Week 31 – What do we believe by true faith?

Question

What do we believe by true faith?

Answer

The Apostles Creed – See Below

Memory Verse:

Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write, appealing to you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all. (Jude 3)

Main Idea:

There is one true faith that was handed down by the apostles.

Outline for lesson

  1. The Apostles Creed: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into Hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and is seated on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Christian church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.
  2. Open in prayer: Gracious God, thank you for revealing yourself and your great plan of salvation in and through your Word. I praise you for the courage of the men and women who have contended for the Christian faith all through history. Thank you for the historic creeds of the church, and for the way they clearly articulate biblical doctrine. Grant understanding to the children who will read this lesson. May they be equipped with a knowledge of the true Christian faith, and may they be made ready to stand for you. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
  3. Introduction: Show the children the Pictures Burning of Latimer and Ridley and Cranmer’s Martyrdom from Q31 Martyr Illustrations (RB). Ask the children to describe what is going on in these two pictures. Let them look carefully at the pictures and notice the details. Tell the children that these pictures are of three men known as the Oxford martyrs. The first picture shows Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley being burned at the stake on October 16, 1555. Thomas Cranmer was burned five months later. Each of these men died because he contended for and defended the true Christian faith during a time when the Queen of England wanted her people to follow doctrine not taught in the Bible. Introduce the children to Qyestion 31: “What do we believe by true faith?” Explain to the children that this question will help them to consider what true Christian faith is and what it means to contend for the faith.
  4. Activity: Print a copy of Q31 Apostles Creed Bookmark (RD). Cut up the verses and Phrases from the Creed. Put the twelve pieces of Paper in an envelope. Make several sets of the puzzle, each in its own envelope. Introduce the children to the Apostles’ Creed by reading it to them. Tell the children that a creed is a statement of Christian beliefs. All through history people have had to contend (fight) for the true Christian faith, starting soon after Jesus’s death and resurrection. Tell the children that Christians in the fourth century were facing great opposition from a group called the Gnostics, who taught that Jesus didn’t really die and rise again. (You may want to write out the word for them and explain that the G is silent.) In response to the false teaching, the Apostles’ Creed was formulated as a statement of true Christian faith. This Creed is named for the apostles. Tell the children that it wasn’t written by the apostles, but it contains the things the apostles taught. Divide the children into small teams. Give each team an envelope with twelve slips of paper in it; there should be six Bible verses and six points from Apostles’ Creed. Explain to the children that everything that is written in the Apostles’ Creed is found in Scripture. Challenge the children to link the statement from the Creed with the Bible verse it’s derived from.
  5. Lesson: You will need Q31 Apostles’ Creed Bookmark (RB), one per child. Begin the teaching time by asking for God’s help. Ask that the lesson would be taught faithfully and that the children might listen well. Read Jude 1—4. Provide Bibles for the children to read along with you. Point out to them that the book of Jude is one of the shortest in the whole Bible. It has only one chapter! Tell the children that in this small passage, Jude calls Christians to contend for the faith. He wants to make sure that they fight to defend the true Christian message and to maintain the biblical faith that has been passed down from generation to generation. For some Christians, defending the true faith still involves risking their lives, as Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer did, but for the millions and millions of others it means knowing all about the faith and being able to tell others why you believe it. It involves resisting people who teach false things about the faith. Everyone who knows and understands the true Christian faith does so because of a long, long line of believers who contended for the faith! Ask the children what soldiers do before they go into battle. They train and equip themselves in preparation to contend! Inform the children that knowing and understanding the Apostles’ Creed is one of the ways God’s people can prepare themselves to contend for the true Christian faith. In verse 3, Jude calls Christians to defend the faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints. “Tell the children that the Apostles’ Creed contains the core doctrines that Jude is referring to. It communicates the truth of the gospel as understood by the apostles, who learned it from Jesus himself and who taught it to God’s people in the church. All but one of the apostles were put to death by people who opposed the message they taught, Jude also highlights that the Christian faith was handed to the saints “once for all”; the message was given to the church once for everyone, for all time. The final point to draw out for the children from the passage is that sometimes those who threaten the church and the understanding of the true Christian faith are those who are already inside the church, not simply outsiders. Close by explaining to the children that in many churches around the world, the Apostles’ Creed is said collectively each week. Saying the Creed together is a good way to remind each other what the true Christian faith is as we prepare to contend for it. Give the children a copy of the Apostles’ Creed in a bookmark format. Invite them to read it with you and place it somewhere they will see it regularly, like in their Bible or by their bed.
  6. Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.

Week 30 – What is faith in Jesus Christ?

Question

What is faith in Jesus Christ?

Answer

Receiving and resting on Him alone for salvation’s he is offered to us in the gospel.

Memory Verse:

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

Main Idea:

To help the children understand that faith in Christ means trusting him as savior, and living for him.

Outline for lesson

  1. Open in prayer: Author of Our Faith, we believe that you are who you say you are. Your Word is truth, and it reveals you as our only hope of salvation. We believe your promises, walking by faith, not by sight. Amen.
  2. Introduction: Wrap individual gifts for each child in the class. As the children settle down for the lesson, hand each child a gift. Tell them that they are free to open their gifts. Allow them a moment to open and enjoy the gifts they have received. Introduce Question 30: “WV hat is faith in Jesus Christ?” Explain to the children that today’s question will help them to understand what faith in Jesus is. Ask the children if they enjoyed receiving the little gifts, and ask them if they generally enjoy receiving gifts for their birthday or Christmas. They will undoubtedly respond affirmatively! Highlight for the children that the gift of faith given by God surpasses all other gifts, and tell them that the significance of such a gift will be explored in the lesson. Ask them if they did anything to earn the gift you gave them. Although they didn’t earn their gifts, they unwrapped them and willingly received them. The same is true of salvation by faith.
  3. Activity: Prepare some video clips of People Parachuting or bungee jumping. Show the children videos of people parachuting or bungee jumping. Ask the children if they would ever want to jump out of a plane or off a cliff. Ask them what people are trusting in when they jump with a parachute or bungee cords. (Although their reflexive answer may be”God, ” the right answer is the parachute or bungee cord.) Draw the children’s attention to the fact that these people trust either a parachute or a bungee cord to save their life, noting that if the parachute fails to open or the bungee cord snaps, the results could be messy! Explain to the children that the people jumping need to have great faith that their equipment is reliable. Highlight that trust is an essential part of faith, and faith in Jesus Christ means trusting him ultimately with our lives.
  4. Read: Begin the teaching time by asking for God’s help. Ask that the lesson would be taught faithfully and that the children might listen well. Tell the children that sometimes people describe faith as a leap in the dark. This implies that faith is placing your trust in something you know nothing about. Explain that might be what the first ever parachuter did when he jumped out of an airplane with a piece of material strapped to his back. But that isn’t what parachuters are doing nowadays. They have faith in their parachute because they know how to use them. They’ve read the instructions. know that they’re made by reputable companies, and they learn how to use them from experienced instructors. They trust that as they fall to the ground, one tug on a cord will release a parachute that will allow them to fall gently to the ground without being hurt in any way. Explain to the children that faith is actually trust or confidence that is based on knowledge coming from evidence. It’s not a leap in the dark. Explain to the children that when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are placing our trust in him because of all the evidence in Scripture that testifies to him as the promised Savior. He is the one whom God said he would send to save his people from their sins. He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Tell the children that a Christian is not just a person who simply believes in his or her head that Jesus is the Savior, but someone who, from the heart, is ready to say, “Here, Jesus. Here is my whole life. I am not trusting anything else to save me. Ask the children to think about jumping off a wall into a parent’s arms. They might believe that their parent is able and willing to catch them, but they don’t exercise that belief as trust until the moment they jump. It’s when we “jump” into the arms of Jesus, putting our whole trust in him, that we show faith.Read Galatians 2:15—21. Provide Bibles for the children to read along with you. Tell the children that now you are going to look at part of Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia. At this point in the letter, Paul is explaining what it means to be justified by faith. That simply means to be put back in a right relationship with God through faith alone, not by ever doing anything else. Explain to the children that Paul is clearly arguing that the only way to be saved is by trusting in Jesus Christ. At the time when Paul was writing, and indeed now, people thought that you must keep laws in order to be made right with God. They believed that they had the power to save themselves if they lived in a certain way. But they were deluded; no one except Jesus has been able to keep God’s law perfectly. Paul says that the only way to be justified is by acknowledging that we need Jesus in order to be saved, that we can’t do it by ourselves. It is putting our full trust confidently in Jesus. Tell the children that God gives the gift of faith when we become Christians. Our old life dies, and we receive new life in Christ— new life lived through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul speaks personally in these verses, declaring that Christ loved him and died for him, and as a result he lives by faith in Jesus. He no longer trusts in himself or lives his own way, but trusts Jesus and lives for him, striving to resist the sin that would have been so attractive in his old life. This is what faith in Jesus Christ looks like! (These notes are just for guidance. Please expand or amend them to suit your own children and context. Write out your talk in your own words and include illustrations and applications that you know will connect with your children.).
  5. Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.

Week 29 – How can we be saved?

Question

How can we be saved?

Answer

Only by faith in Jesus Christ and in his substitutionary atoning death on the cross; so even though we are guilty of having disobeyed God and are still inclined to all evil, nevertheless, God, without any merit of our own but only by pure grace, imputes to us the perfect righteousness of Christ when we repent and believe in him.

Memory Verse:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9)

Main Idea:

Only through faith in Jesus can we be saved from there punishment we rightly deserve from God

Outline for lesson

  1. Open in prayer: Gracious God, thank you for saving me through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Please cause me to rejoice in my salvation and boldly proclaim the gospel to the people around me. Amen.
  2. Introduction: Familiarize yourself with the story of the Chilean miners who were trapped underground for sixty-nine days in August 2010, when the San Jose Mine collapsed. Print out some pictures of the scene, the mine, and the rescued men. Begin by asking the children if they have ever been saved from something terrible happening to them. Try to keep this question grounded in real life, rather than jumping straight to the gospel at this stage. Perhaps they’ve been saved from: Getting lost in the mall Running out in front of a car, Falling and breaking a leg Ask, “What did it feel like to be saved?” Ask the children if they’ve ever heard any stories about people being saved. Once you’ve exhausted their stories, share the story of the Chilean miners. Ask, “Who did the saving? What kind of people do you think they were? Were they brave or strong? Why did they want to save someone else?”Introduce Question 29: “How can we be saved?” Commend the children for their participation in the discussion. Remind them that everyone needs to be saved, not from a fire or from drowning or from a car crash, but from the punishment of God that is due to everyone who sins against him.
  3. Read: Cut out two large paper hearts for each child; they must be suitable for writing on. Stick up a cross at the front of your meeting room. Pass out markers. Begin the teaching time with prayer, asking that God would help you to teach the lesson faithfully and the children to listen well. Remind your children that in the story of the Chilean miners, you encountered people who really needed a savior. They needed to be saved. They were helpless and unable to save themselves. Explain that it’s not only people who are stuck in a burning building or a collapsed mine who need to be saved. that’s why the question “How can I be saved?”is such an important one! The Bible clearly teaches that everyone needs to be saved. Everyone who has ever lived or will ever live is facing punishment and death because everyone has disobeyed God. Emphasize to the children that this includes you and them. Tell them that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves from this fate. Briefly discuss what sin is (refer to Question 16) and the consequences of sin for each man, woman, and child. Be sensitive to those children who may be worried by this reality, but also seek to engage well with children who behave as if they’ve heard it all before. Be prepared to explain sin in a more detailed way to new or visiting children. Explain that you’re going to read a bit more from Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus. Read Ephesians 2:1—3. Provide Bibles for the children so they can read along with you. Help the children to see that the passage describes those without a Savior as “dead in [our] trespasses and sins,” a devastating description that applies to everyone who has lived, is living, and will live. Help them to understand how people can be described as dead, when by all appearances they’re living and breathing. Those who have sinned against God are dead spiritually. They have no relationship with God because their sin separates them from God, and therefore they can do nothing to please God. We need a Super-Savior to save us from this terrible predicament! Explain to the children that in the passage Paul identifies everyone as a sinner— someone who has rejected God’s rule and failed to live according to his laws. Have the children write some of their personal sins on a paper heart. Gently help the children who believe that they’re sinless to see where they disobey God. This may be an appropriate time to share a little of your own testimony, highlighting how you came to realize that you were a sinner and dead in your trespasses and sin, one who deserved to be punished by God. Have them fold the heart in half so that no one can see inside. Read Ephesians 2:4—10. Tell the children that these verses are truly amazing because they explain that God so loved the world that he sent his only beloved Son to save all those who are dead in their sins, to bring them from death to life. Jesus is the Super-Savior! He’s the only One who is able to save. Explain to the children that God still had to punish someone for all the sins committed because he is a just God; Jesus took the place of and bore the punishment for sinners.Jesus was the only person who ever lived a perfect, sinless life. He was the only person who didn’t deserve punishment and death, because he never disobeyed God. Tell the children that when Jesus died on the cross, he stood in to take the punishment for sin. He paid the price that was required for people to be made alive to God. It is the greatest swap of all time: God takes the repentant sinner’s sin and puts it on Jesus. And he takes Jesus’s perfect righteousness and imputes it to all those who have faith in him. Ask the children to bring their sin-stained paper hearts to the foot of the cross and have them pick up a clean, unblemished heart. Explain to them that if they put their faith in the Lord Jesus and confess their sins, he gives them a clean heart. Remind the children that those who don’t trust in Jesus are described as dead, but those who trust in Jesus are made alive—they have a heart transplant. The good news is that those who are alive—those who have put their trust in Jesus to deal with their disobedience and sin—will enjoy a relationship with God forevermore. Remind the children that new life is a free gift from God. The Bible calls that saving grace. We don’t have to do anything to be saved except repent and believe in Jesus, whose resurrection from the dead ensures our eternal life.
  4. Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.

Week 28 – What happens after death to those not united to Christ by faith?

Question

What happens after death to those not united to Christ by faith?

Answer

They will be cast out from the presence of God, into hell, to be justly punished, forever.

Memory Verse:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Main Idea:

To help the children understand that those who are not united to Christ by faith will perish eternally.

Outline for lesson

  1. Open in prayer: Loving God, thank you that your great love caused you to send your precious Son to die on the cross in my place. I praise you that I am united to him and may have joy and confidence in my salvation, and I look forward to eternity in your presence. Amen.
  2. Review Activity: You will need a whiteboard and two whiteboard makers and a copy of the catechism questions and answers. Divide the children into two teams and line each team up facing the whiteboard. Explain to the children that this is a head-to-head challenge! The children should come to the whiteboard in pairs; the first children from each team, followed by the second children from each team, etc. Read a catechism question out to the children. Tell them that the first to write the number associated with the question on the whiteboard wins a point for their team. Give that child a chance to say the answer. If he gets the answer right, he gets another point for his team. If he can’t remember it, the child from the other team can answer for the point. Play until every child has had a turn going head-to-head to guess the correct number and answer to a question. 
  3. Introduction: You will need some pictures that show common depictions of hell. Show the children several ways that hell has been popularly depicted: The Nether in Minecraft, Hell as depicted in the TV series The Simpsons, A diagram of the circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno Explain to the children that in the world, many people don’t take God or the Bible seriously. Tell the children that, sadly, that means they don’t understand the reality of life separated from God. They get their idea of hell from cartoons rather than from the Bible. Introduce the children to Question 28: “What happens after death to those not united to Christ by faith?” Explain that everyone who is in Christ experiences one thing after death and everyone who is still in Adam because he or she has not believed the gospel experiences something different. Tell the children that this question will help them to consider the fate for those who are not united to Christ by faith.
  4. Activity: Have a copy of the Q28 Code Buster (RB) worksheet for each child. Ask the children to decode some of the key verses where Jesus speaks about the fate of those who are not united to him. When they have finished, ask three children to read out the three different verses. Answers: “And do not fear those who Idll the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28) “While the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 8: 12) “Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 22:13) Explain to the children that instead of looking to the world to find out what life apart from God is like, it is important to look to Jesus and his words in the Bible. Read through each verse and observe that Jesus teaches that there is a place called hell and that is where those who are not united to Christ go.
  5. Read: Begin the teaching time by asking for God’s help. Ask that the lesson would be taught faithfully and that the children might listen well. Read John 3: 16—18, 36. Provide Bibles for the children to read along with you. Ask the children to begin by looking at these verses. Have them consider what they teach about God. Draw out the following points for the children: God is loving. God gave his precious Son up to death on the cross because he loved the world. God will give his people eternal life. Ask the children what this passage says will happen to those who do not believe in Jesus—who are not united to Christ by faith. Explain to the children that verse 16 says all who are not united to Christ will perish. Verse 18 says that those who will perish are those who are condemned. They are condemned because of their sin, their rebellion against God, and their rejection of God’s laws. Ihey are people who will be judged by God and face the just punishment of God. Tell the children that in the Bible, perishing does not mean that you cease existing, but that you exist in eternal separation from God. Explain to the children that many people live as if God doesn’t exist. They ignore him and fail to acknowledge the many blessings that he provides to everyone on earth. They are blind to the fact that God’s presence and grace are blessing them and that he is also holding back and restraining evil. Explain to the children that in eternity, people who have lived as if God doesn’t exist will be separated from him forever. The main thing that characterizes hell isn’t flames or devils. It is separation from God. We can’t really imagine what that would be like, but it is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone. Conclude by confirming for the children that hell is a real place! Share that even though people have come up with various pictorial representations of hell, no one can truly comprehend what it is like. Remind the children that God doesn’t want people to perish (2 Pet. 3:9), which is why he sent his Son to save us. (these notes are just for guidance. Please expand or amend them to suit your own children and context. Write out your talk in your own words and include illustrations and applications that you know will connect with your children.)
  6. Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.

Week 27 – Are all people, just as they were lost through Adam, saved through Christ?

Question

Are all people, just as they were lost through Adam, saved through Christ?

Answer

No, only those who are elected by God and united to Christ by faith.

Memory Verse:

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:17

Main Idea:

Help children understand that God chooses those whom He will save.

Outline for lesson

  1. Open in prayer: Lord, I praise you for your saving grace.
  2. Review Activity: Print out and cut up Q27 Catechism Recap (DL). Fold the slips of paper up very small and place them inside individual balloons. Inflate and tie the balloons. Tell the children that the aim of the game is to burst the balloons and locate the pieces of papers enclosed within the balloons. Once they have a piece of paper, they should work together to form a group that contains the questions, answer, and memory verse for Questions 21—26. A small group should form as the various elements of each question are brought together. Ask each group to read out their question, answer, and memory verse. 
  3. Introduction: You will need a picture of a sports team. Show the children a picture of a sports team. Ask the children if they’ve ever played a sport or a game in which the team captains chose the team members. Ask them what kind of things make a team captain want to choose a player for his or her team. Agree with the children that captains usually want the most athletic, coordinated players on their teams. They want the quickest and the strongest—those who will be able to score points! Ask the children how God picks the members of his family. Does he do it the way that a team captain chooses team members. Help them to see that, according to the Bible, God does choose the members of his family, but he does not choose us based on our ability, intelligence, beauty, or goodness. When we talk about God’s choosing, we call it election. It is done purely by his own will, not because of anything in us. Introduce the children to Question 27: “Are all people, just as they were lost through Adam, saved through Christ? Explain to the children that this question will help them to understand that not everyone is redeemed through Jesus’s death and resurrection. Only those God elects will be saved, but our election is not based on our own worth.
  4. Memory Activity:
    Print out the memory verse or catechism question and cut it up so that every word is is on a separate piece of paper. Hide the individual words around the room. Ask the children to find the words and lay them out in the correct order. Read the memory verse through with the children several times.
  5. Draw: Fold a piece of paper in thirds and at the left write “Creation”, middle write “fall”, and top right write “redemption”. Let the children draw pictures to represent all three.
  6. Read: Ephesians 1:3-12. Ask the children what predestine means. Explain to them that it means to determine something beforehand. In this passage, we learn that God predetermined whom he would adopt, even before he created the world.

    Ask the children to look at verse 6 and see if they can tell you why God chose to predestine his children before they were even born, rather than waiting to see who would be the best. Draw out the meaning of the phrase “to the praise of his glorious grace.” Grace means “unmerited favor.” If God had chosen to favor those who deserved it, we would not be the recipients of grace.

    Remind the children that Ephesians is actually a letter written to people in the city of Ephesus. Paul seems to assume everyone he is writing to has been chosen by God. Ask the children why he assumes this. Help them see it is not because every person has been chosen by God. Paul knows that he is writing to those who have trusted Christ for salvation. Anyone who has done this can know that he or she has been elected by God to be adopted as his child.

    Conclude the teaching time by helping the children commit Question 27 and the answer to memory. (These notes are just for guidance. Please expand or amend them to suit your own children and context. Write out your talk in your own words and include illustrations and applications that you know will connect with your children.)
  7. Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.