Week 43 – What are the sacraments or ordinances?

Question

What are the sacraments or ordinances?

Answer

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

Memory Verse:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Rom 6:4

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Luke 22:19-20

Main Idea:

The sacraments were established by God, for His church, to be a spiritual help to believers.  

Outline for lesson

Open in prayer  

Introduction: Introduce question 43: “What are the sacraments or ordinances?” Explain to the children that these big words describe things that are done in the church, among the gathered people of God. Tell them that some churches use the word sacrament, some use the word ordinance, and explain which one your church uses. 

The sacraments are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. God has given these sacraments to his people to encourage and strengthen them. Explain to the children that the sacraments do not give anyone faith; they are outward signs that someone is a part of God’s family.

Activity: This will be a dramatic reading. Choose one person to be John the Baptist, one person to be Jesus, one person to be the voice of God the Father, one person to be Matthew, and one person to be Luke. 

Pass out Bibles to all the children. Ask them to turn first to Matthew 3:13-17. John should read John’s line. Jesus should read what is attributed to Jesus. Tell the person who reading the voice of God to hide out of site, but not out of earshot. Matthew should read everything that isn’t in quotes. 

After this passage is finished, John may sit back down and the voice of God can come out of hiding. Ask Luke and Jesus to turn to Luke 22:14—20. Again, Luke will read everything that is not in quotes, and Jesus will read whatever Jesus speaks. If he is willing, Jesus should read his part lying down, propped on one arm, which was a common Middle Eastern way to eat.

When they finish, give a round of applause.

Lesson: Read Matthew 28:16—20 and Luke 22:14-23. Provide Bibles for the children to read along.

Explain that an “ordinance” is a rule or command. Tell the children that lots of organizations have ordinances. Illustrate this point by explaining that a Girl Scout observes the ordinances or rules of the Scouts when she joins by pledging her allegiance to God and her country. Ask the children if they can think of any other groups that have ordinances.

Ask the children: Who commanded the church to baptize and celebrate the Lord’s Supper? In other words, who established the ordinances of the church? It was Jesus! He commanded his church to go and baptize, and he also commanded his people to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of him. Highlight for the children that the sacraments are not human creations, but were instituted by Jesus for the church. 

Remind the children that the sacraments are intended to be for those who have faith; they will not give faith. 

Ask the children why they think Jesus instituted the sacraments. Was it to keep Christians busy? Or to make sure they’re clean? 

Tell the children that God knew his people would sometimes struggle to continue to trust in his promises and remember all that he achieved in Christ. God in his kindness established regular ways by which Christians can have their faith in Jesus strengthened during gathered worship. 

Explain to the children that the sacraments are not just about remembering. Because they are the Word of God in visible forms, the Holy Spirit works through them to cultivate faith and encourage glad obedience. ‘The sacraments help people grow in their confidence and trust in God. Explain to the children that the sacraments are two of the ways God, through the Holy Spirit, sanctifies his people. 

Ask the children to think about the different senses involved when experiencing baptism or the Lord’s Supper. There are words spoken, there are visible signs, there’s bread and wine to taste, and there is the washing of water to feel. Ask the children if they think it is significant that the sacraments involve so many senses. God understands that the meaning of the sacraments can more easily be understood when apprehended through various senses.

Tell the children that, as we will learn in future lessons, the sacraments are signs pointing to Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf. We must always look beyond the sign to the thing it is pointing to. If you got excited about baptism and the Lord’s Supper but never realized that Christ died for your sins, the signs of the sacraments will have been of no use to you. 

Recite: Finish by helping the children commit Question 43 and the answer to memory.

Week 42 – How is the Word of God to be read and heard?

Question

How is the Word of God to be read and heard?

Answer

With diligence, preparation, and prayer; so that we may accept it with faith, store it in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.

Memory Verse:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16-17

Main Idea:

The Word of God should be read and heard prayerfully and with reverence and humility.

Outline for lesson

Open in prayer  

Introduction: Explain to the children that before we get into today’s Bible lesson, they will need to do some imagining. Ask them to pretend that they are the citizens of a small kingdom. Their land is in the middle of a famine, but their king has been wisely storing food for years so that, should a famine come, his people will not starve. However, he has only enough food to feed his own people.

Tell the children that word reaches your city that other kingdoms are plotting to steal your kingdom’s food. For this reason, the king has stored the food in a secret location outside the city walls, far away. He knows that when the other kingdoms attack, he may be killed, so he calls his citizens into his throne room.

“Listen carefully,” he says. “We are about to face a great battle. I don’t know which of us will survive the attack on our city. 1 am going to tell you where I have hidden our food. Without that food, you will not survive the famine. But it is hidden far away. If you do not listen carefully and follow every word of my directions, you will never find it.” 

Ask the children: What kind of listeners would those citizens be? Do you think they would be distracted? Would they be thinking about other things? Would they talk to each other while the king was talking?

Confirm to the children that when you know someone is telling you a message of life-or-death  importance, you will listen attentively. God has spoken to us in his Word, and his message is the most important that there ever has been. We should listen with as much attentiveness and respect as those citizens would have listened to their king! 

Activity: Divide the children into small groups. Invite the children to come up with a movie trailer for a film about the Bible. Tell them that the trailer should tell the audience a bit about the story of the Bible (but not the ending!) and also all the many reasons why people should be interested in the Bible. After a little while, invite each of the groups to act out their movie trailers while you film them on a smartphone. 

Lesson: Remind the children that God speaks. God has caused his words to be written down by human writers so that people can know everything necessary for life and salvation. Try to encourage the children to grasp the magnitude of the truth that God revealed himself in his Word. He  is not an unknown  deity, nor is he some thoroughly mysterious being. God delights in making himself known, and he longs to be known.  

Explain to the children that the Bible is the most important book ever written because it is God’s primary way of communicating with humanity. God still speaks through his Word to his world today. 

Ask the children to consider whether they think they should listen to the Bible in the same way as every other book. Ask the children if they think that any preparation is needed before reading the Bible. 

We need to think carefully about how we read and hear the Word of God.

Explain that Paul’s letter to Timothy will help the group think about how to approach God’s Word.

Read 2 Timothy 3:10-17. Provide Bibles for the children to read along.

Explain to the children that as they prepare to read the Bible, they must realize that they are about to hear from the living God and they need to be ready to listen to his Word. 

Explain to the children that in this section of 2 Timothy, Paul is encouraging Timothy to be different from the world, to stand for what he believes in the face of doubters and critics. Paul is encouraging Timothy to have confidence in the truth he has come to believe, which he observed in Paul’s life and

encountered in God’s Word. 

Paul tells Timothy that all Scripture is God-breathed, fully inspired by God. He identifies God as the origin of Scripture. But he also describes the purpose of Scripture: it is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” Tell the children that the Bible is God’s means of bringing Christians to maturity. 

Remind the children that when someone becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit comes to live in him or her. When a Christian reads the Bible, the Holy Spirit applies it to his or her life. So every time Christians read the Bible, they are hearing God’s Word. We must determine to listen well and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our life. 

Ask the children to give some examples of what they think “teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness” means. 

Ask them where they will encounter God’s Word in their lives each week. 

Ask them how and why they should prepare to listen to God’s Word.

These are some of the attitudes we adopt as we come to God’s Word:

Prayerful

 Thanking God that he speaks

 Rejoicing that he has given his Holy Spirit to apply the Word

 Asking that God would teach, reprove, correct, and train us 

Reverent

 Remembering that it is God who speaks through Scripture

Humble

 Expecting God to work and sanctify

 Thanking God that he wants to change and mature his people 

Help the children to understand that we should be eager to meet God in his Word, and in order to do that, we must approach reading the Bible respectfully. We should prepare to hear God’s Word. We should pray before we hear God’s Word, and we should seek to listen carefully to what God is saying to us by his Spirit. 

God longs to see his people transformed as they seek to glorify him. When we have listened well to God’s Word, we will respond in how we live.

Recite: Finish the teaching time by helping the children commit Question 42 and the answer to memory.

Week 41 – What is the Lord’s Prayer?

Question

What is the Lord’s Prayer?

Answer

Matt 6:9-13

Memory Verse:

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. . . .” Matt 6:9

Main Idea:

Jesus gave all believers a model of prayer when He taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer

Outline for lesson

Open in prayer  

Introduction: Show the children Q41 Illustrations of Learned Skills (RB). Ask them to identify what each person is doing. (Skiing, skydiving, playing the cello, fencing, driving a car.) Tell the children that these are all things that are fun to learn how to do. How would a person go about learning to do one of these things?

Help them to realize that to learn any of these skills, you would need a teacher.

Explain to the children that many things in life need to be taught. The Christian life is all about teaching and learning; we need to be taught to learn and grow as Christians.  Introduce Question 41: “What is the Lord’s Prayer?” and explain that it allows us to see Jesus teaching his friends how to pray. They said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray,” and Jesus used the prayer that we now know as the Lord’s Prayer as a model for them.

Activity: Pass out the prayer notebooks. Ask the children to write a prayer inspired by the model of the Lord’s Prayer. It should include words of praise, requests about God’s work in the world, requests for your needs, a request for forgiveness, and a request for help. ‘They can make their prayers more specific than the Lord’s Prayer. For example, they can list out more needs than just bread. They can also ask forgiveness for specific sins. Assure them that this is meant for God’s eyes alone.

Lesson: Print a copy of Matthew 6:9-13 for each child in the group. Have lots of markers available.

Tell the children that the Gospels record much about Jesus’s life and ministry. Explain to them that chapter 6 is part of a long sermon (called the Sermon on the Mount) from Jesus. Tell the children this lesson will focus on the part of the sermon that addresses the practice of prayer.

Jesus reminds those listening to his sermon that prayer is about a personal relationship with God. Remind the children that our attitude matters! Tell them that what we know about God—that he is a loving, all-powerful Father—should affect the way we approach him in prayer. 

Pass out the copies of Matthew 6:9-13. 

Explain that Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13, and this prayer should now be used as a pattern of prayer for each believer.  Have the children read the Lord’s Prayer and ask them to do the following things on their paper: 

= Circle the part of the prayer where Jesus addresses God.

= Put a squiggly line under the part where Jesus praises God the Father.

= Underline every request Jesus makes for himself and his disciples. 

Ask the children some questions to help them see what Jesus is teaching us about prayer.

1. Based on the way Jesus prays, how should we address God in prayer?

Jesus teaches us to address our prayers to God the Father. Christians have been adopted into God’s family and therefore can call him Father. The more we get to know him as Father, the easier it will be to pray!

2. What does Jesus mean when he prays that God’s will would be done?

Jesus is asking that many people would become Christians and love God with their whole hearts, and that they would act in accord with his Word.

3. Why does Jesus ask for God’s name to be hallowed?

This is a way of praising God and saying he should be respected and worshiped above anyone else.

4, Why does Jesus pray for daily bread?

He encourages us to pray for our essential daily needs. This helps us to remember that every good gift is from God. Without him, we wouldn’t even have food!

5. What does this model prayer teach us about forgiveness?

If we are seeking God’s forgiveness, we must forgive those who have wronged us.

6. Why does Jesus pray that we will not be led into temptation?

Because of our sinful nature, we are easily led astray by sin. We need God’s help to recognize temptation and run from it.

Recite: Finish the teaching time by helping the children commit Question 41 and the answer to memory.

Week 40 – What should we pray?

Question

What should we pray?

Answer

The whole Word of God directs and inspires us in what we should pray

Memory Verse:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Eph. 3:14-11)

Main Idea:

The prayers of God’s people should develop in response to God’s Word.

Outline for lesson

Open in prayer  

Introduction: Introduction to Question 40 Give each child a copy of Q40 God Speaks to Me (RB). 

Introduce Question 40: “What should we pray?” Remind the children that Christians are in a relationship with God, and because of Jesus’s death and resurrection, they can come directly to God in prayer. Highlight for the children that prayer is having a conversation with God. The more Christians know and understand God, the easier it will be to know what to pray.

Explain to the children that good conversations go two ways. When we converse with God, he speaks through his Word, and we respond in prayer. 

Tell the children that God has already started the conversation with us by speaking to us in his Word. The Bible verses on the page are all things God has said to them.

Activity: Ask the children to line up side by side and put their arms around each other’s backs. They will need this support to keep their balance.

Tell the children that people often pray in ways that go against what the Bible teaches instead of what the Bible commands. Tell them that you are going to read out some prayers. If the prayer you pray agrees with what the Bible teaches, then they should stand on their right foot. If the prayer goes against something the Bible teaches, then they should stand on their left foot. Make sure everyone knows which is the left foot and which is the right. Practice a few times switching from the right to left foot while supporting one another. Then read out these sample prayers:

« Father, I know I won’t be happy unless I can have an American Girl doll, so please give me one. (L)

” Father, help me to be content with what I have. If it would be good for me, I would like a new bike. (R)

” Father, don’t let my mom find out that I stole money from her purse. (L)

” Father, forgive me for lying to my dad. Help me to have the courage to confess to him. (R)

” Father, I know you have the power to heal. Please heal my grandmother’s pneumonia. (R)

« Father, thank you that it is always your will to heal us. Thank you that if we believe you have healed us, we wont ever need medicine. (L)

” Father, I know you are too busy to be bothered. So I won’t ask for your help on the test I am about to take. (L)

« Father, I know that you love me and care about every detail of my life. Would you please send a friend to sit with me at lunch? (R)

« Father, my little sister has messed up my room for the fifth time this week. I know you can’t expect me to forgive her. (L)

« Father, help me to forgive my big brother for shouting at me. Help me to remember that because you have forgiven me, should forgive others. (R)

Lesson: Introduce the children once again to Paul. Paul was a man of prayer, and he recorded many of his prayers in the letters he wrote to God’s people. Explain to the children that they will begin to learn what to pray as they study Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14—21.

Ask the children to consider what they pray for most often (reassure them that you don’t expect them to answer out loud). Tell the children that a great way to find out what someone loves most is by examining what he or she prays.

Read Ephesians 3:14-21. Provide Bibles for the children to read along with you.

Explain to the children that just before Paul prays this prayer in Ephesians 3, he clearly explained God’s purpose in his world. That purpose is to draw together a people for himself through Jesus Christ. That’s why Paul says, “For this reason’ at the beginning of his prayer (v. 13). Because Paul clearly understood God’s will, he fell to his knees in prayer for the Ephesian Christians. 

Ask the children how they might more clearly understand God’s purposes for his world and his people. A right understanding of God’s will for his world will fiercely fuel prayer. Help the children to realize that it is through reading God’s Word that we understand God’s character and mission.

Paul prays that God would help the Ephesian Christians grow in their Christian life, that they would become mature believers. He prays that Jesus would be allowed to rule the hearts of the believers and that he would strengthen them for a lifetime in God’s service. It is worth noting to the children that Paul prays to the Father, for the power of the Spirit, and for the sake of the Son.

Paul also prays that the Christians would know the great love that Jesus has for them. Paul wants the Ephesians to know the love of Jesus deep, deep down in their hearts—not just in their heads. And Paul is asking for God’s power to help believers understand how wide and long and high and deep the love of Jesus is, because without God’s help understanding is limited.

Paul approached God fully trusting that he would hear and answer his prayers (which is the kind of attitude last week’s lesson addressed).

Ask the children what this passage teaches us about the content of our prayers.

Recite: Finish the teaching time by helping the children commit Question 40 and the answer to memory.