in your ministry!
Move over to the table. Give each child an index card and a white crayon. Have each child write his or her name on the index card with the crayon. Explain that we can’t really see what we’ve written in white crayon on a white piece of paper, just as others can’t see the things we have hidden in our hearts. Give each child a Crayola marker and have them color over the white letters. What they have written in crayon should be clearly visible. Explain that even when we try to hide things in our hearts, God can still see them.
Explain that, if we believe in Jesus, God is willing to forgive our sins. Whenever we do something wrong, it is important to tell God, ask for His forgiveness, and ask Him to help us to do the right thing the next time. The story of Ananias and Sapphira shows us that God takes sin very seriously, so we should too.
Sing the song “Oh Be Careful.”
Oh, be careful little eyes what you see (Point to eyes)
Oh, be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above (Point up)
Is looking down in love (Put hand to eyes and look down)
Oh, be careful little eyes what you see (Point to eyes)
- Little hands what you do
- Little feet where you go
- Little ears what you hear
- Little mouth what you say
- Little mind what you think
Conclusion: Have the following activities available in case extra time remains:
Ananias and Sapphira Activity Pages: Have Ananias and Sapphira coloring page and worksheet available, along with crayons and pencils. I used some of the activity sheets available through Calvary Curriculum.
Hidden Message: Provide additional paper so the children can create hidden messages or pictures using the white crayons and Crayola markers.
Peter, Peter, Where’s the Cash: Have a student sit in a chair with their back to the class. Place a piece of the play money under the chair. While the student in the chair is turned around with his or her eyes closed, choose someone to sneak up, take the fake money, and hide it behind him or her. Then have everyone chant: “Peter, Peter, where’s the cash? Somebody put some in their stash.” Then, give the child in the chair three chances to guess who took it.
We’ve had plenty of adventures in the book of Acts. Check them out!
- A Miraculous Catch (John 21:1-25)
- Jesus Ascends to Heaven (Acts 1:1-11)
- The Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13)
- The Holy Spirit Can Live in Your Heart (Acts 2:1-13)
- There’s a System in Place (Acts 2:14-21)
- Go, Team Fillmore! (Acts 2:42-47)
- Peter and John Heal a Lame Man (Acts 3)
- Healing in the Name of Jesus (Acts 3)
- There is Power in the Name of Jesus! (Acts 4:1-22)
- Sharing in the Early Church (Acts 4:32-37)