Scripture: John 8:4; Acts 5:1–11; 1 timothy 4:2; Titus 1:2; Revelation 21:8, 22:15
Memory verse: Proverbs 12:22
”The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy."
Engage the students in the following fun activity to introduce today’s lesson. Besides introducing today’s lesson on truthfulness, this activity will have the side effect of letting your students know you and each other just a little better. Actually you too may receive new insights into the lives of your students. You will need to provide each student with a sheet of paper and a pencil or pen.
Tell the students you are going to tell them three things about yourself that they probably don’t know, but that one of the three things will be false. Your statements should be reasonable and yet things that your students would not know about you. For example you might be able to say, “First: I was born bald. Second: I dislike rice and fish. Third: I used to be a waitress.” Ask them to write on their papers whether they think statement 1, 2, or 3 is the false statement.
Instruct the students to similarly think of one false and two true statements about themselves. Have the students write their statements on their papers. Then let each student have a turn to read his three statements to the class. His classmates should write which statement they think is false.
Comment that though some of them were able to fool their classmates, God is never fooled. He always knows when we tell the truth or not.
Ask if anyone remembers someone telling them something that was not true about himself, such as he used to live in a very big house or he once was first in his class. How did they feel when they discovered the truth? Explain that lies usually have a very bad effect on relationships. Nobody likes to be lied to.
Tell the class in this week’s lesson they will learn more about both lying and truthfulness and how God feels about each.
Hearing God’s Word
Two men sat waiting in the police sergeant’s outer office. The shorter one was extremely nervous. Beads of perspiration stood out on his forehead. His hands moved constantly and his breathing was shallow and fast. The other man looked cool and calm. As he sat there in the office looking very much at ease, he leaned back in his chair casually and watched the nervous man.
Both men were being questioned regarding the same crime, a store robbery. Both had agreed to take lie detector or polygraph tests. A lie detector is a device that measures physical reactions to questions. It records such things as arm movements, breathing patterns, blood pressure, and pulse rate. A person who agrees to take the test sits in a chair with a blood pressure and pulse cuff on his arm, a respiration tube around his chest, and electrodes on the palm of one hand. Recordings show muscle pressure and tiny movements not visible by the human eye. Although it can’t be used in court as evidence, it helps law enforcement officers track down various leads.
One at a time the two men took the test. Each answered 10 questions, some of which were related to crime. Observers felt the short man was undoubtedly guilty because he was so nervous. But the polygraph test proved it was the tall man who was suspicious. Even though years of frequent lying enabled him to remain calm on the outside, the equipment picked up and recorded tiny changes in his body each time he lied. Even though the short man was nervous, there were no real changes in his body’s reactions no matter what questions were asked. He was consistently nervous all the time.
We Cannot Deceive God
Man has been able to disguise a lot of things. But no matter how cleverly we can deceive others by our appearance, we cannot deceive God. He created us with the ability to feel guilt when we do wrong. Sometimes we call this our conscience. Have you ever heard someone say his conscience was bothering him? That means he felt badly about something he had done or said.
Ask: “Is the old saying ‘Let your conscience be your guide’ a good rule to follow? What is our best source of guidance in life?” (Take time to discuss these two questions, allowing several students the opportunity to respond.)
God’s Word and the Holy Spirit are our best guides to follow. It is possible for people to ignore their inner feelings. They let their consciences become so badly seared, they don’t even feel guilty when they do wrong.
Ananias and Sapphira’s Foolish Lies
The Bible gives an account of two people who lied. You can find it in Acts 5:1–11. (Instruct the students to find this Scripture passage in their Bibles and scan it briefly.)
Ananias and Sapphira were members of the Early Church. At that time many people were sharing their possessions with other believers who did not have as much. A believer named Barnabas even sold a field he owned and brought the money to the disciples. The money was to be given to help needy people and to further the work of the church. This was a very loving act and probably was widely talked about among the believers.
Ananias and Sapphira sold a piece of land also. But instead of giving all the money to the disciples, they decided to keep part of it. That was OK. However, they wanted the same kind of recognition Barnabas had received. So they decided to lie and act as if they were giving all the money, when in fact they really were not.
Ask: “To whom was Ananias lying when he offered only part of the money he received? (Allow responses.)
Even though a lie is told to fool an earthly person, it also grieves God and the Holy Spirit. All sin, though it may hurt people, also hurts God. Even if sin doesn’t seem to directly hurt others, it still hurts and displeases God.
Lying By Words and Actions
No one pressured Ananias to give any of the money to the disciples for the Church. However, the Bible implies that he left the impression he was giving all the money.
Ask: “Is leaving the wrong impression on purpose, even though words are not spoken, really lying? How can people act a lie without really telling one?” (Encourage responses.)
Without knowing what had happened to Ananias, Sapphira also came before the disciples. She too was caught in the sin of lying.
Ask: “Did Sapphira tell a lie or act one?” (Allow responses.)
Sapphira may have lied to protect her husband.
Ask: “Do people ever lie for that reason today? For what other reasons do people lie?” (Allow responses.)
Ananias and Sapphira’s sins of lying and deceit caused a tragic end to their lives. Lying also affects people’s lives today. Just because God doesn’t strike people dead anymore when they lie doesn’t mean He has changed His feelings about lying. God is just as displeased with people who lie today as He was with Ananias and Sapphira. Those who lie must someday be judged for it just as the Bible declares.
God Cannot Overlook Sin
(Assign Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18 to two students to read aloud.)
Ask: “What do these verses tell us about God? (Allow responses.)
No lie can ever come from God. The Bible says it is impossible for God to lie. Where, then, do lies come from? (Ask someone to read John 8:44.) Satan is the father, or author, of the lies people tell.
God loves us and is ready to forgive each lie we have told if we are truly sorry and repent. But God cannot overlook sins for which we have not asked forgiveness. Some verses in Revelation tell us those who love to lie will not have a part in heaven, but will instead have a part in hell. (Ask a student to read Revelation 21:8, 27; 22:15.)
This week’s memory verse says, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful” (Proverbs 12:22, NIV). (Repeat the verse together with the students.) If you are using the KJV for the memory verse, also ask the following question: “We understand delight, but what does abomination mean?” (Ask for a definition of the word abomination.) Abomination means “causing extreme disgust or hatred.”
Because we want to do as God commands and delight the Lord, we will not lie. Solomon spoke of lying several times. In each case he emphasized God’s hatred for lies and His love for the truth.
Our Words Affect Our WitnessThe lessons in this book emphasise ways we can witness for Jesus
Ask: “How is telling the truth a way to witness for Jesus?” (Allow responses.)
It is impossible to be good witnesses for Jesus when people think our words cannot be trusted. Sometimes we may be tempted to benefit ourselves or impress our friends by telling or acting a lie. But in the end God is the one we must please. He cannot excuse lying and neither can we.
Satan constantly tempts Christians. To be tempted to lie is not sin. Temptation is never sin. It becomes sin only when you give in to it. The Holy Spirit is always ready to give us strength to withstand temptation. Just ask Him the next time you are tempted to lie. Be a delight to God by being truthful in all you do and say. Lying is serious business.
Accepting God’s Word
Remind the class that God cannot lie. His Word is true. When He warns about eternal punishment for sins, it is true. When He says He loves us and gave His Son to die for our sins, it is true. When He says, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again,” it is true (John 3:3, NIV). We need to act on God’s truth.
Explain the plan of salvation and pray individually with each who responds to it. Encourage new converts to form the habit of daily reading the Bible and praying. Regular church attendance is also important for spiritual growth.
A Moroccan family invited me to their home. They were open and vocal concerning their faith, but through the years they had endured their share of persecution. Now they were permitted by their Muslim neighbours and the Moroccan government to openly flesh out their love for Jesus on the job and at home. They received me as a brother in Christ and made a room available for the night.
Twice I sat down with the family to eat at a low, round table. A large platter, stacked high with food (most of it new to me), was placed at the centre of the table. We all ate from it as we talked about a variety of subjects. It was an intimate setting filled with laughter and good fellowship. What I had noticed in the cafe was obvious in the home too: Moroccans are very relational.
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Moroccan Arab Youth
1. Christian youth to make friends with Moroccan Arab youth at school,
2. Youth who know Jesus as their Saviour to invite Moroccan Arab youth to their home for a meal,
3. Members of this class to make friends with a Moroccan Arab youth through Facebook in order to share an introduction to Jesus, the Saviour.
"Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
Study 8 | Jesus is Worthy/Witnessing | africaatts.org/go-teach