MEMORY VERSE: Acts 8:4 "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: John. Write "John" on small slips of paper and hand out at the end of class to encourage the students to memorize one more New Testament book at home. Since this a shorter lesson than most, review the first four books of the New Testament and all 39 books of the Old Testament. Perhaps singing The Books Of The Old Testament (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3) and The Books Of The New Testament -(see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog for words. Click orange circles for tunes.)
PRAYER: Pray for the countries in the world that are in troublesome times. May God be with them and protect those who love and serve Him.
SPECIAL SONG: Acts 8:4 (see June 2015 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #7 on this blog for words. Click on orange circle to hear tune.) and This Little Light Of Mine (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog for words. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)
VISUAL AID: Large Activity (see below), map of the areas of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
- After Stephen was killed by stoning, strong and fearless Christian men saw to it that Stephen had a funeral. They carried him to where he was to be buried and lamented or grieved and were very sad that he had died.
- During the time that Stephen was killed by the Jews simply for preaching and teaching about Jesus and performing wonders and miracles that no one could do if God was not with them, there was a great persecution against the church at Jerusalem. A persecution is when a group of people treats another group of people with hostility and violence, simply because there is a disagreement on political or religious beliefs. At this time, Christians were being treated terribly. They were being hurt, imprisoned, mistreated and some were even killed.
- Because of this persecution, the Christians scattered everywhere. Instead of everyone staying only in Jerusalem, Christians went to different cities and different countries and when they went, they continued to preach the Word. They went to Judea and Samaria, all but the apostles. The apostles stayed in Jerusalem and continued to teach and preach about Jesus to the people living there.
- As far as Saul was concerned, he tried to destroy the church. He entered into every house, and pulled out the Christians. It did not matter if they were men or women; if they were Christians, he took them to prison.
- All persecution is not all bad. Yes, the hurting and treating people badly is not good, but, by Christians going every which way to escape the hardship in Jerusalem, the gospel went wherever the Christians went because they did not stop preaching and teaching about Jesus.
- Today, we can talk to people on the other side of the world on the telephone, cell phone, or computer just by entering a few numbers or words. In the first century, there was no technology like we have now. How was the Gospel--the good news about Jesus--spread so that it went to different countries? People took it with them in their hearts and told others about the Son of God and the church He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). As people fled Jerusalem, the Christians spread the Gospel by word of mouth. They talked about what they believed in and the good news was passed on to one person at a time.
- Times of persecution weeds out the fainthearted. Only those Christians who loved the Lord with their whole heart and were committed to the cause of Christ endured the difficult times. Christians, today, are not always treated as the Christians were in the days of the early church. We need to prepare ourselves, though. There may come time when Christians are mistreated. What will we do? Will we be strong and fearless and bold like many were back then? We should always love the Lord with all of our heart, all of of our soul, and all of our might. (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Materials needed: 9" x 12" light brown construction paper, white bond paper, marker, crayons, small star sticker, glue.
- Hand out white paper. This is the map which does not need to be perfect. Let the students draw their own maps. They are capable, will learn from it, and be proud!
- Looking at Bible map, draw a wiggly line starting at about four inches from the left top of the paper and and finishing in bottom left hand corner of paper with black marker. This is the coastline.
- Draw a small 1" lopsided circle about 4 inches down in the middle of the white paper. This is the Sea of Galilee.
- Towards the bottom of the middle of the white paper lines up with the Sea of Galilee, draw a long oval with a hook on the right side. This is the Dead Sea.
- Connect these two shapes together by drawing a line from one to another. This is the Jordan River.
- Looking at the Bible map, draw an upward wiggly line from about the middle of the two shapes to the long left line.
- Draw a shadow of the line in Step #6 almost to the coastline. This is Samaria.
- Draw a wiggly line from almost the bottom of the Dead Sea to the coast line. This Judea.
- Draw a line along the coastline from the middle of Samaria to the bottom of Judea. This is the land of the Philistines which will not be labeled.
- Label Samaria and Judea.
- In the middle of Judea, make a black dot with the marker. This is Jerusalem.
- Label the dot Jerusalem.
- Above Samaria, write, "Acts 8:1."
- All along the left side of the the Jordan River, write, "...And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles."
- Color Samaria, Judea, and the word Jerusalem.
- Match the names in the verse to the same color of the regions and city. Color the same color.
- Color all of the words of the verse and "Acts 8:1" yellow.
- Color the water blue.
- Color all of countries around Samaria and Judea brown.
- Place star sticker on top of the black dot beside Jerusalem.
- Glue the map on the light brown construction paper for a frame.