Monday, May 4, 2015

Lesson - The Day The Church Began

VERSES:  Acts 2:1-47

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 2:37  "...And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Review all 39 books of the Old Testament as a class. (This is a longer lesson, so the Bible teacher might want to eagerly begin the lesson.)

PRAYER:  Thank God for the church that Jesus bought with His own blood.

SPECIAL SONG:  How Do Christians Worship God?  (see May 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #5 on this blog)

VISUAL AID:  A Map of the Bible areas around Jerusalem; An Activity (see below) that can be placed on the Bible teacher's head as the lesson is told.

LESSON POINTS:  (This is one of the longer lessons, but such a wonderful one! This lesson may be divided into two lessons--one telling about the miracle of the languages and another about Peter preaching. I always chose to combine them for the complete story.)

  • Fifty days after Jesus rose from the grave victorious over death was the day of Pentecost. On this special day, the apostles were gathered together, united in one house. Jesus had already told His disciples that they were to receive power after the Holy Spirit had come. We remember that Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit would be a comforter to them, teaching them all things, bringing the things that Jesus had taught them to their memories, and He would be a guide to truth for them (John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:13). Jesus was right!
  • On that day of Pentecost, they were all gathered together in one house. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven that sounded like a tremendous wind and it filled the house where they were all sitting. (It wasn't a wind, but it was the sound of wind.) Then, on each of the apostles' heads, there appeared cloven tongues just like fire and it sat upon each one of them! All twelve apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages! The apostles had not been to school to study languages, had they? No, what were their occupations or their jobs? They were men who were common people like fishermen. How could they speak in languages that they had not learned? It was the Holy Spirit who enabled them to speak languages that they had not known up to that time. It was a miracle!
  • On this special feast day, the day of Pentecost, there were thousands of devout Jews who had come to Jerusalem from all over the area; some came from many, many miles away even from different countries. When others in the city found out that this miracle was happening, they all came together and were puzzled because every man heard the apostles speak in their own language. The people were amazed and they marveled because they knew these men to be humble and uneducated men from Galilee. They said to each other, "How can we hear every man in our own dialect or language?" 
  • There were many people from at least 15 different regions around Jerusalem and they could all hear and understand the apostles in their own language! Truly, a miracle! Everyone was amazed and was in doubt. They said to each other, "What does this mean?" But, there were some men who made fun of the apostles and said that they were drunk.
  • Then, Peter stood up with the rest of the eleven apostles. He raised his voice so he could be heard and began to speak. He addressed the men of Judea and those who lived in Jerusalem and said that they were not drunk like some of the men were saying. It was only 9:00 in the morning! But, he said, this was what the prophet, Joel, had prophesied about and now it was coming true. Peter then preached to all of the men, reciting Old Testament prophecies about what was happening. He also spoke about Jesus of Nazareth, a man who had God's approval because He could do many miracles, wonders, and signs. Peter said that Jesus had been crucified and killed by wicked hands, but that God had raised Him alive from the grave! Peter spoke words from King David in the Old Testament. The listeners listened carefully because they knew who King David was and they knew his words. 
  • Finally, Peter told the tremendous crowd that they--the ones who were in the audience--were the ones who had crucified Jesus who was both the Lord and the Christ! When the people heard that statement from Peter, it cut them to the heart or they were convinced that what Peter said was true. They all began to ask what they should do. Peter told them God's answer. They were to repent of their sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ in order that their sins could be washed away and then they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which was salvation. Peter said that this promise would not only be to the ones who were listening, but to everyone who was afar off. He was talking about us--me and you! 
  • On that day, there were 3, 000 people who repented and were baptized in water. They stayed in Jerusalem for many days, listening to the apostles and their teaching. They steadfastly continued to apply what the apostles were teaching to their lives, enjoyed the fellowship of other believers, partook in the Lord's Supper, and prayed much. The apostles proved that they were from God by doing many miracles, wonders, and signs in front of the people and the people respected and were in awe of what they saw. All who believed were together and they shared their food, shelter, anything that they needed. Some sold what they had and divided it among the ones who were in need. They all continued meeting together in unity daily in the temple, and eating together with happiness, praising God, and having favor with all of the people. The Lord added the saved to the church every day and the church grew. The church was established on the Day of Pentecost.

"Older Student" Tips:
  • "Tongue" is another word for "languages."
  • "Cloven tongue" is like a snake's tongue; it is divided and not like our tongues.
  • This was not a miracle of the 'ear,' but a miracle of the tongue because in Acts 2:4, the apostles began to speak with other languages.
  • There were men from at least 15 different areas, They were Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, Rome, Jews, Cretes, and Arabians ;yet, everyone could hear and understand the apostles in their own language. How was this possible? It was a miracle. A miracle is something that would be impossible for man to do, but not impossible for God. Read Matthew 19:26.
  • The book of Acts is also called "The Book of Conversions." This is the first example in the Bible that shows how a person is added to the church and is saved. Read Acts 2:38, 41, and 47.  We have book, chapter, and verse for repentance followed by baptism, and then the Lord adding the people to the church. The way to be added to the church (baptism) is the same way a person gains church membership. No signing of cards, writing in the back of a Bible, or being voted into the church is found in this text. Let us be aware of each conversion as we study through the book of Acts.

ACTIVITY:  "Cloven Tongues As Of Fire"
Materials needed:  Two strips of 3" x 18" brown construction paper, 6" x 8" shiny red wrapping paper, 7" x 9" orange construction paper, glue, scissors, crayons, stapler, staples.

  1. (Note: Shiny, red wrapping paper can be very expensive; however, it the Bible teacher buys it after Christmas and stores it until it is needed, money can be saved! Sure looks nice with this project; however, simple red construction paper can be used instead.)
  2. Hand out brown paper.
  3. Tape one end of a brown strip to the other end of another brown strip of paper. Set aside.
  4. Hand out shiny red paper.
  5. Round bottom two corners of paper.
  6. Cut a large "V" out of the middle of the red paper. This is the cloven tongue.
  7. Hand out orange paper.
  8. Glue cloven tongue in the middle of the orange paper.
  9. Cut orange paper just a little bit bigger than the red cloven tongue. This will give the red shiny paper the support to stand up on the student's head.
  10. Glue the cloven tongue in the middle of the brown strips where the tape is taped. Again, this is additional support.
  11. Measure the head of the student with the long brown strip, allowing two extra inches of brown.
  12. Cut extra brown paper off. If the extra paper is not cut off, the words in step #13 might be cut off when the strip is stapled.
  13. On the brown strip, write, "Suddenly, there came a sound from heaven AS a rushing, mighty wind...and there appeared unto them cloven tongues AS of fire, and it sat of each of them." and "Acts 2:2, 3." Explain how it was not wind and was not fire, but "AS" wind and fire. 
  14. Place around student's head and staple the ends of the brown paper together.
  15. It would be nice to take a group picture, if possible and if desired.