Saturday, June 20, 2015

Lesson - The Old Law Is Not Binding Today

VERSES:   Acts 15:1-41

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 15:36  "...Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord and see how they do."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Review all the New Testament books that the students have been encouraged to memorize. This is a good foundation for memorizing the rest of the books.

PRAYER:   Pray that we always treasure the Bible, God's Word, and share it with others.

SPECIAL SONG:  Jesus Loves The Little Children (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #2 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:  Bible map; Activity (see below)

  • When Jesus died on the cross, things had changed. No longer did Christians live under Moses' Law, but they lived under Jesus' Law. But some of the Christians who had been Jews and had lived under Moses' Law were having trouble understanding that Jesus had different rules.
  • While Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch, there were certain men who came down from Judea and were saying and teaching that Christians had to still follow the rules of the Old Testament in order to be saved and go to heaven. When Paul and Barnabas heard what the men were still teaching people, there were disagreements in the church when Paul and Barnabas told the men that the Old Testament laws did not apply to Christians. The men from Judea were very upset and made a plan for Paul, Barnabas and other men to go to Jerusalem and discuss this question concerning the Old Law with the apostles and elders.
  • Along the journey, the men continued to preach about Jesus to the Gentiles, bringing much joy to the cities of Phoenicia and Samaria. However, when they got to Jerusalem, there were some Christians, who had been part of the Pharisees group, who argued that parts of the Old Testament law were still binding.
  • The apostles and elders met together and discussed the problem. After much disagreeing, Peter finally stood up and said that a good time ago, God had chosen to include the Gentiles in hearing the Gospel and Peter was the one who had preached to them and they had believed and obeyed. Peter said that God had put no difference in the Jews and the Gentiles. 
  • The entire group was silent as Paul and Barnabas spoke to them about the miracles that they performed among the Gentiles. Afterwards, the men remained quiet. Then a man named James spoke up and, after he quoted scriptures, offered a wise solution. He suggested that they write letters to the Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia congregations, telling them that neither the apostles, nor the Holy Spirit, had given such a command to keep the Old Law. 
  • After the letter was written, Paul, Barnabas, a man named Judas and another man named Silas, who were prophets, were sent back to Antioch where the letter was read out loud to all the church. The letter caused great rejoicing among all the brethren. Judas and Silas encouraged the brethren there and, after the men had stayed a while, traveled back to Jerusalem, all but Silas, Paul, and Barnabas who stayed in Antioch and continued preaching.
  • After a few days, Paul suggested to Barnabas that they, once again, go on a second missionary journey and visit the churches where they had been before to see how they were doing. There was a disagreement on who should go with them on the journey. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark again, but Paul did not think that was a good idea since John Mark had left them in the middle of their last journey and did not work with them. They both felt very strongly about who should go, so, in the end, Paul and Barnabas went their own separate ways with Barnabas taking John Mark and Paul taking Silas.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • The Jews had lived by the Old Testament Law for hundreds and hundreds of years. When Jesus died on the cross, He took the Old Law away and put Jesus' Law into its place. We live under Christ's Law today. Christ died to sacrifice Himself once and for all (Hebrews 10:10) and, as an example, that is why we do not offer animal sacrifices as they did under Moses' Law. There is no need for animal sacrifices (Hebrews 10:4) because Jesus was the better sacrifice (Hebrews 9:13, 14, 22, 23). While change is sometimes difficult, we must always do just what the Bible says.
  • It is interesting to notice that, while Paul and Barnabas disagreed on who should travel with them on the beginning of a new second missionary journey, they worked it out without anyone stopping their preaching or going home. They continued to preach and teach about Jesus Christ, separately.
ACTIVITY:   Paul and Barnabas disagree
Materials needed:   9" x 12" light blue construction paper, stapler, staples, permanent marker (Be careful! Will be permanent on anything!), four strips 2 1/2" x 9" of different colored construction paper, four small strips of 1" x 7" matching different colored construction paper, glue, four plastic spoons, scissors.

  1. Hand out four spoons.
  2. With permanent marker, CAREFULLY draw face and hair on the back of each spoon.
  3. Set spoons aside.
  4. Hand out four 2 1/2" x 9" papers.
  5. Fold each paper in half.
  6. With scissors, cut a "V" in the middle of the folded edge. These are the four men's coats.
  7. Write a name--"Paul," Barnabas," Silas," or "John Mark"--on the bottom of the coat.
  8. Hand out four small strips of matching paper. These are the men's arms.
  9. Fold each small strip in half.
  10. Cut in half on folded line.
  11. Open up each coat.
  12. Place a small amount of glue on each side on the bottom half of paper near the fold line. (We are gluing the men's arms to the inside of their coats.)
  13. Fold coats in half again. 
  14. Staple each side of each coat.
  15. Insert one spoon with face in each coat.
  16. Hand out light blue paper.
  17. Fold almost in half.
  18. Staple of each side to form a pocket.
  19. Write "Paul and Barnabas disagree, but continue to preach the Gospel." and "Acts 15:36-41).
  20. Just before Bible class ends, the students places the four men in their light blue pocket and tells someone at home about the lesson.
  21. The Intent Of This Project:  Using the spoons, the students tell the story of how Paul and Barnabas wanted to choose their own helper (John Mark and Silas), but they disagreed about who to choose.  Barnabas wanted to take John Mark; Paul disagreed because of John Mark's history and wanted to take Saul. Finally, Paul took Silas with him and Barnabas took John Mark. Both men disagreed, but continued to preach the Gospel. It is possible to disagree with your brother and continue to teach and preach in harmony.