Introduction: What is your attitude toward sin? Are you mostly
concerned about what others will think about you? Or, are you
concerned about how your sin impacts God? When I was growing up, my
father would encourage good behavior by saying, “I don’t care what
other boys do, you are Don Cameron’s sons!” If my father’s point was
that sin is a matter of personal reputation, that would not be good.
But, if he was standing in the place of my Father in Heaven, then his
advice was perfect. Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and
learn more about sin, confession and repentance!

  1. Attitudes Towards Repentance

    1. Read Acts 5:12-13. Would you want to join a group that
      performed miracles? Would you like a miracle performed for

    2. Read Acts 5:14-16. These people want a miracle and they
      join with the believers! What does this suggest about the
      meaning of Acts 5:13? (Those looking for a miracle joined.
      The common people had respect for the Christians, so this
      must mean that those in positions of religious authority
      did not dare to appear to believe in Jesus.)

    3. Read Acts 5:17. What makes these top religious leaders
      jealous? (God is working through Jesus’ followers. They
      are working miracles and converting people. The top
      religious leaders are jealous, and the leaders below them
      are afraid to displease their jealous leaders.)

    4. Read Acts 5:18-20. If you face persecution for your faith,
      what should give you confidence?

      1. In a clash between civil authority and God’s
        authority, who wins? (Skip ahead and read Acts 5:40.
        The fact that God’s authority wins, does not mean we
        always have a smooth road.)

    5. Read Acts 5:21-24. What should come of this? If this were
      a regular jailbreak, wouldn’t these leaders know what to
      do? (Of course.)

      1. So, why is the future cloudy here? (This is no
        regular jailbreak.)

    6. Read Acts 5:25. Are the jailed apostles acting like
      fugitives? (Hardly.)

      1. Put yourself in the place of the highest religious
        leaders. They are jealous about God’s work through
        the apostles. They see an obvious miracle showing
        that their jail cannot hold the apostles. How should
        they react?

    7. Read Acts 5:27-28. Consider the words of the High Priest.
      What are the religious leaders really worried about?

    8. Read Acts 5:29-30. Does Peter apologize for putting the
      religious leaders in a false light? (No! He makes the
      charge that the religious leaders fear – that they are
      guilty of Jesus’ death. In addition, God opposes them
      because He raised Jesus to life.)

      1. Do you think the religious leaders believed what
        Peter said?

    9. Read Acts 5:31. We get to the heart of the matter. What
      did these religious leaders need? (They needed to repent
      and be forgiven of the “guilt of [Jesus’] blood” Acts

      1. What kept these religious leaders from repenting and
        being forgiven?

    10. Read Acts 5:32. Why does Peter need to refer to witnesses?
      (One of the issues for the religious leaders was whether
      they could believe what Peter said. They did not want to

      1. Why should they believe? (The witness of the apostles
        and the miracles done through the power of the Holy

      2. How are the apostles and the Holy Spirit witnesses?
        (Not only did the apostles see a risen Jesus, but
        consider the jailbreak and the fact that the apostles
        are out teaching again. The Holy Spirit not only
        powered the miracles that made the religious leaders
        jealous, but the Holy Spirit was working on the
        hearts of the religious leaders!)

    11. Read Acts 5:33. How is repentance going? Why were they
      furious? (Pride. They would have to confess that they were
      wrong – and murderers!)

  2. Jesus and Repentance

    1. Let’s go back and re-read Acts 5:31. How does Jesus “give
      repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel?” Let’s look
      first at repentance. How does Jesus give us repentance?

      1. Re-read Acts 5:30. Are these also the charges against
        you? (Jesus died for our sins. Our sins killed Him.
        Just as a lamb was sacrificed for a person’s sins in
        the Old Testament, so Jesus died for our sins. See
        Hebrews 9:6-14.)

      2. How does Jesus give us forgiveness? (Read Romans 8:1-4.)

      3. How do we receive repentance and forgiveness? Is it
        automatic? (Consider the religious leaders. They had
        the most powerful proof and they heard a clear
        message, yet they refused to repent or be forgiven.
        This shows repentance and forgiveness are gifts, but
        they are not automatically received.)

  3. Guilt and Repentance

    1. Read Psalms 51:3. Do you feel like King David?

      1. Should the religious leaders we discussed in Acts 5
        have felt like King David?

    2. Last week when I was teaching, a member of the class asked
      whether guilt was good. What do you think?

    3. Let’s look more deeply into King David’s situation. Read
      Psalms 51:1-2. How does David react to his sin? (He wants
      to be free of sin.)

    4. Read Psalms 51:5-6. What is the human condition? (We are
      born into sin, but God wants us to aspire to be free from

    5. Read Psalms 51:7. How does David think he can be forgiven?
      (Completely. God washes him. God forgives him.)

    6. Read Psalms 51:8-12. Let’s get back to the issue of
      whether guilt is good. What have we read so far that makes
      us think guilt is good? (King David says his sins are
      “always before me.” That is guilt.)

      1. What does David want to be? (Completely clean! Then
        David says” “Restore to me the joy of your
        salvation.” Good guilt brings us to confession and
        repentance. God’s salvation brings joy!)

      2. What if you still feel guilt after repentance and
        confession? (Read Zechariah 3:1-2 and Revelation
        12:10. Post-forgiveness accusation is the work of
        Satan. That guilt is bad.)

      3. Let’s look at another text on this subject. Read 2
        Corinthians 7:8-10. Would “guilt” be a good
        substitute for “sorrow” in this text? (Yes. Guilt
        brings sorrow. Good guilt “brings repentance that
        leads to salvation.” Worldly sorrow, the guilt from
        Satan, “brings death.”)

  4. Fake Repentance

    1. Read Psalms 51:4. I skipped over this text when we were
      looking at King David’s guilt and repentance. The context
      here is David’s adultery with Bathsheba. David caused the
      death of her husband, Uriah, to cover-up his sin. How can
      David say that he sinned “only” against God?

    2. Read Job 1:8-11. How does our sin impact God?

    3. If we combine David’s statement about sin being “against”
      God, and combine it with God’s statements about Job, what
      should we conclude about our personal sins and true

      1. To help put this into focus, let’s discuss your
        favorite sin. If no one would ever know about it,
        would you continue to do it? (This helps us
        understand true repentance. Our sins are against God.
        God died for our sins. God is a holy God. God is
        embarrassed by our sins because sin is rebellion
        against Him. If we are focused on what our sin means
        to God, rather than what it means to us, we have a
        picture of true repentance.)

    4. Read Hebrews 12:4-6. Most of the time our sins do not
      remain secret. What does our reaction to the results of
      our sin say about the genuine nature of our repentance?
      (The text says “don’t ignore discipline and don’t become
      discouraged by it.” Embrace it as a lesson from the God
      who loves you!)

    5. Read Psalms 32:1-2. What comes from genuine confession and
      repentance? (God forgives us and covers our sins. We are
      blessed by God’s forgiveness.)

    6. Friend, the Jewish religious leaders were concerned about
      how their sin would impact them, not about whether Peter
      and the apostles were telling the truth about them killing
      God and impeding His work. Will you commit today to look
      at sin in a new way? To look at sin as a break in your
      relationship with the God who died for you, to look at it
      as a barrier to the true joy of forgiveness?

  5. Next week: Unity: The Bond of Revival.