Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Lesson - The Conversion Of Cornelius

VERSES:   Acts 10:1-48

MEMORY VERSE:   Acts 10:48   "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord..."   

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  2 Corinthians.   Write "2 Corinthians" on small slips of paper and hand out to the students before they leave class, so they can memorize one more New Testament book.

PRAYER:   Pray that we treat all people as we would want to be treated, not thinking that we are better than anyone else. God created us all the same and we should love one another.

SPECIAL SONG:   God's Good Menu (see May 2014 - Lesson - Menu Rules on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.) This song tells what animals God's people could and could not eat. God's food rules change on the blog tonight.

VISUAL AID:  A sheet with animals made of plastic, paper, wooden. Sometimes inexpensive plastic toy animals are found at Dollar Tree, Walmart and such like. If no animals are available, print or draw colorful pictures of four-footed animals, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds..These animals should be ones that Jews could not eat before this event.(see May 2014 - Lesson - Menu Rules.)  With the animals in the middle of the sheet, hold the four corners of the sheet together high in the air. As you let down the sheet to the ground, let the students take a look inside the sheet.

  • There was a man who lived in Caesarea whose name was Cornelius. Cornelius was a soldier who ruled over 100 other soldiers. He was a devout man. He had respect for God; in fact, his whole household had respect for God. He gave a lot of money to the poor people. Cornelius always prayed to God. Cornelius was not a Jew, but he had favor with all of the Jews (Acts 10:22). Anyone who was not a Jew was called a Gentile. Cornelius was a Gentile.
  • One afternoon, Cornelius saw an angel of God coming to him in a vision.  The angel said, "Cornelius." When Cornelius looked at the angel, he was afraid and asked, "What is it, Lord?" The angel went on to say to Cornelius, "Your prayers and what you do for the poor come to God as a memorial." That meant that God was pleased with Cornelius! The angel told Cornelius to send men to Simon Peter who was staying with a man also named Simon who was a tanner and lived by the sea in the city of Joppa. The angel said that Peter would tell him what to do.
  • The minute the angel left, Cornelius called two of his servants and one of his devout soldiers who was close to Cornelius and told them what had happened and what they were to do. The three men hurried to Joppa to find Peter.
  • The next morning as Cornelius' men traveled to Joppa and were very close to the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray. Peter was very hungry, and while they were getting the food ready to eat, Peter fell into a trance. He saw the heaven open, and something like a sheet of fabric gathered at all four corners came down from heaven. Then, a voice spoke to Peter and said, "Get up, Peter, kill and eat." But, Peter knew that God did not allow His people to eat just any animal (see May 2014 - Lesson - Menu Rules.) In the book of Leviticus, God told Moses what the people could eat and not eat for their own good. For example, the people could not eat pork, or birds that ate dead things. But, in the New Testament, as we see in our lesson today, God changes His rules for what people could eat and not eat. 
  • When Peter was told to eat the animals that were in the sheet, he said that he could not because he had never eaten anything unclean or common. The voice spoke to Peter the second time and told him that what God had cleansed, do not call it common. This was done three times and then the sheet was taken back up into heaven.
  • As Peter was wondering what this vision meant, there was a knock at the gate. It was the men who were sent by Cornelius! While they were asking if Peter was there, the Spirit talked to Peter and told him that there were three men looking for him. The Spirit told Peter to go down to the men, because he was on the roof top, and go with them. He was not to doubt because the Spirit had sent them. So Peter went down from the roof top and spoke to the three men. He said, "I am the one you have been looking for. Why did you send for me?"  Then they told Peter about how a holy angel from God had spoken to Cornelius and told him to listen to Peter's words.
  • So, the men stayed the night at Simon the tanner's house, and the next morning, Peter and six disciples from Joppa went to Caesarea to Cornelius' house (Acts 11:12). The following day, when Cornelius heard that Peter and men were coming, do you know what he did? He invited all of his relatives and friends to his house where they waited for Peter to arrive. When Peter was coming into the house, Cornelius fell down at Peter's feet and worshiped him, but Peter told him to stand up because he was a man, too. As Peter entered the room, he saw that there were many gathered together. He said to Cornelius and his friends that he knew it was against the law for a Jew to keep company with one of another nation, but then he told them what he had learned from his vision. He said that God showed him that he could not call any man common or unclean, and then he asked why Cornelius had sent for him. Cornelius told Peter about his own vision and how the angel had told him to send for Peter, so he could listen to his words.
  • Peter then opened his mouth and preached to the first Gentiles about how God was not a respecter of persons, or God now treated everyone the same if they respected God and did righteously or obediently. Peter said that if whoever did those things, God would accept them. Then Peter started preaching about Jesus and how He died, but was raised to life again. He told Cornelius and his friends that whoever believed in Jesus would receive the forgiveness of their sins.
  • Then, while Peter was still preaching, the Holy Spirit fell on those who were listening to Peter. Cornelius and his friends were speaking different languages that they had not learned. They were all amazed that this had happened because up to this point, the Holy Spirit had not been given to any Gentile! Peter told the people, "Can we forbid water that these people who have received the Holy Spirit like we have should not be baptized?" Then Peter commanded that they should all be baptized and Peter baptized them.
  • Peter stayed in Joppa for a few days.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • God does not speak through visions and trances today because we have the Bible written down and we are able to check out what truth is by reading God's Word, the Bible. Since the Bible is here now, God does not need to speak any other way than in His Word.
  • How did the Jews who had been baptized into Christ react to the Gentiles also being added to the church through baptism? The Jews had been God's chosen people for hundred of years and to accept the obedient Gentiles as being God's people, too, was difficult for some of the disciples to understand. The apostles and brethren in Judea heard that the Gentiles had received God's Word and when Peter went to Jerusalem, they wanted to know how it had happened. (Acts 11:1, 2). Peter explained everything just the way it had happened (Acts 11:3-17), and the disciples finally accepted the fact that anyone who obedient to God's Word could be saved, not just one group of people (Acts 11:18).  
ACTIVITY:  The Gospel Is Preached To Cornelius, The First Gentile Baptized
Materials needed: 9" x 12" tan construction paper, crayons, marker, scissors.
  1. Hand out tan paper.
  2. Fold edges to the middle of the paper.
  3. Crease folds.
  4. Open paper.
  5. In large middle section, write "Cornelius" ans "Acts 10" at the top of the paper.
  6. Draw a picture of Cornelius in his soldier uniform. 
  7. Color.
  8. On the left and right sections, write facts that are known about Cornelius, drawing a line between facts. For example:  Lived in Caesarea, A soldier-ruled over 100 soldiers, A devout man, Feared God, Gave money to poor, Prayed to God always, Baptized, First gentile in church.
  9. Cut on lines.
  10. Fold all facts to the back of the middle section, so the facts are hidden.
  11. As a friend of the student begins guessing as many facts as they can remember about Cornelius, the student unfolds the correct responses that are given. In the end, all facts should be in view.
  12. Purpose of this project:  To help students remember as many facts as they can about Cornelius and what book and chapter his story is told in the New Testament. 
  13. Before leaving class, make sure all the facts are hidden behind Cornelius!