Ephesians 2:8-9

Monday:Red Cord of Salvation
Bible Lesson: Rahab was saved because she believed in God, and we are saved the same way.
Memory Verse: Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
Introduction: [Needed]
Explanation: Ephesians 2:8-9
[Show the verse and read it aloud.]
What's grace? Grace is when somebody does something nice for you that you don't deserve. If you steal your older brother's favorite CD, and you drop it and it gets scratched and won't play anymore, what do you think your brother would do? (Accept answers.) What if he doesn't? What if he goes out and buys a copy of the same CD, for you? That's grace.
What's faith? Faith is trusting in something you can't see. When Rahab hung up the red cord, she hadn't seen herself and her family saved yet. She trusted that it was going to happen, because she believed in God. That's faith.
What are works? Works are things that you do. You know some people think that if they're nice enough, if they pray enough, if they give enough money to the poor, and do enough good things, then they can earn their way into heaven. This verse says it doesn't work that way. It is by grace we are saved, through faith, not by works.
This verse also says that it doesn't come from ourselves, so that no one can boast. What does it mean to boast? Boasting is a lot like bragging. Have you ever done anything that you were so happy about, you wanted to tell people you did it, so they'd know how good you were? This verse says that if we're saved – if we believe in God and follow Jesus – we can't brag about it, because it's not anything we could have done ourselves. It's a gift from God.
Game: Covered Words
Cover up one word on the poster at a time, starting with small, unimportant words, and have the children read the verse as a group each time, inserting the missing words. Keep covering up words until the whole verse is covered up and the children can say the whole verse.
Alternate Game: Sign Language
Tell the children that you're going to learn sign language for this verse. Explain that sign language is what deaf and mute people use to communicate. Show the children the sign language as you say the verse through one or two times, then teach them the sign language for each word individually, and help them do the sign for that word until they can do it. When you've done all the words, start putting them together. Make sure you and the children are saying each word out loud while signing it. Put longer and longer strings of words together until eventually the children can say and sign the whole verse.

Romans 1:16

Thursday:Good Soldier
Bible Lesson: We should endure the world's contempt when living our faith and when sharing our faith. (Jeremiah and the Cistern)
Memory Verse: Romans 1:16, I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Introduction: Ashamed
What does it mean to be ashamed? Have you ever been ashamed? What do you usually do when you're ashamed? (Accept answers.) Did you ever hide because you were ashamed? Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden, when they were ashamed, because they realized they were naked.
What if you're not ashamed? If you're not ashamed of something, do you hide it then? (No.)
Explanation: Romans 1:16
[Show the verse and read it aloud.]
We should be treating the gospel – the good news about Jesus – like we're proud of it, not like we're ashamed of it. Why aren't we ashamed of the gospel? Because it's how God saves us. Who remembers Monday's verse? (Let a volunteer recite Ephesians 2:8-9.) The Bible says that we are saved through faith, but what is our faith in? Today's verse tells us that it is the gospel – the good news about Jesus, the good news that he died, that he was buried, that he raised to life again, to set us free from the death that is the punishment for our sin – that good news is the power, it's how God saves us, if we believe it. That's what we put our faith in. And since that's so special, we shouldn't be ashamed: we should be telling everyone, because it can be salvation for everyone who believes. The verse says that salvation is first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Who knows what a Gentile is? A Gentile is anybody who's not a Jew. So if salvation is for the Jew and for the Gentile, it's for all of us.
Game: Clapping
Demonstrate for the children how to clap once for each syllable while talking. Do this while saying the verse through one time, with the reference. Now have the children do it with you. Repeat two or three times, until the children can clap and say the verse more-or-less together in what passes for unison. Encourage them that they're doing well, but let's see if we can do even better at staying together and all saying each word at the same time, and all clapping at the same times. Repeat until they get it right, or time runs out. Optionally, after a few times through, divide the children into two groups, and alternate the two groups in a competition to see which group can stay together better.

1 John 5:3-4

Tuesday:Commanding Officer
Bible Lesson: We should obey Christ. (The Centurion's Servant)
Memory Verse: 1st John 5:3-4, This is love for God: to obey his commands; and his commands are not burdensome.
If there is extra time, you can review the verse from the previous day.
Introduction: Loving God
How many of you love God? How do you know that you love God?
Explanation: 1st John 5:3-4
[Show the verse and read it aloud.]
What can you do that can show that you love him? (Accept answers.) This verse says that if we love God, we will obey his commands. What are some of God's commands? (Accept answers.) Now, if we're obeying God, should we be whining and complaining about it? ("Oh, it was so hard today, I had to tell the truth!") Our verse says that God's commands are not burdensome: they're not too hard, because we want to do them, because we love God. We shouldn't have to whine and complain about obeying.
Game: Popcorn
Whoever the teacher points to with the ruler/pointer/whatever has to “pop up” like popcorn (i.e., stand up quickly out of their seat) and say the next word of the verse. Leave the poster displayed at first, then after a while cover it up. Go through the verse this way until time expires. Make sure to point to all the children so that everyone participates, but don't go in order; jump around so that they never know when it's going to come to them.

Prayer Warrior

Monday:Prayer Warrior
Story Passage: Acts 12:1-19
Other Passages: Ephesians 6:17-18, James 5:13-19
Objective: Children should learn that they should be praying, and that prayer is effective.
Memory Verse: 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18, Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Visuals: Available
Introduction: Prayer
Who knows what the last piece of the armor of God is? (Accept some answers.)
[Read Ephesians 6:17-18]
Once we put on our armor, we should pray. In a way, prayer is the last piece of the armor.
Who knows what prayer is? (Accept some answers.) Prayer is talking to God. What kinds of things do you say when you talk to God? (Accept some answers.) Do you ever tell God that you love him? Do you thank God for the things he has done for you? Do you ever ask God for anything? Today's story is about a church that asked God for something – and God answered their prayer.
Story: Peter in Prison
King Herod wanted the Jewish leaders to like him. It would make him a stronger king. Now, the Jewish leaders didn't accept Jesus, so they were upset with the Christians, who were following Jesus. So Herod decided he could make them happy if he wasn't very nice to some Christians. He had the apostle James killed, and that made the Jewish leaders happy, so then he had Simon Peter arrested and put in prison. What do you suppose he was going to do to Peter? Maybe he was going to kill him too. Or maybe he'd have him beated with whips. Whatever he had planned, it wasn't going to be very fun for Peter.
Herod assigned four squads of four soldiers each to guard Peter – that's sixteen guards in all. Do you think Peter could get away from sixteen soldiers? The night before Peter was to stand trial, he was sleeping between two soldiers, and he was chained to them, and there were sentries guarding the door. Peter was stuck! But the church was praying earnestly to God for Peter. They were gathered at the house of a woman named Mary, the mother of John-Mark. Many people were there, and they were praying.
While Peter was sleeping, suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in his prison cell. The angel woke Peter up, and his chains fell off. The angel lead Peter out of the prison. Peter followed him out past the guards, and the guards didn't try to stop him – they didn't even notice. They walked right past them, and the iron gate opened by itself, and they went out. Peter didn't know it was really happening. He thought he was having a dream or a vision. But when Peter and the angel had walked a block away from the prison, the angel disappeared, and Peter realized that it was really happening, that God had sent an angel and rescued him.
So he went to Mary's house, and knocked on the outer door. A girl named Rhoda came to answer the door, but when she recognized Peter's voice, she was so excited that she forgot to even open the door, she ran to tell the others that Peter was at the door, but they didn't believe her. "You're crazy. Peter's in jail." But Peter kept on knocking, and finally they let him in. Boy, where they surprised to see him! God had answered their prayers before they even expected it.
Application: Prayer
Why were the people in the Jerusalem church gathered at Mary's house to pray for Peter? (Accept some answers.) They were worried about Peter, afraid of what Herod might do to him. So what did they do? They prayed. They asked God to do something about their problem. They asked God to help Peter. Do you suppose they thought praying would really help? They were surprised when Peter actually showed up at the door, weren't they? When we pray, even if we know prayer is effective, we don't always expect results right away. But sometimes God gives us faster results that we expect. Sometimes it takes longer. But God wants us to pray to him. We should put on our spiritual armor and pray. God wants us to be alert and to pray. We can be prayer warriors for God.
Invitation: Prayer Warrior
Invite any children who are willing to commit to pray more to stand so that you can pray for them.

Good Soldier

Monday:Good Soldier
Story Passages: Jeremiah 1:7-10, Jeremiah 38
Other Passages: 2nd Timothy 2:3-4, 2nd Chronicles 36:11-20, 2nd Kings 24:18 – 25:26, Matthew 28:18-20, 1st Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:5-13, 2nd Corinthians 5:1
Objective: Children should learn that they should endure the world's contempt when living their faith and when sharing their faith.
Memory Verse: Romans 1:16, I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Visuals: Available
Introduction: Good News
How many of you know where you're going when you die? Where are you going? (Accept answers.) Okay, if you're going to heaven, how many of you know how to get to go to heaven? Good, that's good news. How many know someone who might not be able to go to heaven when they die? Who do you know? Should we go tell these people? Why don't we tell them sometimes? (Accept answers.) There's a man in the Bible named Jeremiah, and there were some reasons why he might not want to tell people what God said he should tell them – but he did anyway.
Story: Jeremiah
God called Jeremiah to be a prophet. What's a prophet? Someone who tells the people what God says to tell them. Sometimes God told a prophet what was going to happen, and the prophet would tell the people, and then later it would happen. Other times, God told a prophet what he wanted people to do, and the prophet had to tell the people. They didn't always want to hear it. God told Jeremiah that he had been made special, from before he was born, to tell the people what God wanted them to hear. Jeremiah didn't know what to say, but God told him, I have put my words in your mouth. God told Jeremiah not to be afraid of the people, and to tell them everything God said, and God would protect him. One time, when the people had been worshipping idols (false gods), Jeremiah had to tell them that they'd been faithless to God, and should return to worshiping him only. Do you think they liked hearing that? Would you like being called faithless? Another time, he had to tell the people of Judah and Jerusalem that because they had disobeyed God, he was going to bring disaster on them, and they couldn't stop it. Do you think they were happy to hear this message? No, and they blamed Jeremiah and plotted against him, but God kept his word to Jeremiah and always protected him.
But God's protection didn't always mean that nothing would happen to Jeremiah. Sometimes things weren't so pleasant. One time, when the city of Jerusalem was about to be taken by the cruel king of Babylon, Jeremiah had to tell the people that they could not save the city. He told them that God said they should go surrender to the king of Babylon, so they could live, because if they stayed to defend the city they would die. But the people didn't want to hear it, and some of them blamed Jeremiah. They put him in a dark room that was dug out of the ground to hold water – a cistern – and the only way out was through a hole in the ceiling. This pit didn't have water in it right now, but it was still muddy, and Jeremiah sank into the mud when they put him down there. He didn't have any food or water, and it was dark.
Do you think God rescued him? He did, but it took a while. Ebed-Melech, an official in the royal palace of Judea, felt bad for Jeremiah. He was worried that Jeremiah would starve to death. Ebed-Melech got permission from the king of Judea, and he took thirty men and they lowered ropes down to Jeremiah, and some rags to put under his arms to pad the ropes, and they pulled him out. We don't know how long he was down there, but God protected him. Jeremiah went on telling people what God had him say. Even though it wasn't fun to be in the pit, Jeremiah knew he had to obey God, and the people needed to hear the message, even if it wasn't a fun message.
Application: Telling Others
We need to obey God too, and God tells us to tell others about Jesus. Now I know that you know people who need to know that Jesus died for their sins, and that was buried and raised to life three days later, and that he will forgive their sins if they believe, so that they can live forever in heaven with him. So should we be telling them? (Yes, we should.) What if they might not want to hear? What if other people don't want us to tell them? What if people make it hard for us? What if someone teases you? Should you still tell people about Jesus then? (Yes.) What if someone might not be your friend any more? Don't stop telling people that Jesus loves them and that he died for their sins.
Invitation: Commitment
Invite any children who are serious about sharing the good news with their friends to stand and acknowledge that they will do that. Invite anyone who want to accept Jesus to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Armor of God

Wednesday: Armor of God
Story Passage: Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13
Other Passages: Ephesians 6:10-18, Deuteronomy 8:3, Deuteronomy 6:16, Deuteronomy 6:13, Genesis 1:1, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:9-10, Romans 3:22
Objective: Children should learn that temptations should be resisted using God's word and the armor of God, not human reasoning.
Memory Verse: Ephesians 6:11, Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
Visuals: Available
Introduction: Pieces of Armor
What do all good soldiers need, to protect them in battle? (Accept some answers.) We have a word for the things a soldier wears and carries for protection: we call them "armor". Did you know that in our battle against Satan, God gives us spiritual armor to wear?
[Show diagram.] This piece right here is called a "breastplate". Our spiritual breastplate is righteousness. If we are righteous, that protects us from spiritual harm. To hold things together, a soldier wears a heavy belt. Our spiritual belt is truth. We can learn truth from the Bible, and it holds our spiritual life together. Soldiers do a lot of walking, so they need good boots. This prepares them to get to the battle without tripping or being hurt. Our preparation comes from studying the gospel. Every good soldier carries a shield. He can hold the shield in whichever direction the danger is coming from, and protect himself from arrows. When Satan throws trouble our way, our faith protects us. The Bible says with our shield of faith we can extinguish all his flaming arrows. The most important thing for a soldier to protect is his head. If a soldier doesn't have a helmet, and his head gets hurt, he can't keep fighting. He could even die. Our spiritual helmet is our salvation, which we talked about on Monday. The rest of the armor cannot protect us if we do not believe in God. Soldiers also carry weapons. Today they may carry guns, but in ancient times soldiers carried swords. This is the weapon they use to push back the enemy. Our sword is the word of God. When you learn the Bible, you have the information you need to push Satan back. The Bible says that God's soldiers should also pray, not just once in a while, but all the time. In our story today, someone was being tempted by Satan, and he used his sword to push Satan away.
Story: Temptation of Jesus
Jesus hadn't eaten for forty days, because he had been fasting. The devil saw this as an opportunity, and came to tempt him. He said, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." How do you think Jesus responded? Did he say, "No, I don't like bread"? (No.) Did he say, "I am the Son of God, but making bread out of a stone wouldn't prove it"? (No.) What did Jesus do? He quoted from the Bible. He used his sword: "It is written, 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Jesus was quoting from a passage in Deuteronomy that was talking about the people of Israel, being tested in the desert (just like Jesus was being tested in the desert), and how they were hungry, and God fed them manna, to show them that following God is more important than food. Jesus applied this idea to what was happening in his own life: it was more important to Jesus to follow God (not Satan) than to eat bread.
Satan didn't give up. He tempted Jesus again: two more times. Both times, Jesus answered by quoting more passages from Deuteronomy. He didn't answer with human reasoning, but with the Word of God – and it kept him from sinning. After the third time, Satan left. Jesus had pushed him away with his sword.
Application: Using Your Sword
Okay, let's play a game. I'll tell you something that's wrong, and you give me a Bible verse that says it's wrong. Don't tell me what you think: tell me what the Bible says.
  1. Billions of years ago, everything in the universe was a dot the size of a period, and it exploded, and the gasses that came from it collected into what became planets and stars and eventually people.
    (Accept Bible verses. Genesis 1:1 would be a good answer.)
  2. I know I'm going to heaven, because I am a good person. I go to church, and I help the needy, and I don't swear, and I don't kick dogs.
    (Accept Bible verses. Good answers include Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:9-10, Romans 3:22-24, ...)
Invitation: Growth
Invite any children who want to get really serious about studying their Bible and learning to use their armor better to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Obey Your Commander

Tuesday:Obey Your Commander
Story Passages: Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10
Other Passages: Ephesians 1:19-23
Objective: Children should learn that they should obey Christ.
Memory Verse: 1st John 5:3-4, This is love for God: to obey his commands; and his commands are not burdensome...
Visuals: Available
Introduction: Cents
Who knows what a cent is? (Accept answers.) How many cents are there in a dollar? (Accept answers.) How many years are there in a century? (100) Cent means a hundred. In the Roman army, there were officers called centurions. Each centurion had command of about a hundred soldiers. An army has a lot more than a hundred men in it. How many do you think there would be in a whole army? A thousand? Ten thousand? Maybe more. So an army would have lots of centurions in it. The big bosses of the army, like the generals, would have a lot of centurions under them. The centurions had to answer to these bosses, but they also had to tell the soldiers under them what to do.
In an army, everyone has to do what they're told all the time. If you're at war, and someone doesn't do something, people can get hurt. The whole battle can be lost. The commanding officer doesn't always have time to explain his reasons, and he can't do everything himself, so the men under him have to trust him and obey their orders. When the army trains new soldiers at boot camp, they are trained to do whatever they are told all the time. When the general gives an order, he doesn't have time to watch that it gets done. The orders get passed down the chain of command, and it gets done.
Story: The Centurion's Servant
In Capernaum, there was a centurion, who loved the Jews and had helped them to build their synagogue there. One of this man's servants was very sick, and in terrible suffering. The centurion heard that Jesus was in town, so he sent some men from the synagogue to ask Jesus to heal his servant, because this servant was important to him. The Jews told Jesus that this centurion was a good man, and they told Jesus what the centurion had done for them, so Jesus went with them, but while he was on the way, the centurion sent some of his friends to tell Jesus that he didn't need to come to the house.
He said, "Lord, don't trouble yourself. I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. Just say the word, and my servant will be healed, for I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one 'Go', and he goes, and that one 'Come', and he comes. I say to my servant 'do this', and he does it.
Jesus was surprised when he heard this. He said, "I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith." The centurion believed that just by speaking, Jesus could heal his servant. It would happen at his order. The centurion understood authority, because of the way the army works. Jesus did heal the man's servant. He said, "Go, and it will be done, just as you have believed it would", and when the men who had been sent got back to the house, the servant was already well.
Application: Commanding Officers
When an army general gives an order, how can he know that it will happen? He has to be able to trust the soldiers to follow it. The soldiers have to obey their commanding officers. If we are soldiers in God's army, we should obey our orders too. Our commanding officer is Christ, because he has been put in charge of the church. The Bible says that Christ is over everything for the church, and he is the one we have to follow and obey.
Invitation: Obedience
Invite any children who want to commit themselves to obey Christ to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Red Cord of Salvation

Monday: Red Cord of Salvation
Story Passages: Joshua 2, Joshua 6
Other Passages: Ephesians 2:8-9
Objective: Children should learn that Rahab was saved because she believed in God, and we are saved the same way.
Memory Verse: Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
Visuals: Available
Introduction: Background
Boy, have we got a story about soldiers for you today! Would you believe that a group of soldiers once knocked down an entire city without even swinging a sword? Actually, the soldiers didn't do it at all: God knocked the city down, but the people of Israel were following God and trusting in him to win the battle. Today's story comes from the book of Joshua. God had promised the people of Israel a land where they could live, that would be their own home. But they had to kick out the evil Canaanites who lived there, before they could really own the land.
Story: Rahab and Jericho
Jericho was one of the big cities of the Canaanites, so the people of Israel sent two spies to look over the city, before they went to take it over. While the spies were looking at the city, their cover was blown – they got found out, but a woman named Rahab hid them and helped them escape. Rahab told the spies that she had heard about their God, and how he saved the people of Israel when they crossed the Red Sea. She knew that God was real, and very powerful, and she wanted to be on his side. Because Rahab helped the two spies, they promised her that she and her family would be saved when the Israelites came to conquer the city. They told her to hang a red rope from her window, and gather all of her family in her house, and anyone in her house would be saved. She hung up the red rope right away.
After the spies came back from Jericho to the camp, God told the people of Israel how they were supposed to take the city: they should march around the city quietly once a day for six days, and then on the seventh day they should march around the city seven times, with seven priests blowing trumpets, and then the last time the priests would sound a loud blast on the trumpets, and the people would all shout, and the city walls would just fall down. Then they could take the city with the sword and destroy everything.
So that's just what they did. They followed God's instructions, and all the walls fell down except at Rahab's house. Then the Israelites took over the city and destroyed the evil Canaanites, but the two spies went in and brought out Rahab, and her family and took them to safety, and Rahab lived with the Israelites from then on.
Application: Salvation
Why did Rahab tie a red cord on her window? (Accept answers.) Was the cord able to keep her house from falling down when the rest of the city fell? Was the cord that strong? It wasn't the cord that did that, was it? It was God. The cord wasn't strong enough – it wasn't magic. But the cord showed that Rahab was willing to follow the instructions. It showed that she believed in the God of Israel and trusted that she would be saved when her town was destroyed.
We can be saved on the day of destruction too, and we are saved the same way as Rahab: there is nothing we can do to save ourselves, but if we believe in God and trust in him, the blood of Jesus will wash away our sins and we will be saved.
Invitation: Salvation
Invite any children who want to show, as Rahab did, that they believe in God to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.