Sunday Morning, 3/25/18 (Unit 30, Session 6: Paul’s Third Journey)

Paul’s third missionary journey was unlike his first two because he didn’t set out to plant churches. Instead, his mission was to encourage and strengthen existing churches. Paul wrote letters to the churches, but he knew some guidance was best given in person.

Paul’s journey began when he traveled to the city of Corinth. To make a living, Paul was a tentmaker. Paul became friends with two other tentmakers in Corinth: a man named Aquila and his wife, Priscilla. In his business dealings, Paul was able to share the gospel with many people. The church in Corinth grew.

Paul took Aquila and Priscilla with him to Ephesus. Ephesus was a thriving city in the Roman Empire. Aquila and Priscilla stayed in Ephesus while Paul traveled to other churches and encouraged the believers. While Paul traveled, Aquila and Priscilla interacted with a Jewish believer named Apollos. Apollos was a leader in the early church, and Aquila and Priscilla helped him better understand about Jesus and the Scriptures. Apollos went on to greatly help other believers by showing through Scripture that Jesus is the Messiah.

The Holy Spirit led Paul to go to Jerusalem. This wasn’t an easy call to obey. The Spirit revealed to Paul that imprisonment and suffering awaited in Jerusalem. (See Acts 20:23.) Hadn’t Paul done enough? He had spent years preaching the gospel, and many people believed. Wasn’t now a good time for Paul to retire comfortably on a beach somewhere?

But Paul did not cling to his own life. God helped Paul preach with courage even when he was in danger. Paul boarded the ship to Jerusalem, uncertain of the future but certain of the goodness and grace of the Lord Jesus.

As Paul traveled on his third missionary journey, he used every opportunity to tell people the good news about Jesus and to help the church. Paul was dedicated to Jesus, who called him to do the work of sharing the gospel.

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FAMILY STARTING POINTS

Babies and Toddlers

  • Christians tell about Jesus.
  • Paul told people about Jesus everywhere he went.
  • The Holy Spirit sent Paul to Jerusalem.
  • Telling people about Jesus is most important.

Preschool

  • How do people hear about Jesus? God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus.
  • God helped Paul preach with courage.

Kids

  • How do people hear about Jesus? God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus so they may repent and be saved.
  • God helped Paul preach with courage even when he was in danger.

 UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Acts 1:8

 NEXT WEEK

  • “Paul Confronted Peter” (Galatians 2:11-21)
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Sunday Morning, 3/18/18 (Unit 30, Session 5: Paul Preached in Europe)

Paul and Silas had been released from prison in Philippi (FIH lih pigh). Before leaving the city, they met with believers at Lydia’s house and encouraged them. Then they traveled to Thessalonica and stopped at the synagogue to explain to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. A large number of Greeks and influential women believed in Jesus.

Before long, Jews in the city became jealous and forced Paul and Silas out of the city. Even though the Jews opposed Paul’s preaching, the number of believers in Thessalonica grew and the church there was established.

Paul made his way through Berea, where people heard the gospel and believed. The Jews from Thessalonica followed him and caused trouble, so Paul went to Athens. Athens—about 200 miles from Berea—was a cultural center. People in Athens loved to hear about and study the latest ideas. The Jews and the philosophers in the city were interested in what Paul had to say, but Paul was troubled by what he saw. Athens was full of idols to every kind of god. There was even an altar to an unknown god.

The people obviously had a religious desire. Paul knew that their hunger for God could be satisfied—in Jesus. Paul began preaching, telling the people that they worshiped a god they did not know. He said that people can know God! God made the world and everything in it! “We ought not to think that God is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man,” Paul said.

Then Paul told them about Jesus and how God wanted them to turn away from their sins. Some people made fun of Paul, but others believed. Paul explained God’s plan of salvation.

The men of Athens worshiped a false god whom they did not know. Paul explained to the men God’s plan of salvation. He said that God is not like the Greek idols. Only God deserves our worship! Paul talked about Jesus and the resurrection. All people can know God because Jesus took the punishment for sin that separates people from God.

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FAMILY STARTING POINTS

Babies and Toddlers

  • Christians tell about Jesus.
  • Paul told people in Athens about Jesus.
  • Paul said God made all people and He loves them.
  • God sent Jesus to earth to rescue us.

Preschool

  • How do people hear about Jesus? God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus.
  • Paul taught the people in Athens about the one true God.

Kids

  • How do people hear about Jesus? God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus so they may repent and be saved.
  • Paul taught the people in Athens that the one true God sent Jesus to be the Savior.

 UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Acts 1:8

 NEXT WEEK

  • “Paul’s Third Journey” (Acts 18:1-4, 24-28; 20:17-38)
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Sunday Morning, 3/11/18 (Unit 30, Session 4: Paul’s Second Journey)

Paul was back at the church of Antioch in Syria. The church had sent out Paul and Barnabas to preach the gospel to Jews and Gentiles in places like Lystra and Derbe. Then they returned to the church of Antioch. Some time passed, and Paul wanted to return to some of the cities he visited on his first journey to see how the new believers were doing.

Silas accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey. The pair traveled through Syria and Cilicia (sih LISH ih uh), encouraging believers and strengthening churches. The number of believers in the churches increased daily.

The Lord called Paul and Silas to go to Macedonia, so they obeyed. Two major events happened while Paul was in Macedonia. First, a woman named Lydia became a believer. Paul and Silas had gone to the river to pray. They spoke to the women at the river. God opened Lydia’s heart to the good news of the gospel.

Then, a jailer became a believer. This happened when Paul and Silas were thrown into prison after Paul commanded a fortune-telling spirit to come out of a slave girl. Late at night, an earthquake rocked the prison. The prisoners could have escaped, but they stayed where they were.

This was a huge relief to the jailer. Had the prisoners escaped, the jailer would have been punished. In fact, the jailer was ready to kill himself when Paul shouted, “We are all here!” The jailer asked Paul and Silas how to be saved. They told him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” The man believed and was baptized.

Lydia, the jailer, and many others were saved because they heard the gospel and believed in Jesus. Paul and Silas preached the same message to all people, no matter who they were: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

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FAMILY STARTING POINTS

Babies and Toddlers

  • Christians tell about Jesus.
  • God sent Paul on another trip.
  • Paul and Silas told Lydia about Jesus.
  • Paul told people about Jesus even in jail.

Preschool

  • How do people hear about Jesus? God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus.
  • Paul and Silas told all kinds of people about Jesus.

Kids

  • How do people hear about Jesus? God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus so they may repent and be saved.
  • Paul and Silas told the jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Acts 1:8

NEXT WEEK

  • “Paul Preached in Europe” (Acts 17:1–18:21)
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Sunday Morning, 3/4/18 (Unit 30, Session 3: The Message: “Christ Alone”)

The church in Antioch praised God for His grace to Paul on his first missionary journey. Though Paul and Barnabas were strongly opposed in some places, many people heard the gospel and believed. Paul and Barnabas took the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles. But a problem arose when some Christians began saying that the new followers of Jesus—the Gentile believers—needed to obey the Law of Moses in order to be right with God.

Paul and Barnabas debated this issue with other church leaders in Jerusalem. They met together to answer a tough question: Can a person be saved by faith alone or was something more needed? When Paul addressed the council, he insisted that God saves Gentiles the same way He saves Jews: through the grace of the Lord Jesus.

Paul testified to the things God had done among the Gentiles. God had given Gentiles the Holy Spirit. James cited the prophets Amos and Isaiah in support. The group agreed that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, He alone is all we need to be saved. They also agreed that they should not make salvation more difficult for Gentiles by adding unnecessary rules.

The church chose two men—Judas and Silas—to go with Paul and Barnabas to the church at Antioch. They wrote a letter for the Gentile believers there, encouraging them and giving them instructions for how to live as followers of Christ.

The church leaders met in Jerusalem to answer a tough question: Can a person be saved by faith alone or was something more needed? The early church agreed that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, He alone is all we need to be saved.

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FAMILY STARTING POINTS

Babies and Toddlers

  • Christians tell about Jesus.
  • Some people were confused about the good news.
  • Paul said that only Jesus saves people.
  • Anyone who trusts in Jesus will be saved.

Preschool

  • How do people hear about Jesus? God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus.
  • The church encouraged Gentile believers.

Kids

  • How do people hear about Jesus? God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus so they may repent and be saved.
  • The church in Jerusalem encouraged Gentile believers.

 UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Acts 1:8

 NEXT WEEK

  • “Paul’s Second Journey” (Acts 16:11-34)
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Sunday Morning, 2/25/18 (Unit 30, Session 2: Paul’s First Journey)

Jesus’ followers preached the gospel in Jerusalem, and the good news spread to places like Judea and Samaria. More and more people believed, and new churches began as both Jews and Gentiles began to follow Jesus. Barnabas went to Antioch—a city about 300 miles north of Jerusalem—where he brought Paul to help teach the believers. The church in Antioch grew. It was in Antioch that the disciples first became known as Christians. (See Acts 11:26.)

The Holy Spirit told the believers at the church in Antioch to send out Paul and Barnabas to preach the gospel. The church obeyed, and Paul and Barnabas traveled to several cities and all over the island of Cyprus, telling both Jews and Gentiles about Jesus.

Consider Paul—once a devoted persecutor of Christians—now a Christian missionary, devoted to obeying God’s call to go and tell others the good news about Jesus. This was Paul’s first missionary journey, and it wasn’t easy. Paul and Barnabas faced rejection in every place that they traveled. Some of the people believed, but some of them were angry. Many people rejected the truth about Jesus. In some places, the Jews made plans to kill Paul.

In no place did Paul and Barnabas soften their message or abandon their mission. In Lystra, Paul healed a man, and when the witnesses to this miracle began to worship Paul and Barnabas, the two men emphatically gave credit to the one true God. When Paul’s enemies attacked him and left him for dead, Paul continued on. Paul and Barnabas shared the gospel in Derbe (DUHR bih), and many people believed.

The Holy Spirit sent Paul and Barnabas to tell Jews and Gentiles about Jesus. If Paul had not taken the gospel to the Gentiles, many of us would probably not be believers today. God uses people to tell others about Jesus so that people all over the world can be saved from their sin by trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Paul and Barnabas faced many people who rejected the good news about Jesus. But God had a plan for Paul to share the gospel with Gentiles, no matter what troubles Paul faced. Many believed in Jesus. The church grew and the gospel was shared so that people all over the world could be saved from their sin by trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

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FAMILY STARTING POINTS

Babies and Toddlers

  • Christians tell about Jesus.
  • The Holy Spirit had a special job for Paul.
  • Paul and Barnabas told people about Jesus.
  • Many people believed the good news.

Preschool

  • How do people hear about Jesus? God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus.
  • The Holy Spirit sent Paul and Barnabas to tell people about Jesus.

Kids

  • How do people hear about Jesus? God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus so they may repent and be saved.
  • The Holy Spirit sent Paul and Barnabas to tell Jews and Gentiles about Jesus.

 UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Acts 1:8

 NEXT WEEK

  • “The Message: ‘Christ Alone’” (Acts 15:1-35)
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Sunday Morning, 2/18/18 (Unit 30, Session 1: Paul’s Conversion and Baptism)

Saul was no stranger to religion. He grew up in a religious household. He was a devout Jew who was born in Tarsus (Phil. 3:5) and inherited his Roman citizenship from his father. So when people began talking about this man named Jesus and claiming that He was the promised Messiah, Saul was defensive.

Saul believed strongly in the Jewish faith of his ancestors. He violently persecuted God’s church and tried to destroy it. (Gal. 1:13-14) He dragged believers from their houses and put them in prison. He approved of the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Saul thought he was doing the right thing by defending Judaism, but God’s purposes could not be stopped. As Saul was on his way to arrest believers in Damascus, the Lord stopped him in his tracks.

Jesus revealed Himself to Saul, and Saul was never the same. He was struck blind and led into Damascus, where a believer named Ananias placed his hands on Saul. Suddenly, Saul could see again. Saul was convinced that Jesus is Lord. Saul later described the experience as being like dying and receiving a new life. (Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 5:17)

God had a purpose and a plan for Saul. He had set Saul apart before Saul was even born. (Gal. 1:15) God said, “This man is My chosen instrument to take My name to the Gentiles” (Acts 9:15).

Jesus changed Saul’s life. As you talk with your kids, clarify that conversion happens when a person recognizes his sin, repents, believes in Jesus, and confesses Jesus as Savior and Lord. Jesus changes a person’s heart, and as a result, his life is changed too.

Jesus appeared to Saul and changed him inside and out. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15) Jesus called Saul, also known as Paul, who was once an enemy to Christians, to spend the rest of his life telling people the gospel and leading them to trust Jesus as Lord and Savior.

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FAMILY STARTING POINTS

  • Babies and Toddlers
  • Christians tell about Jesus.
  • Paul did not love Jesus at first.
  • Jesus sent Ananias to tell Paul about Him.
  • God changed Paul’s heart to love Jesus.

Preschool

  • How do people hear about Jesus? God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus.
  • Jesus saved Saul from his sins.

Kids

  • How do people hear about Jesus? God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus so they may repent and be saved.
  • Jesus saved Saul from his sins and chose him to spread the gospel.

 

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Acts 1:8

NEXT WEEK

  • “Paul’s First Journey” (Acts 13:1-3; 14:8-28)

 

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Sunday Morning 2/11/18 (Unit 28, Session 5: Peter Visited Cornelius)

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The apostle Peter preached and taught boldly after Pentecost. Jesus had commanded His followers to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Acts 10 shows us how God made clear to Peter that the gospel is for everyone—not only the Jews but also the Gentiles.

The story begins in Caesarea (SESS uh REE uh), the capital city in the Roman province of Judea. Cornelius, a Roman centurion, lived in Caesarea. Like many of the people in Caesarea, Cornelius was a Gentile; however, he did not worship the Roman gods. Cornelius worshiped the one true God, and one day, God spoke to Cornelius in a vision. In the vision, an angel told Cornelius to send for Peter.

Now Peter was in Joppa (JAHP uh), about 30 miles south of Caesarea. As Cornelius’s men approached the city, Peter had a vision too. He was on a rooftop when God showed him a sheet of animals and commanded him to eat. The problem was that some of the animals were considered “unclean” by Jewish food laws. Three times, God said to Peter, “What God has made clean, do not call impure.”

Peter visited Cornelius and others who had gathered with him. Peter understood that God did not want a Jewish man to call anyone unclean just because he was a foreigner. (See Acts 10:28-29.) Peter preached the gospel to the Gentiles there, and they believed. The Holy Spirit filled them, and they were baptized.

The gospel is good news for everyone. As you teach kids, emphasize that God showed Peter that just as there is no “clean” and “unclean” food, there are no “clean” and “unclean” people. God calls believers to tell everyone the good news about Jesus, no matter who they are or where they come from. Jesus is the Lord of all.

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FAMILY STARTING POINTS

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • The Holy Spirit helps us.
    • Peter told Cornelius about Jesus.
    • God showed Peter that the good news is for all people.
    • Everyone who trusts in Jesus will be saved.
  • Preschool
    • What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians.
    • Peter learned the gospel is for all people.
  • Kids
    • What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus.
    • The Holy Spirit told Peter to preach to Cornelius, a Gentile.

 UNIT KEY PASSAGE

Philippians 2:13

 NEXT WEEK

“Paul’s Conversion and Baptism” (Acts 9:1-25)

 

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