Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Lesson - Philippians - A Letter From Prison

VERSES:  Philippians 1-4

MEMORY VERSE:  Philippians 4:4  "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Romans.  Write "Romans" on small slips of paper and hand out to the students to take home and memorize one more New Testament book. By adding one more book to their Bible book list, the students will ultimately memorize all the Bible books.

PRAYER:  Pray that we will all be content with what we have in this world and share  with others, including the Gospel.

SPECIAL SONG:  Be Patient And Kind (see April 2014 - Lesson - Joseph Meets His Brothers Who Hated Him)

VISUAL AID:  Using the whiteboard or chalkboard, write "Philippians" on the board. Draw a large square and draw four or five line vertically in the square. This is a prison window. While we do not know what Paul's prison looked like, we know that he was required to stay under Rome's constant eye. We know that he had certain privileges by reading Acts 28:30, 31. As the Bible teacher tells this lesson that they have studied so much that they know it by heart, write words like "Grace and peace," "prayed for the Philippian Christians," "Jesus was preached," "be like-minded," "press on the  toward the mark," "rejoice in the Lord," "true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good report," etc. all around the prison window.

  • When we think of someone in prison, we usually think of that person being very sad and gloomy. This was not the case with Paul when he was imprisoned in Rome. Paul could have been sad and gloomy, but he knew that God knew that he had done nothing worthy of prison. The only reason Paul was in prison in the first place was because he had been preaching about Jesus. Paul's accusers, the Jews, did not want Paul preaching and teaching about Jesus and persuaded the Roman government to put him in prison. Paul had appealed to Caesar, the head of the Roman government, and waited for an answer in prison.
  • As we look at the book of Philippians, one of Paul's letters that he wrote while he was in prison, we can see that Paul was definitely NOT sad and gloomy. In his letter, he addressed the elders and deacons in the city of Philippi. Just as we might say, "Dear Someone...", Paul greeted the elders and deacons with, "Grace be unto you, and peace from God, our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:1, 2). Paul always remembered the Philippian Christians in his prayers. He was thankful for their fellowship and friendship from the time he first met them until the time he wrote his letter. Paul loved the Christians in Philippi and said many good things about them in his letter. He encouraged them to do good deeds. He wanted the Christians in Philippi to not be sad because he was in prison, but, just like when Joseph was in prison in Old Testament times, there were good results that came from his imprisonment: Jesus was being preached. Some people were preaching out of envy and strife and were not sincere, but some were preaching of good will and love. He said that either way, Jesus' message was being preached to the people. Paul said he was not ashamed to speak about Jesus, but he was proud and bold in preaching the gospel of Jesus. He said that while he was alive, it would be helpful to the Gospel because he would be preaching, but if Paul died, it would be gain for him, personally, because of the hope he had in a heavenly home.
  • Paul also gave instructions to the Christians in Philippi. He said that they should all be like-minded or be preaching and teaching the same things in love, not in strife or fussing. He told them not to complain and disagree with each other, but to shine as lights in a wicked world (Philippians 2:15).Paul said he continued to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Jesus. Paul knew he was in a race while he lived on this earth and he wanted to race hard, keeping his eyes of Jesus, and win the prize which was a home in heaven. He told the Philippians to live as he did (Philippians 3:25, 27). 
  • Finally, Paul said to his friends who were Christians in Philippi to be happy or rejoice in the Lord. In fact, he said it two times! (Philippians 4:4). He reminded them to pray to God and let their requests be known to Him. By praying and telling God everything on their hearts, then they would have peace--the kind of peace that people of the world do not understand (Philippians 4:5, 6). 
  • Paul left these lasting words with the church:  Control your thinking. Think about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. He said that if there was any virtue or praise about anything to think about those good things. Christians not only act differently than the world, they THINK differently than the world. They think about good, wholesome things and not bad. They dwell on true and honest thoughts. Christians, like those in Philippi, know that they can do anything because Christ is the One who gives them strength (Philippians 4:13). Today, Christians can gain comfort and encouragement through this short four-chapter letter just as the Philippians did! 
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Philippians is not the only letter that Paul wrote from prison. He wrote three other letters in prison which are Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians.
  • A theme of the book of Philippians is "Joy and Rejoice." There is much good encouragement for the Christian in this book. Interesting to note again that Paul is in prison when he writes this upbeat letter.
  • We remember Lydia, the woman who sold purple fabric and was converted to Christ. She lived in Philippi (see June 2015 - Lesson - The Macedonian Call).  Also, the jailer who was watching and listening to Paul and Silas while they were in chains during an earthquake lived in Philippi. Like Lydia, he and his family were also baptized into Christ (see June 2015 - Lesson - Paul and Silas in Prison). These, and others, were part of the church in this city.
  • Read Philippians 4:22. From this verse, we know that there were some of Caesar's household or family that were Christians as well.
ACTIVITY:   "What Should I think about?"
Materials:  9" x 18" black construction paper, one 2" x 9" strip of colorful scrapbooking paper, one 2" x 5" strip of colorful scrapbooking paper, six 2" x 7" strips of colorful scrapbooking paper, 18" of thin ribbon or yarn, holepunch, glue stick, scissors, marker. (Construction paper works just as well as scrapbooking paper in case you do not have scrapbooking paper.

  1. Hand out black construction paper.
  2. Fold paper in half, then in half again, then in half one more time. When the paper is opened, there should be eight rectangles.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Hand out the 2" x 9" paper.
  5. Write "What Should I Think About?" on the the 2" x 9" strip of paper.
  6. With black paper in a portrait position on the table, glue strip in top black rectangle.
  7. Hand out 2" x 5" strip of paper.
  8. Write "Philippians 4:8" on small strip.
  9. Glue in the bottom rectangle on black paper.
  10. Hand out six 2" x 7" strips of paper.
  11. On each strip of paper, write one word:  "whatever is true." "whatever is honest," "whatever is just," "whatever is pure," "whatever is lovely," "whatever is of good report." 
  12. In the order found in Philippians 4:8, glue the appropriate strip in each rectangle on the black construction paper.
  13. Hole punch one hole at the top of each side of the paper.
  14. Hand out ribbon or yarn. (Ribbon is pictured in top photo.)
  15. Thread each end through a hole and tie.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Lesson - The Armor Of God

VERSES:  Ephesians 6:10-18

MEMORY VERSE:  Ephesians 6:10  "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Acts.  Write the book, "Acts," on small slips of paper and hand out papers to the students at the end of the class to take home to memorize.

PRAYER:  Pray that all Christians will take up the armor of God and, not only protect themselves from the devil, but will be able to stand and fight against his wickedness.

SPECIAL SONG:  Read, Read Every Day (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #1 on this blog.)  Matthew Four (see May 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #5 on this blog. Click orange circles to hear tunes.)

VISUAL AID:   Draw a simple picture of a soldier wearing the armor of God, holding a shield and a sword on a white board or blackboard. Label all parts of the armor.  (Older students: Present a good Bible concordance and a good dictionary. See notes under "Older Student" Tips.)

NOTE TO THE BIBLE TEACHER:  With this lesson, there is much to teach and much to do if the Bible teacher chooses to cover all of the material presented here in one class time. If this method is chosen for this lesson, the Bible teacher may want to pre-cut a few items and/or type labels for a quicker and stress-free class. No one learns when the Bible teacher is hurried. Rather, perhaps this might be a five-day series of Vacation Bible School lessons, lessening pressure of the teacher and encouraging memorization and comprehension on the students' part. An idea for attendance charts might be a soldier without his armor and, as each day passes, the student adds a portion of godly armor. A large bulletin board may be created centered around a soldier in God's army and the items of armor clearly labeled. Students learn much from attractive and Biblical walls. Each item of the armor of God might be supplemented with another lesson from the Bible each day, such as Joshua, Gideon, David and Jesus. These ideas are given for your consideration and the students' benefit.

ATTENDANCE CHART: If using a soldier as an attendance chart, draw your own soldier and his armor or copy the soldier below. Add an article of the Christian armor to the soldier to log the attendance of each student. Each student should have their own copy of the soldier and armor. Displaying the soldiers on one wall with the student's name close by would be motivating and encourage attendance in Bible class. (The soldier below may also be used as an alternate activity than the one shown below under "Activity," coloring and cutting out each piece of armor and gluing it to soldier who has no armor. Two Activitiy choices for one lesson!)
This is what the soldier should look like (see below) if the student has had perfect attendance. The soldier and armor may be colored with crayons or colored pencils. 

  • We know by reading our Bibles that, especially in the Old Testament, God had soldiers who fought for Him and did whatever He told them to do. Men like Joshua, Gideon, and David fought many physical battles in their lives and were always on God's side, obeying His commands. As we read the pages of the New Testament, we find that there is still a battle going on, but it is a spiritual battle that must be fought with spiritual weapons because the enemy is the devil and his wicked ways.  Let's turn our Bibles to Ephesians 6:10-18 and read God's special instructions to His soldiers. (Read verses.)
  • God, through the apostle Paul, tells Christians to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Like obedient Old Testament soldiers, Christians must trust God, knowing that their strength does not lie within themselves, but in God's power and strength. By diligently studying the Bible and remembering Bible verses, a Christian can be of great value to the Lord, whether they are teaching others about Jesus, His only begotten Son, or if they are defending God's Word and standing up for what God says is right. 
  • Let's take a look at the armor or the coverings worn in battle for protection that God has given to Christians as a way to not only defend themselves, but to strike against the devil. God tells His soldiers to make certain that they put on the WHOLE armor of God, not forgetting any of the valuable pieces of armor, so they are able to stand against the devil and his tricks. In verse 12 of Ephesians 6, we can learn that this battle is definitely not a physical battle where Christians are throwing punches and blood is flowing, but God's battle is one that is a spiritual battle against the devil, spiritual darkness, and sin. When the battle is fought, Christians must make sure that, at the end of the spiritual fight, they have done everything they could do and are still standing.
  • First, the Lord says that Christians should have their loins girt about with truth. The loin area is around the hips where a belt might encircle a person. What should this area be strongly fastened with? Truth! What is truth? God's Word is truth. (John 17:17.) Christians should have God's Word encircling and fastened to them. This is the area that will make Christians stand firm--having God's Word protecting them. Christians should be able to prove every word they say and everything they do with God's Word. (Colossians 3:17).
  • Next comes the breastplate. This is the largest area that the enemy can see of a Christian and it can also be seen from a distance. This area is where the heart is found. What covers this area? Righteousness! Righteousness is another word for 'right doing.' This largest area of a Christian is covered with doing right or doing good deeds. This is the area that people see the most--the Christian's actions of good works.
  • Does it make a difference in what kind of footwear a Christian is wearing? Shoes are an important part of a person's attire, showing that they are prepared for the event. If a person is wearing the wrong type of shoes, much harm can come, such as wearing snowshoes on a slippery cliff or slippers in a heavy snow storm. Christians need to be wearing the right type of shoes, preparing themselves with the gospel of peace. Christians should be thinking of ways to talk about Jesus to their neighbors, how to explain spiritual things like salvation and the church to their friends, and preparing themselves with knowledge from God's Word by studying the Bible and sharing it with people they know. Questions will surely come and they will be prepared with answers that come from the Bible and not from people's traditions or ideas; their feet will be grounded and will not stray from God's Truth.
  • In the Old Testament, most soldiers had some type of shield which was usually large enough to protect them from darts or spears that were thrown by the enemy. The spiritual shield is like that, too. The Christian's shield is their faith. If they have a little bit of faith, then their shield that protects them is small, but a Christian who has a great faith in God has a great shield to protect them from any fiery darts that the devil may throw. How can a Christian's faith grow? Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing God's Word. 
  • Just like those Old Testament soldiers, a Christian has a helmet. Instead of a physical helmet made out of strong metal that could actually be placed on a soldier's head and protect themselves, God has given instructions on what kind of helmet would work best in the spiritual battle that Christians must fight today. Let's read Ephesians 6:17. What is the Christian's helmet made of? Salvation! Salvation is extremely important to a Christian and should be in their thoughts at all times. Salvation is what a Christian strives for in this earthly life and fights for in the spiritual battle.
  • All of the pieces of armor that we have studied protect the Christian, but there is one weapon the Christian holds to strike out and cuts down the devil and his evil ways and that is the sword. Not just any sword, it is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. With this sword, the Christian can attack the devil and those that fight for him. Having God's Word in hand, the Christian can defeat the wicked one.
  • Finally, the Christian prays always for himself and for others to win their spiritual battle. We may not see the devil with our eyes, but we know that he is walking around on this earth like a roaring lion, looking for and finding those who he might devour. (Read First Peter 5:8). Christians are to be serious and alert to all signs of danger and sin, staying close to God and His Word for their protection and safety.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Many times in the New Testament, Christians are told to be strong. Read a few of these passages: First Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 6:10; Second Timothy 2:1, adding a few that the students may find in their Bibles. This might be a good time to show the older students how to use a concordance and how to find Biblical words in the Bible easily. A good concordance will only help good Bible students become better Bible students, knowing that there is a way to find needed verses. Using a good dictionary is also a help defining Bible words like "armor." "girt," and "shod."
  • The Bible is a great part of the Christian's armor. Let us read a little of it every day to prepare ourselves against the trickery of the devil.
  • How did Jesus handle His temptations in the wilderness in Matthew 4? Jesus was prepared with scriptures to win His battle over Satan.  "It is written..."
ACTIVITY:   The Armor of God

Materials:  Two 2" x 18" light brown pieces of construction paper, a strip of bulletin board border, one large paper clip, stapler, staples, tape, scissors, marker.

  1. Hand out brown paper.
  2. Place construction paper on table.
  3. Match up two of the ends of the paper.
  4. Staple.
  5. Tape, covering the staples, so they do not harm the student.
  6. Write "Loins girt about with truth" and "Ephesians 6:14" towards the top edge of the brown paper.
  7. Place colorful border along the bottom edge of the brown paper.
  8. Staple in place.
  9. Tape over the edges of the staples.
  10. Encircle the paper belt around the student.
  11. Place paper clip to secure. (If paper clip is attached to the front of the belt, then the student can take it off when he or she wishes.)
Materials:  Two sheets of 12" x 18" light brown construction paper, stapler, staples, tape, scissors, marker.
  1. Hand out brown papers.
  2. Place both papers on top of one another.
  3. Draw a triangle in the middle of the brown papers (at the top) large enough for a child's head.
  4. Cut triangles out of brown papers.
  5. On the outside of each paper, draw many "V"s to resemble a breastplate.
  6. Write "Breastplate of Righteousness" and "Ephesians 6:14" in the middle of one of the papers.
  7. Tape the two papers together on either side of the triangle, forming shoulders.
  8. To wear, simply place the breastplate over child's head. (Sides of breastplate are not attached for easy-on and easy-off).
Materials:  Two pieces of 2" x 9" light brown construction paper, two 4.5" x 6" light brown construction paper strips, two paper clips, stapler, staples, scissors, marker, tape (optional).

  1. Hand out both 4.5" x 6" brown papers.
  2. Cut all corners of papers. These are the shoes.
  3. Fold long edges of  brown papers.
  4. Write "Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" and "Ephesians 6:15" on the tops of the papers.
  5. Hand out both 2" x 9" brown paper strips.. These are the shoe straps.
  6. Staple one brown strip to outside fold of 4.5" x 6" brown paper.
  7. Place over student's shoe.
  8. Secure with paper clip. Use a little tape if needed.
  9. Repeat with other shoe.

Materials:  One piece of 9" x 10" orange construction paper, one 2" x 9 strip of orange construction paper, tape, scissors, marker..

  1. Hand out 9" x 10" orange paper. This is the shield.
  2. Write "Shield of Faith" and "Ephesians 6:16" in the middle of the orange paper.
  3. Tape one side of orange strip to the back of the shield.
  4. Gently bend the other end of the orange strip and tape to the other edge of the shield. This is the handle of the shield.

Materials: empty toilet paper or paper towel roll, 12" x 12" piece of aluminum foil, marker, tape (optional).

  1. Hand out empty toilet paper roll.
  2. Write "Sword of the Spirit" and "Ephesians 6:17" on the roll.
  3. Hand out foil.
  4. Loosely and gently, roll foil into a long tube.
  5. Insert foil into the toilet paper roll.
  6. Gently form into a sword's blade.
  7. As students wear all the articles of armor, the students bow their heads as the Bible teacher says a prayer of thankfulness and God's protection for the students, and then the students are sent out into the world to stand firm and fight against the devil..

Friday, February 19, 2016

Lesson - The Family In God's Plan

VERSES:  Ephesians 5:21-33

MEMORY VERSE:  "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right."  Ephesians 6:1

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Review the first four books of the New Testament -Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

PRAYER:   Pray that families will love each other more and will be kind to each other.

SPECIAL SONG:  The Family In God's Plan (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #4 on this blog.) Children, Obey Your Parents (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #4 on this blog.)  Be Patient And Kind (see April 2014 - Lesson - Joseph Meets His Brothers Who Hated Him on this blog.) (Click on orange circles to hear tunes.)

VISUAL AID:  Whiteboard or chalkboard. Draw an man, a woman, and a child on the board. As the lesson is taught, write responsibilities around each member of the family.

  • From the beginning, God has always had a plan and a design for everything! When we look up at the stars and moon at night, we know that God is the One who designed the heavens. When we inspect a drop of water under a microscope, we can see that God has a plan for even the tiniest creatures. Everywhere we look, there is design, detail, and organization. We have studied in times past about God's plan for creation (See March 2014 - Lesson - God Created Everything on this blog), for the church (See October 2015 - Lesson - How Do Christians Worship God? on this blog), and now we turn to the family. Is there a design for the family in God's plan? When we remember how God created one man and one woman and how they became a family, we can definitely say, "Yes! God has a plan for the family." 
  • MAN:  As Jesus is the head of the church, God created man to be head of the family (Ephesians 5:23). To be the head of the family means to be responsible for the family and to lead the family in all aspects of life, making certain that all members of the family are working towards a home in heaven. In God's plan, the man is the one whom God has chosen to have these responsibilities. The man is commanded to love his wife just like he loves himself. No one hates himself. He loves himself and takes care of himself just like he should love and take care of his wife. The man who loves his wife loves himself. In Ephesians 5:25, men are told to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and sacrificed himself for it. Did Jesus love the church? Yes! He purchased the church with His own blood. That is how much a husband should love his wife. The husband should love and cherish his wife and treat her like a precious treasure, knowing that she is the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7). Finding a wife is a good thing! (Proverbs 18:22). 
    • When a husband becomes a father, he should delight or be joyful that he has children (Psalm 137:3-5). In these verses, Solomon compares children to arrows. Just like arrows that must be guided by mighty men, children are to be guided by godly fathers (Proverbs 19:18).The father should rule his own home well (1 Timothy 3:4). What responsibilities fathers have in this life (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4)!
  • WOMAN:  The wife has a command, too. She is commanded to submit to her own husband just like she would submit to Christ. Just as she submits to Christ and lets Him lead her through life, this is the same way that she submits to her husband. She should not be bossy or try to rule over her husband. Her job is not to be the head of the family, but to love and support her husband. 
    • In Titus 2:4, 5, Paul tells the young women to not only love their husbands, but to love their children, teaching them about God and His love for them (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; 2 Timothy 1:5). The mother takes care of things at home, so that her home is organized and everything runs smoothly. Some women work outside of the home for different reasons, but their main purpose is to love God, love their husband, love their children, and to take care of their home. 
    • It is not God's way that children should be raising or training themselves. One of the parents' responsibilities is to keep their children safe, teaching them right from wrong and the rewards or consequences that follow. Discipline is a form of love and mothers know that training their children to do right will only help their children in their lives while they are growing up and after they are grown (Proverbs 22:15).
  • CHILDREN:  Children also have responsibilities. They are to love, honor, and respect their parents, so that everything might go well for them in this life and that they might live a long time on this earth (Ephesians 6:1-3). Children should follow the advice of their parents because they know their parents love them, care for them, and always have their best interests at heart (Proverbs 1:8). There is much good advice in the book of Proverbs for children and what they should do to be pleasing in God's eyes.
    • A few things that children should do: 
      • Remember their father's commands and seek knowledge (Proverbs 2:1-5; 4:1-4).
      • Be obedient (Proverbs 3:1-4).
      • Be thankful for discipline (Proverbs 3:11-12; 13:24).
  • A HOME:  God has always had and still has a plan for the family! Doing everything God's way is always the best way. A refuge from this wicked world, all should find love, forgiveness, and tenderness in their home, always serving the Lord (Joshua 24:15). It was God's idea from the very beginning and it is still God's plan today (Isaiah 55:8, 9). What a blessing a loving, God-centered home is!
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Marriage is the oldest institution that God created. Before the nation of Israel and even before the church, marriage was the first institution created by God.  
  • There is a description of what makes a marriage and it is found in Genesis 2:24.
  • Marriage is for life. God has always hated "putting away" or divorce (Malachi 2:16). Divorce comes from man's way of thinking, not God's. When a man and a woman marry, it is for their entire lives! Marriage is a covenant or a sacred promise, never to be broken, until either the husband or wife dies. Great care needs to be taken when selecting a husband or wife because divorce should never be an option. Marriage is for a lifetime. Also, we need to be careful who we date because those whom we date, we end up marrying.
  • Discuss the definition of submit:  To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.
  • In today's world, people are not fond of words like 'submit,' 'rule,' or 'responsibilities,' but God does not change (Malachi 3:6). God has always said what He meant and meant what He said. Christians need to change their thoughts to God's way of thinking (John 12:48).
ACTIVITY:  The Family In God's Plan
Materials:  12" x 18" tan construction paper, pink or red construction paper, scissors, crayons, stapler, staples.
  1. Hand out tan paper.
  2. Placing the paper landscape-style, fold up bottom edge up 4 inches.
  3. Staple paper on outside edges. 
  4. Fold paper into thirds.
  5. Open folded paper.
  6. Staple once on each of the fold lines at the bottom of the paper. This should form three 'pockets.'
  7. On both sides of the paper, trace all fold lines with black crayon, even the edge of pocket
  8. Open paper, so that the 'pockets' are on the backside or bottom and cannot be seen.
  9. In first box, the student draws a picture of the student's father.
  10. In second box, the student draws a picture of the student's mother.
  11. In third box, the student draws a picture of himself/herself and their bothers and sisters.
  12. Color.
  13. In first box, write 'Husband' at the top of the box and 'my father' with an arrow pointing to the father.
  14. In second box, write 'Wife' at the top of the box and 'my mother' with an arrow pointing to the mother.
  15. In third box, write 'Children' at the top of the box and an arrow pointing to the siblings, writing either 'my sister' or 'my brother' and an arrow pointing to their sibling. Also, write 'me' and an arrow pointing to the student.
  16. Turn the paper over to the 'pocket' side.
  17. In the first box, write "Husband/Father' at the top.
  18. In the first box, write 'Ephesians 5:21-23,' 'Titus 2:4, 5,' Deuteronomy 6:6-9,' and 'Joshua 24:15' on the pocket.
  19. In the second box, write 'Wife/Mother' at the top.
  20. In the second box, write 'THE FAMILY IN GOD'S PLAN' on the pocket.
  21. In the third box, write 'Children' at the top.
  22. In the third box, write 'Ephesians 6:1-3,' 'Ephesians 6:4,' 'Proverbs 22:6,' and '1 Peter 3:7' on the pocket.
  23. Cut out a few hearts out of the pink or red paper. These are Responsibility Hearts.
  24. On the hearts, write responsibilities like 'Loves his wife as himself,' 'Loves and submits to her husband,' 'Loves their parents,' 'Respects their parents,' 'Remembers their father's commands,' ' Is thankful for discipline,' 'Teaches God's ways,' etc. Some hearts may be suited for more than one person or 'pocket.' Student chooses where hearts are pocketed.
  25. Place the appropriate heart in the matching pocket.
  26. Fold tan paper with hearts inside pockets and take home.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Lesson - Jesus Is The Head Of The Church

VERSES:   Ephesians 1:20-23

MEMORY VERSE:  Ephesians 1:22  "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  "John." In order for the students to memorize the books of the New Testament, write a book each week on a small slip of paper, so the student may take the book home to memorize. This lesson's book to remember is John.

PRAYER: Pray that we have the kind of heart that treasures God's Word and molds our life around His Word, giving up man's traditions and ideas and clinging to God's desires. 

SPECIAL SONG:  No, Not One (see June 2014 -Songs We Sing In Bible Class #6 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:  Draw a Large Activity (see below) on white board or chalk board.

  • When we have a Bible question, where is the best place to go to find the answer? That's right! To the Bible! People can sometimes be wrong or mistaken, but the Bible is never wrong. Never, ever! God keeps His promises and can be trusted (1 Kings 8:56). God has always had a plan for everything. He had a plan for creating the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1), He had and has a plan for the family (Ephesians 5:22-33; 6:1-4), and He has a plan for the church. He knows how He wants the church to be ruled and that is by Jesus' Words. We always want to be able to prove what we do by quoting book, chapter, and verse. We speak where the Bible speaks and we are silent where the Bible is silent. In times past, God used to talk to people through the prophets, but how does God talk to us today? Only through His Son, Jesus (Hebrews 1:1, 2). We find His words in the Bible and the Bible only.
  • When we look around our cities and maybe even our neighborhoods, we see many buildings that have the word "church" on their signs, but they teach many different things--sometimes conflicting things. How can that be? Does it matter to God how He is worshiped? Did it ever matter to God how His people worshiped Him? Yes. We can think back to the tabernacle and how God was very specific in His commands in building the tabernacle and was even particular about who touched certain things and who went into certain rooms (see May 2014 - Lesson - The Tabernacle on this blog). It definitely mattered to God how He was worshiped in the Old Testament! Let's see if it matters to God how He is worshiped in the church today.
  • We may ask, "Who is the one who made up these rules on how to behave in the Lord's church?" or "Who is the head or the one in charge of Jesus' church?" Let's turn our Bibles to Ephesians chapter 1 and read verses 20-23. (Read verses.) Who is the head of the church? Jesus is the head. Is Jesus over some things or a few things? No, He is over ALL things in the church. He is the One with the last word on everything in the church because He bought and paid for the church with His own blood. (Acts 20:28). These same verses also tell us that the church is Jesus' body. Jesus is the head of His body. Ephesians 4:4 tells us how many bodies there are--one! That makes sense, doesn't it? One head and one body. Not two or three heads and one body or one head over many bodies. Jesus is the one head over the one body which is the church.
  • Some people think that it doesn't really matter what people do to worship God, as long as they "have a good and kind heart and they do the best they can." That is not what it says in the Bible. God wants things done His Way and His Way only. He always has and always will. We need to prove that we are worshiping God according to His Word by singing, praying, partaking of the Lord's Supper, giving, and preaching (see October 2015 - Lesson - How Do Christians Worship God? on this blog). There are always consequences for doing things our way instead of God's Way. We remember what happened to Korah and the men who followed him instead of following Moses like God wanted (see May 2014 - Lesson - Korah's Rebellion on this blog). They and everything that belonged to them were destroyed.
  • Jesus said He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). So, who is the head of His church? Jesus is! No other man, council, conference, or group of men can man make changes or rules to the Lord's church. No one died and purchased the church, but Jesus. Jesus has power over all things in the heavens and on the earth (Matthew 28:18-20). That means that Jesus has authority or the 'last word' over all things, especially in His church. Jesus is the only head of His only church and He has all power in heaven and on earth!
"Older" Student Tips:
  • We find that Paul has again written another letter to Christians, but this time he has written God's thoughts and instructions to the church at Ephesus. People who lived in the city of Ephesus were called Ephesians. That is why this letter of the New Testament is called "Ephesians." It is a letter to the Christians who were living in the city of Ephesus. We know that the apostle Paul wrote this letter because he signed the letter in the very first verse of the first chapter.
  • If we discover that we have been taught wrong, we should adjust our thinking to God's Way instead of man's ideas.
  • We should always ask ourselves if we can prove what we do by book, chapter, and verse. This is an excellent way to know if we are pleasing God.
  • More verses:
    • There is one body - Ephesians 4:4
    • The body is the church - Colossians 1:18, 24
    • The head of the body is Christ - Ephesians 1:22, 23
    • The members of the body are Christians - 1 Corinthians 12:27
ACTIVITY:  One Head Over One Body, The Church
Materials:  8.5" X 11" white bond paper, crayons.
  1. Hand out white paper.
  2. Fold paper in half.
  3. Write "Who Is The Head Of The Church?" on the front of the folded paper.
  4. Open paper.
  5. With dark crayon, trace folded line down the middle.
  6. On the left side of the paper, draw a line across the middle of that half of the paper.
  7. In top left box, draw three circles. These are heads.
  8. In top left box, draw one body under the three heads.
  9. In top left box, write "Many heads. One body."
  10. In bottom left box, draw one circle. This is a head.
  11. In bottom left box, draw three bodies.
  12. In bottom left box, write "One head. Many bodies."
  13. In the box on the right side of the paper, draw one circle. This the head.
  14. In the box on the right side of the paper, draw one body.
  15. In the box on the right side of the paper, write "CHRIST is One Head. CHURCH is one body."
  16. Cross out both boxes on the left side of the paper with a red crayon since there are no Bible verses to prove these ideas.
  17. In the box on the right side of the paper, write " Ephesians 1:20-23" and "Ephesians 4:4."
  18. Fold paper and take home.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Lesson - We Will Reap What We Sow!

VERSES:  Galatians 6:7-8

MEMORY VERSE:  Galatians 6:7  "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Luke. Write "Luke" on small slips of paper, so the students may take home another book of the New Testament home to memorize.

PRAYER: Pray that we are determined to live in a godly way here on this earth, pleasing God, and helping others.

SPECIAL SONG:  The Wise Man Built His House On The Rock  (See March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)  Adam And Eve In The Garden (See March 2014 - Lesson - Sin In The Garden on this blog. Click on the orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:  Write "Galatians 6:7-8" on the white board or chalk board. Explain that 'Galatians' is the 'book,' '6' is the chapter, '7-8' are the verses, and the dash ( - ) means all the verses in between the numbered verses. As the Bible teacher teaches the lesson, "godly" words and "evil" words may be discussed and written on the board, also making it easier for the students to spell the words during the Activity (see below).

  • (This lesson may be designed for older students, but can be made simple for the young ones. Please review to see if the lesson will be understood by your students.)
  • God has always had laws or rules. In the very beginning of the pages of the Old Testament, we read about God giving rules to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (see March 2014 - Lesson - Sin In The Garden on this blog). God gave the first man and first woman a command: "You may eat of every tree in the garden, but do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The day that you eat of that tree, you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:16, 17). Did Adam and Eve obey God's rules? No, they did not! They listened to the serpent and sinned in the Garden! Is that what God wanted them to do? No. God always wants us to obey Him. When we do what God tells us to do and are obedient to Him, God is pleased, but when we disobey, God is not pleased and there are always consequences that follow that disobedience. Were there consequences for Adam and Eve? Most certainly! In the end, they were banished or sent out of the beautiful Garden of Eden, working among the weeds for their food and having to eventually die a physical death.
  • On the other hand, God rewards those who love and obey Him. We remember Abram in the book of Genesis (see March 2014 - Lesson - Abram Obeys God on this blog). God talked to Abram and told him to leave his home and travel to a place where God wanted him to go. Did Abram obey God and travel to a land far away, not knowing where he was going? Yes, he did! He listened to God and obeyed and was blessed by God. Did God reward Abram for his obedience? Yes! He promised that He would make Abram's name great, would make Abram a father of many nations, and through Abram all nations would be blessed. Did God keep His promises? Yes, He did. God always keeps His promises.
  • There are many more examples of God blessing those who obeyed Him and even more examples of God's anger toward those who disobeyed Him. But, what determined God's blessings or His anger? The person either chose to obey God or to disobey.  Does God still want us to choose His way and obey His rules? Let's turn our Bibles to a New Testament book--the book of Galatians, chapter 6, and verses 7 and 8. (Read verses.
    • "Be not deceived" - We are told not to be tricked!
    • "God is not mocked" - No one makes fun of God!
    • "For whatsoever a man soweth" - whatever someone plants in the ground
    • "That shall he also reap" - that exact same thing is what the man will harvest or grow.
  • When we plant carrots in this earth, what comes up? Carrots! When we plant watermelons in the dirt, what comes up? Watermelons! One cannot call carrot seeds watermelon seeds and expect to grow watermelons! God cannot be tricked and we, also, should not be tricked! God sets the rules for this physical earth and also for the spiritual. Man cannot change God's laws. 
  • Are we sowing seeds of goodness, patience, and love or are we planting seeds of deceit, bitterness, and lies? It matters what is in our "seed packets." It matters what we are sowing and planting because one day, we will reap what we have sown. (Discuss godly and evil seeds that people plant in their lives and what they reap when the fruit of those seeds are harvested.)
  • The person who is disobedient to God and plants bad things in his life, like lying and stealing, cannot expect to grow good things and be pleasing to God! God knows what kind of life we are living and knows what types of fruit we will harvest by the seeds we have planted. If we live in a wicked and worldly way, we will reap worldly and wicked fruit, but if we live in an obedient and godly way, then we will reap an everlasting life. What a reward it will be to be in heaven! Let's sow those good things and never the wicked. 
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Sometimes people try to trick other people by pretending to live godly, but they are really living a wicked life. These people are called hypocrites. They say one thing, but do another. There will be no hypocrites in heaven. God cannot be tricked. He knows everything.
  • Definitions:  "Sow" means to plant; "Reap" means to harvest.

ACTIVITY:  Godly and Evil Sowing 
Materials:  One 9.5 inch long envelope, one 12" x 18 " tan construction paper, scissors, crayons, marker.
  1. Hand out one envelope to each student.
  2. Lick the envelope and seal it.
  3. Cut envelope in half. These are the seed packets.
  4. On one half of the envelope, write "Godly Sowing" and "Galatians 6:7,8." Open side should be facing up.
  5. Decorate "Godly Sowing" with cheerful coloring.
  6. On the other half of the envelope, write "Evil Sowing" and "Galatians 6:7, 8." Open side should be facing up.
  7. Decorate "Evil Sowing" envelope with plain coloring.
  8. Hand out tan paper.
  9. Fold tan paper in half, then in half again.
  10. Draw the outline of three large "seeds".
  11. Cut seeds out, cutting through all four thicknesses of paper. (If this is too difficult for smaller hands, simply draw a total of twelve seeds and cut them out one at a time.)
  12. On six of the seeds, write six characteristics or deeds that would be considered "godly," such as "love," "joy," "kindness," "helping others," "goodness," and "patience." One deed should be written on each seed. If time permits, the words "The seed of" can be written above each deed.
  13. On the other six seeds, write six characteristics or deeds that would be considered "evil," such as "gossiping," "envy," "stealing," "lying," "anger," and "selfishness." One deed should be written on each seed.
  14. Place all seeds face down in front of the student, so that the words cannot be seen.
  15. One by one, the student chooses a seed and places it in the appropriate seed packet until all seeds are in packets. 
OPTIONAL ACTIVITY:  (See October 2014 - Lesson - Ezekiel - Activity for another Activity idea, using this same message.)